South Bend TradeWorks
Elicia Garske manages preservation projects for H.G. Christman Construction in South Bend. In her previous role as the historic preservation administrator for the City of South Bend, Elicia observed firsthand the challenge of locating skilled craftspeople who repaired vintage windows and that specialized in historic preservation. At home in La Porte, Elicia is the grounds superintendent for her neighborhood the Pine Lake Assembly–a historic lake retreat founded by settlers in the 1890s. Elicia’s honed her skills as an interior designer and a sustainable building advisor with each of the three personal houses she has renovated. Dedicated to educating people on the importance of historic preservation, Elicia is a founding board member of South Bend TradeWorks, a non-profit group that rescues historic buildings and materials by reclaiming and selling architectural salvage and providing training on historic building renovation best practices.
For Elicia’s Fellowship project, South Bend TradeWorks assisted Elicia to develop a summer apprenticeship-style program to connect skilled preservation contractors with local high school, technical school, and college trades programs. The program trained participants in historic window repair, siding repair, floor repair, masonry, and deconstruction. The curriculum paired beginner students with skilled craftspeople to observe and participate in actual repair projects.
This project was selected because preservation contractors are an endangered resource and it is important to cultivate more professionals to better compete with the well-funded replacement industry. South Bend TradeWorks’ innovative project brings together a variety of professionals to fulfill a community-based need to keep the preservation trades alive and most importantly empower people to preserve historic buildings and materials.
In discussing Elicia’s project, Fellowship founder Harrison Goodall emphasized how the Fellowship can help build recognition on important topics in preservation and Elicia’s project is integral to the profession. “The preservation field needs more young and innovative energetic leaders who will make a difference.”