The Tennessee Historical Commission (THC), the state agency that is designated as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), has announced the recipients of this year’s annual Certificate of Merit. These awards are presented each May during National Preservation Month.
The organization presented a special Preservation Leadership Award to Dr. William Kennedy of Jonesborough for his dedicated preservation leadership in the Town of Jonesborough, the Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region, and service to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Dr. Kennedy’s award represents the third time that this rare honor has been bestowed since the Merit Award program began forty-five years ago.
Kennedy has served on the Jonesborough Historic Zoning Committee for 40 years, 37 of those as chairman. Kelly Wolfe, who nominated Kennedy, credited him for impacting Jonesborough in a positive manner with his passion for making sure the town’s historic structures remain intact and well-preserved.
Kennedy moved to Jonesborough’s Main Street in 1970 and bought a house on Main Street that had been built in 1869. Realizing that his new home needed special treatment, Kennedy began educating himself on preservation and restoration techniques.
Kennedy worked to establish one of the first historic districts and historic zoning commissions in Tennessee and was appointed to that commission in 1980 before becoming chairman in 1983, a position he’s held ever since.
Wolfe said Kennedy has been highly effective because of his ability draw upon his deep knowledge and engage the public in order to develop good relationships.
“This constant quest for information has made him an outstanding technical consultant, and he uses this background to help property owners make good and appropriate decisions before they bring a request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to Jonesborough’s Historic Zoning Commission,” Wolfe said in Kennedy’s nomination.