Warner recognized for passion for history

NAPPANEE — Bill Warner’s volunteerism and passion for sharing local history was honored during the Nappanee Historic Preservation Commission awards night.
Warner has volunteered countless hours of research and sharing of history involving Coppes Brothers Kitchen Cabinet Company, Nappanee. He holds office space inside the renovated kitchen cabinet factory now known as Coppes Commons.
He received the Historic Educator Award from the historic preservation commission during the group’s annual Awards Night on Thursday, May 2.
The event was held inside the Nappanee Center, which is connected to Hartman House, one of Nappanee’s historic homes.
Warner married Margaret Metzler, great granddaughter of Dan Metzler, one of the founding fathers of the Nappanee community, and when the couple moved back to Metzler’s hometown, Warner became intoxicated with its rich, local history.
He has worked steadily each day since to research, record and share every interesting detail of the community’s storied history – especially that of Coppes Brothers Kitchens.
Larry Andrews, who presented Warner’s award, spoke highly of the historian and his efforts.
“He’s done a lot of research and sharing with us there at Coppes Commons, and his rates are very reasonable – he works for a doughnut a week (from the bakery inside Coppes Common),” said Andrews, adding a lighter note to the awards ceremony.
Warner, ever the modest historian, accepted his award without giving any speech.
Property preservation
Michael and Bonnie Borger were awarded the Property Preservation Award for their care of an historic Coppes home located at 353 N. Hartman St.
The Borgers are the home’s fourth owners and have lived there since 1983.
The home was built in 1910 by Frank Coppes, owner of Coppes Brothers Kitchen Cabinet Company.
It was one of five homes built locally for members of the Coppes family.
The North Harman Street home was built in what is known as a Free Classic style which includes an irregular form, steep pyramidal roof, primary gable with a pent eave and projected bay window. It still has its original clapboard siding.
A two-story addition was added to the home’s north side and features a home office on the lower level and a large sunroom, which doubles as a library, on the second floor.
Paul Hayden with Indiana Historic Landmarks Foundation presented the award.
“You don’t see too much of the wood siding still on houses these days,” Hayden said. “That’s just one of the original features the Borgers have preserved so well on this property.”
Neighborhood preservation
Arden Stutzman, 451 N. Hartman St., Nappanee, was awarded the Neighborhood Preservation Award for inspiring an entire neighborhood and passersby with the beautiful upkeep of his home and landscaping.
The home was built in 1935 by Dr. Delbert Price, Nappanee’s first town president. Stutzman has lived in the home for 54 years.
“I enjoy the neighbors and I enjoy the neighborhood,” Stutzman said.
Downtown rehabilitation
The Calvary Baptist Church, on the corner of East Market and Elm streets, was honored for its unique features, including its entrance.
“The main entrance is slanted off of the northwest corner of the building as to invite you into the church,” said award presenter Jeff Kitson, Nappanee Chamber of Commerce and redevelopment director.
Other significant architectural highlights of the 20th century design include the flat, square roofline highlighted by large corbels, and beautiful stained glass windows.
Reverend Don Taylor leads the congregation of the church and was on hand to accept the Downtown Rehabilitation Award on the church’s behalf.
Nappanee Historic Preservation Commission hosts its annual awards dinner each May in conjunction with National Historic Preservation Month which is recognized nationally.