The company converting a historic two-story hotel in Jackson Square into an assisted living center will receive a historic preservation award on Thursday. The award presentation will be held at the front door of the Guest House/Alexander Inn at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
“When Rick Dover and Family Pride acquired the property in May 2013, it was in total disrepair,” a press release said. “A $6 million investment will restore this beloved icon to its former glory.”
“We’re going to faithfully restore this building to its original look, from the soda-fountain bar in the lobby to the beautiful wide porch out front,” Dover said.
The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is included as part of the proposed new Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge. It’s been removed from an annual list of endangered places in East Tennessee published by the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance.
Top military leaders and scientists once stayed at the Alexander Inn. The renovation by Family Pride started in July 2013, the culmination of a years-long preservation effort.
The hotel was built during the Manhattan Project, a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first atomic bombs during World War II. Guests who once stayed there included General Leslie Groves, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and physicists J. Robert Oppenheimer and Enrico Fermi.
Thursday’s presentation of the 2014 Historic Preservation Award has been organized by the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association. All ORHPA members are welcome to attend, and so are members of the public.
“Be there and bring a friend!” the press release said.
Dover will accept the annual award, the release said. The award is presented each year in mid-September to commemorate Groves’ selection of Oak Ridge in 1942 to serve the Manhattan Project (it’s Oak Ridge’s birthday).
“This year we honor Rick Dover of the Family Pride Corporation for his outstanding efforts in bringing one of the crown jewels of our historic resources back to life!” the release said.
The Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association serves to promote historic preservation and the history of Oak Ridge’s heritage. Monthly meetings are open to the public and held in the Midtown Community Center, except when special “field trip” meetings are scheduled. ORHPA’s mission is to preserve Oak Ridge’s history and its built environment (early structures, etc.) and develop education and cultural resources for the benefit of present and future generations. Membership is open to all who are interested.