2015 Hometown Spirit Award RecipientFrom nominators:
We are honored to nominate Anne Kratzer for this award. Anne is a community treasure who exhibits the hometown spirit of Cary every day. Since 1973 Anne has been working to preserve Cary’s history. She and other like-minded friends planted an herb garden around the Page smokehouse, which sat in an empty field where Town Hall stands today. The smokehouse was the only remaining structure from Cary founder Frank Page’s homestead that had burned in 1970. Anne thought anyone on a bulldozer might hesitate before razing the building if they saw a beautiful garden around it.
Anne learned that historical papers from the 1800s were at risk because they were being stored in the basement of Cary Elementary. The School Board denied her access to the school papers and would only permit members from a bona fide organization to preserve them. So in 1974, Anne helped form the Cary Historical Society and preserved the papers.
The Society became involved in other preservation activities such as oral histories and being a watchdog for historic structures. In particular, this group became alarmed at the rapid deterioration of the Page-Walker Hotel after it was put on the market in 1980. Anne and her family were known on many occasions to enter the building and bail out the rainwater after a heavy storm in an effort to slow down the water damage. On the verge of losing the Hotel, Anne helped form the Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel in 1985. The Friends identified the needs of the community that the Hotel could fill – a place for arts, history, education and community celebrations – and set out on a 10-year journey to fully restore, renovate and create what is now the Page-Walker Arts & History Center. For ten years Anne led that journey as the president of the Friends. She helped oversee every detail of the restoration, working closely with the engineers and architects and was at the construction site almost daily for years. After the entire Page-Walker facility opened in 1995, Anne’s work wasn’t done.
Since then she has:
• Spearheaded the preservation of the Page smokehouse, which was moved in 1995 and now sits behind the Page-Walker.
• Created, in 1996, an educational herb garden on the Page-Walker grounds around the smokehouse and chaired the garden committee that helped tend to the garden for almost 20 years.
• Overseen the restoration of the White Plains cemetery, resting place of Nathaniel Jones, a Revolutionary War patriot who was instrumental in laying the foundation for what later became Cary. Anne also chaired the committee who maintained the cemetery grounds for almost 20 years.
• Helped create the Cary Heritage Museum, which is on the 3rd floor of the Page-Walker and was dedicated in 2000.
• Continued to serve as an active board member of the Friends. For more than 40 years, Anne has demonstrated leadership and a sense of community to preserve Cary’s history.
We believe that Anne Kratzer epitomizes Cary’s hometown spirit. Her contributions to our community are significant, highly visible, valuable and long-lasting.
Nominated by: Brent Miller and Leesa Brinkley