The Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation (Missouri Preservation) has bestowed its greatest annual award to a Ste. Genevieve resident.
Historical Preservation Expert Tim Conley is this year’s recipient of the Rozier Award. According to Missouri Preservation (MP), the award is named in honor of Elizabeth McReynolds Rozier, one of the founding members of MP and a noted Jefferson City Preservationist. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant achievements in the field of historic preservation in Missouri. The Rozier Award is MP’s most prestigious annual award.
Originally from Ladue, Conley has restored many historical homes in his life, starting with the Blair-Huse Mansion in Lafayette Park in St. Louis. He later moved to Minnesota and restored two historic homes while living there.
Upon returning to Missouri, Conley restored the Louisiana Academy in Ste. Genevieve, the Edward McQuie House in Louisiana, Missouri, and then two other homes in Ste. Genevieve: The Jean-Baptiste Valle House and the Aubuchon House, where he currently lives. He has appeared throughout the years in many publications highlighting his preservation efforts.
He served for many years on the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and advised several Missouri governors on the historical preservation of buildings. He was also on the historic preservation commissions in the cities of Louisiana and Ste. Genevieve.
Extremely meticulous about his restorations, Conley has new materials installed that are as close to original as possible to restore the homes to as period-correct as possible. As a result, the costs of hiring craftsman and using correct materials are extremely expensive.
“I don’t hire 'just-OK' contractors, I hire the best in the state,” he said.
When renovating the old historical homes, there can be unexpected situations and surprising items found. Conley explained the most significant find of his years in building restoration.
“The Jean-Baptiste Valle House, I had to do walls all the way around it and we were digging the piers for that and the brick columns for the iron fences,” he said. “Four feet down we discovered a mess kit from the 18th century where soldiers would heat up their lunch.”
Conley summed up why he spent a lifetime and a fortune to resurrect these old homes and their history.
“These houses that I’ve done, nobody else would have done them, and they would have been destroyed,” he said. “I couldn’t bear to think of them destroyed. This is preserving for the future. It’s my donation to the community and America.”
Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at email@example.com