Award Presentation

The Preservation Foundation’s prestigious awards recognize dedicated property owners and leading architects each year for projects that preserve the character and traditions of Palm Beach.  

The Ballinger Award commemorates the restoration or  rehabilitation of a landmarked estate that best exemplifies Palm Beach’s architectural heritage. The Ballinger Award was first presented by the Foundation in 1988 in honor of the late Robert I. Ballinger Jr., former Chairman of the Palm Beach Landmarks Preservation Commission. Mr. Ballinger worked tirelessly for many years to instill pride in the island’s architectural heritage. 

The Polly Earl Award was established in 2005. Honoring the work of the late Polly Earl, who served as Executive Director of the Foundation for over twenty years, the award recognizes property owners for the restoration or rehabilitation of a landmarked property integral to the charming neighborhoods of Palm Beach. The first award was given to a residence located in the “Sea” Streets, a neighborhood originally platted and developed by Polly Earl’s grandfather, Oscar Jose. 

The Elizabeth L. and John H. Schuler Award was founded in 2005 to recognize achievement in new architecture that expresses superior design and also complements the architectural history of Palm Beach.  Elizabeth and John Schuler are esteemed Trustees of the Foundation and Palm Beach has benefited greatly from their civic contributions.  Mr. Schuler served as Treasurer of the Foundation and Chairman of Palm Beach's Architectural Review Commission for many years.

The Lesly S. Smith Landscape Award was created by the Preservation Foundation in 2011 to honor excellence in landscape design.  The award is named in honor of former Palm Beach Mayor and Foundation Trustee Lesly S. Smith in recognition of her life-long dedication to the town and its preservation.  Her late husband, Earl E. T. Smith, was the Preservation Foundation's first Chairman and the Foundation's Earl E. T. Smith Park is named in his honor.  

The Edward E. and Suzanne G. Elson Award was founded in 2022 to recognize an outstanding new construction or major rehabilitation of a commercial or public space in the Town of Palm Beach.  The award is in honor of Ambassador and Mrs. Elson who have an esteemed history of service in the arts. In addition to serving as an American ambassador to Denmark, he was the first Chairman of NPR and has also served as Treasurer of the Preservation Foundation.  Susie Elson has left an indelible mark at both the national and local levels through her philanthropy including serving as chairwoman of the American Craft Council and the Society of the Four Arts.