Essex Recognizes Heritage Award Winners
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Two Essex residents have been recognized for their efforts in promoting and protecting local heritage.
Laurie Kowtiuk and Andreas Wirag, were awarded the first annual Community Heritage Preservation Award, a new program created by the Essex Municipal Heritage Committee. The award raises awareness of the importance of heritage preservation to social and economic development by recognizing individuals who exemplify good preservation practices and encourage others to do the same.
The award winners initiated the heritage designation process for their homes. Kowtiuk at 78 Fox Street in Essex Centre and Wirag at 1215 Iler Road in Colchester. The homes are believed to have been built in the late 1800s. Both Kowtiuk and Wirag were inspired to pursue designation after learning more about their property’s unique history.
Kowtiuk’s home, once known as the Essex House, was used primarily as a boarding house by railway workers and later as a hotel. The heritage value of the home is due in part to its association with the Michigan Central railway.
Wirag’s home, resides on property that was once part of the larger Iler Settlement, one of Colchester’s earliest families. The house served as the original farmhouse of Solomon and Eliza Iler.