Downtown Owosso and Detroit Bank Among Nominees
LANSING, Mich., Jan. 24, 2014 The State Historic Preservation Review Board today announced the nomination of five sites to the National Register of Historic Places – the nation's list of historic sites worthy of preservation. Michigan is home to more than 1,600 sites.
"A spot on the national register is significant to property owners and communities," said State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway. "It acknowledges historic and architectural distinction, preserves community identity and opens up opportunities for commercial property owners to use federal historic preservation tax credits for rehabilitating income-producing buildings. By rehabilitating and reusing these structures we contribute to economic growth without destroying what makes each community unique."
The nominated properties include:
Owosso Downtown Historic District, Shiawassee County
The district, generally bound by the Shiawassee River and Water Street, Comstock Street, Park Street and Mason Street, comprises the historic core of Owosso's central business district, with buildings dating primarily from the 1850s to the 1960s. The district contains more than 100 buildings, 85 of which contribute to the historic character. The area contained in the district has served as Owosso's central business district since the community's establishment in the 1830s and remains today a key business center for the city even though the usual commercial strips have developed on the city's outskirts. The district contains the city's municipal building, which has housed city government since its construction in the early 1920s; its high school building, which served in that capacity nearly 40 years and continues to serve as a public school after 90 years; and its armory, which served as the home of the area's Michigan National Guard units from its completion in 1916 until recent years. Dating from the 1850s to the 1960s, the district's architecture contains commercial buildings ranging from vernacular Greek Revival and Italianate to Neoclassical and International style. A particularly distinctive feature, and one that separates downtown Owosso from other small city downtowns around Michigan, is its concentration of late Victorian buildings displaying intricate brickwork, often using highly distinctive types of bricks, dating from the 1885-95 period. The district's notable architecture also includes public, educational, social and church buildings and the city's 1920s movie theater building.
Sparks-Anderson House, Kalamazoo County
The Greek Revival-style Sparks-Anderson House, 7653 West Main St., Oshtemo, dates from 1852, the early years of the Oshtemo Township settlement. Once one of many Greek Revival residences in the township, the house is now one of only four remaining with its historic features intact. The property is owned by Kalamazoo College, which also owns the former farmland once associated with the house. The property is now known as the Lillian Anderson Arboretum.
Genesee Street School, Ingham County
Lansing architect Edwyn A. Bowd designed the Neoclassical school building constructed in 1912 at 835 W. Genesee St., Lansing, in an early 20th century neighborhood northwest of downtown. The building is quite similar to the Shiawassee Street School in Corunna, also designed by Bowd. The school closed at the end of the 1984 school year and was used by a number of nonprofits, including the Black Child and Family Institute, which leased the building from the school district from 1986 to 2012. The building is now owned by Zero Day, a nonprofit devoted to providing job training and housing for veterans.
Frank and Dorothy (Feinauer) Ward House, Calhoun County
Constructed in 1951-52, the Ward house at 257 Lakeshore Drive in Battle Creek is an excellent example of a mid-century modern house reflecting the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright. The house was designed by Yuzuru "LeRoy" Kawahara, a fellow at Wright's Taliesin. It is one of few known residences planned solely by Kawahara, who later planned numerous commercial buildings in central California. The residence is almost completely intact and original to its 1952 construction. The house's first owner, Frank Ward, later served as civil defense director for both the City of Battle Creek and the State of Michigan.
Detroit Savings Bank Fort Street Office, Wayne County
The Detroit Savings Bank, 5705 W. Fort St. in Detroit, was associated with the burgeoning development of southwest Detroit in the early 20th century. The bank building reflects the Neoclassical style popular during the early 20th century for bank construction. The building has changed very little over the last century and is a highly intact example of the style of bank branch buildings that dotted Detroit's neighborhoods at the time, most of whose survivors no longer retain good integrity. The bank was designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn, who designed many significant structures including: the Ford Highland Park Plant, the Ford Rouge Plant, and the University of Michigan's Angell Hall. The bank building is now owned by the nonprofit Community Health and Social Services Center.
The State Historic Preservation Review Board considers nominations to the register three times a year. On behalf of the review board, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) forwards nominations to the keeper of the National Register, National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior, for listing. To read the nomination forms for these properties and see photographs, visit Michigan.gov/nrhp. Click on "Michigan State Historic Preservation Review Board."
The SHPO coordinates the National Register Program in Michigan. For information on the National Register of Historic Places and other programs of the State Historic Preservation Office, visit www.michigan.gov/shpo or call (517) 373-1630.
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is financed in part by a grant from the National Park Service, Department of Interior. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on its federally funded assistance programs. If you believe you've been discriminated against please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C. St. NW, Washington DC 20240.
The State Historic Preservation Office is part of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), which provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.
MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.
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