About The Knox County Landmarks Foundation
The Knox County Landmarks Foundation (KCLF) was created as the Knox County Renaissance Foundation in 1988 to encourage and promote the preservation and development of Knox County’s historic, cultural, and architectural heritage. It is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation governed by a Board of Directors and open to anyone willing to contribute time, talent, enthusiasm, resources, experience, ideas or creativity to our mission.
In recent years KCLF has taken on the role of the public’s voice speaking for preservation rather than demolition of public buildings and works as a means of promoting historical tourism in the county. We see the “bottom line” in a longer perspective. The organization is a firm believer in keeping history alive. KCLF believes that historic buildings are more than just beautiful examples of old-world craftsmanship. Rather, they reflect the history, identity and character of the people of a place. In short, they help to connect people to their community. With each building lost, the community loses some of its connection with its own past and identity.
The goal of the KCLF is to preserve, promote, and protect Knox county's rich historic legacy through restoration, recognition, and awareness.
In its beginnings, KCRF (now KCLF) pioneered the establishment of the Knox County Visitor’s Bureau, developed and ran the Dan Emmett Music & Arts Festival, and initiated the restoration of the 1851 Woodward Opera House. We have sponsored numerous Historical Tours since and have established ourselves as a protector of Knox County's historical legacy. Please refer to the What We Do page for a more complete picture of our history.
Board of Directors
President-Carol Rine joined KCLF 10 years ago, completed the Knox Leadership program in 2007, served as the Secretary of KCLF until becoming the President in 2022. She has been employed by Lannings Market as a customer service representative in the wholesale department for 12 years.
Vice President-Richard Mavis graduated from Danville High School in 1960 and Otterbein College in 1964. He spent 10 years teaching math and science in Middle Schools in Garden Grove, California, Wooster and Mount Vernon, Ohio. He was affiliated with Mavis Sporting Goods for 40 years, served as a Knox County Commissioner for 20 years and 24 years as Mayor of Mount Vernon and retired on December 31, 2019. He has served on many state, regional and local committees during his years in local government.
President Emeritus-Tom Fish joined the Knox County Renaissance Foundation in 1989 and is the longest serving member on the Board of Directors. Under his tenure as President numerous projects were completed, the most notable being the restoration of the IOOF Building and several Knox County Barn Tours. He has chaired the Mural Committee which has completed five murals. (See the Mural section for details.) He moved to Knox County in 1956, was employed at the Mount Vernon Developmental Center and owned Fish's Peddle and Treddle for 25 years.
President Emeritus- Jeff Gottke is the President of the Area Development Foundation. He is excited to help Knox County grow but with a mind toward historic preservation. He also serves on the board of Main Street Mount Vernon, Knox County Chamber of Commerce, Knox County Historical Society, Muskingum Valley Council - Boy Scouts of America and the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Knox and Licking Counties.
Treasurer- Renee McDaniel is a Certified Public Accountant with degrees from Capital University. Although she started out her career in the field of public accounting at Kenneth Leventhal, Renee has also been the director of finance for The Builder’s Exchange of Central Ohio, as well as the controller of Maidware Products, Inc. As Managing Director of McDaniel CPA, Renee is responsible for firm administration, along with accounting services and tax preparation for a variety of clients. She is a member of the Ohio Society of CPA's and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
She is President of Knox Energy Cooperative, Treasurer for Heart of Ohio Estate Planning Council, Board member for Area Development Foundation, The Station Break, COTC Knox County Advisory Board, and a member of St. Luke's Catholic Church.
Secretary - Phyllis Williams moved to Knox County in 1994 and has been a board member since 1999. She was the Treasurer for 19 years, Secretary for 10 years, and involved in media development and production. She developed and produced the first six Knox County Barn Tours. She is also a textile artist, passionate gardener and past-president of the Town and Country Garden Club.
Membership Chair- Cindy Sperry
Her passion is the history and preservation of historical sites. She is a board member of the Knox County Historical Society, a member of Questers International 159, Lucy Knox Chapter of the DAR, the Knox County Genealogical Soc., the Kokosing Chapter of the Archaeological Society and 20 years as its Treasurer, also a 30 year member and past officer of the Ohio Archaeology Society, a partner in the antiques store, Crickets, a board member of Hope Now Furniture Bank , and a volunteer at Hot Meals at the First Congregational Church where she has been a deacon and a 61 year member.
Advocacy Chair -works within Kenyon's Office for Community Partnerships in the Wright Center helping community partners build sustainable relationships with Kenyon and assisting faculty, staff and students wanting to get more involved.
At Large Board Members
Steve Frye is a lifelong resident of Mount Vernon and is a retired Manufacturing Engineer from the Dana Corporation. He has been a board member for 4 years and is currently the Director of Operations for the Hope Now Furniture Bank and is also very active with the Winter Sanctuary Emergency Shelter.