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Architect of the past: Newport woman recognized for historical preservation efforts

Linda Michie

As chair of the Newport Heritage Preservation Commission, Linda Michie arguably did more than just about anyone to protect and promote the city’s history.

But she had to retire from the commission in order to receive one of its highest honors.

Michie had been named as the recipient of the 2017 Betty Haugen award for her community service and efforts at saving the city’s past.

“She’s played a rather important part in the success of the city’s historic preservation program,” commission member and preservation planner Robert Vogel said. “If she had been an ordinary citizen she would have gotten it years ago.”

Michie, a retired architect, admits she was caught off guard.

“That was a total surprise to me,” she said. “I didn't expect that.”

Michie joined the commission 22 years ago and served as the chair from 2001 until her retirement last fall.

She worked as an architect with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“The DNR actually owns more buildings than just about any other state agency,” she said. “We do some new construction and maintenance type work and bringing things up to code.”

She also serves as executive director of Friends of Pool 2, a group that advocates on behalf of recreational river users, including swimmers, boaters, fishermen, campers and canoers.

She serves on the board of Newport on the Move, a volunteer group who organize public art by schoolchildren and plant community gardens whose produce is donated to Friends in Need Food Shelf. She also is on the board of directors for Friends of Fort Snelling.

Michie will receive the award at the May 18 Newport City Council meeting. It’s named for the late Betty Ann Haugen, one of the original members of the Heritage Preservation Commission.

“I think just in general, I'm really proud of being involved with the Heritage Preservation Commission,” she said. “It is one of the oldest programs in the state of Minnesota. There has been a consistent level of activity among the citizens of Newport. I think they’ve accomplish small things along the way.”

Vogel said Michie has left her mark.

“She was a major force behind the restoration the 10th street overlook on the MIssissippi,” he said. “I’m kind of hoping she’ll get really bored with retirement and get back to work.”

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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