The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is going pink for this year’s Preservation Gala, its largest annual fundraiser.

The 36th annual event will take place March 14 at 7 p.m. at Buckhead’s Pink Castle, a 12,000-square-foot home designed by the renowned architecture firm of Hentz, Reid & Adler and completed in 1923. Constructed in the baroque style that evokes Northern Italy’s villas, it was featured in Anne Rivers Siddons’ 1988 best-selling novel, “Peachtree Road.”

“It truly is a home that is completely renowned all over Atlanta, and we wanted to also thank the owners of the home, Melanie Turner and Stan Benecki,” said Savannah resident Tiffany Alewine, a member of the trust’s executive and gala fundraising committees. “They have meticulously restored the house to its (original) grandeur. We want to recognize them and encourage folks all over the state that it can be done. This is a true labor of love in preservation.”

The Pink Castle has been owned by only three families: the Calhouns, Thornwells and Turner and Benecki. Each year the gala takes place at a different historic home or landmark, and the event’s organizers said they were happy the Pink Castle was available to host it this year.

“First of all, it’s always a very interesting location in terms of the old houses. They all have stories,” said John Allan, an Atlanta resident who is co-chairing the 2020 gala with his wife Juliet. “I think like every year, it’s a new place and something people have never seen before. Each gala has its own feel to it, but it’s very familiar for people who have been there before.”

This year’s event will honor five preservationists who have made a difference in the state:

♦ Turner and Benecki are being honored both for restoring the Pink Castle but also for other work. Turner is an interior designer, and Benecki is CEO of Benecki Homes. Turner’s work has been featured in multiple regional and national magazines, and Benecki has more than 25 years in luxury real estate development.

♦ Barbara and Les Callahan of Atlanta are longtime trust supporters, and have positively impacted the state’s historic buildings through donations to the Callahan Incentive Grant. Les is the president of First Colony Financial Corp. and has shared his time and expertise generously with the trust, serving in several leadership positions. Barbara is involved with numerous organizations, including the trust, and serves on several boards.

♦ Jerry Lominack of Savannah has more than 50 years of experience as an architect. He has been involved in hundreds of projects in Savannah and other communities, and many of his projects have received design awards from the trust and other organizations.

“We like to recognize preservationists from all over the state,” Alewine said. “Even though our headquarters is in Atlanta, we do like to bring folks together. Preservation doesn’t just take place in Atlanta or Savannah. It’s in towns like Sandfly and Suches and all the corners in between. It’s really important to recognize that work.

“Sometimes preservation is not at top of mind when donating, but it should be. … If we can’t protect our past, we can’t preserve our future. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. People shouldn’t just read about old buildings in history books. They should be able to see and feel them.”

Themed “Venetian Carnival,” the gala will include cocktails, dinner and dancing, and attendees are encouraged to wear carnival masks and feathers. Tickets are $150 for members, $250 for nonmembers (includes membership to the trust) and $100 for guests under 40.

“What truly sets the gala apart from any other party in the state of Georgia is the fact that you’re getting to explore an exclusive private home this year that’s absolutely iconic,” Alewine said. “Our guests will have access to not only the baroque-style gardens outside but also the inside of the home, the main floor of the home.

“They’ll (also) be able to dance the night away. We’ll have small bites from some of the Atlanta’s best caterers, an open bar and live music. I think it’s one of the best parties on the state because you have people who travel from all over the state. You’re dancing the night away with 500 of your closest friends.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 404-885-7812.

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