Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | May 22, 2018

Historic district nomination moves ahead

Sep 13, 2017
As part of a nomination petition for the West Side Residential Historic District, the Washington Historic Preservation Commission is seeking anyone with information about growth in Sunset Park during the 1930s and ‘40s. Records for that time are missing and the commission hopes to reconstruct the information.

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


Information on a proposed West Side Residential Historic District and on the National Register of Historic Places was given during an informational meeting Tuesday night at the Washington Public Library.

City of Washington Historic Presdervation Commission chair Mary Patterson said the history of the neighborhood’s development and how it fit in the development of the community. The history ran from 1856 to 1969.

“That is the period during which the development of this area is significant to the development of the community,” Patterson said.

Project consultant Rebecca Lawin McCarley of SPARK Consulting gave the attendees an overview of the project.

The district being nominated is South Avenue B on the west side, down West Main Street, West Washington Street and West Jefferson Street to, and including, Sunset Park. The commission surveyed 150 properties. Patterson said the survey took 1,500 volunteer hours over a period of 15 months. The potential historic district includes 148 properties with about 183 contributing resources and 68 non-contributing resources, plus Sunset Park. If approved, it will be the second historic district in Washington to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The commission received a Certified Local Government grant in the spring from the National Park Service to hire McCarley to develop a nomination for the district.

The commission had done a historic survey of the neighborhood in 2014-15. Many residents volunteered for the project and the history of the houses and the neighborhood were documented. Many of the people attending were given information about their houses. The information is available at the library.

The process of nominating the district is expected to extend through next year. Research will be completed in the fall and the nomination will be developed. The nomination will be reviewed by the State Nomination review Committee in June 2018 in Des Moines. If recommended, the nomination will be forwarded to the National Park Service for formal listing, likely in 2018.

Patterson also said some work needs to be done on the survey of Sunset Park. She commented the minutes of the park board meetings regarding Sunset Park from the 1930s and ‘40s seem to be missing and no one seems to know where they are.

“We know the park got more property, but we can’t tell you where it came from or when,” she said. “That is one of our little mysteries to solve.”

Patterson stressed that if the west side is declared a historic district it would be an honor and it meant that the bulk of the properties are old and are worth taking care of.

She said it does not impose any restrictions on what an owner can do.

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