<![CDATA[Watts Historical Consulting - Preservationist]]>Sat, 29 Jun 2024 07:26:16 -0500Weebly<![CDATA["Geneva's Old Blacksmith to Keep Landmark Designation, Will Remain Standing"]]>Thu, 28 Sep 2023 05:00:00 GMThttps://alwatts.com/preservationist/genevas-old-blacksmith-to-keep-landmark-designation-will-remain-standing
In October of 2022, the owner of a locally landmarked building built in ca. 1843 as a blacksmith shop, submitted an application to the City of Geneva to de-designate the building and demolish it. I assisted concerned community members rally support for the preservation of this significant structure. 

Hearings in front of the city's Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) began on January 18, 2023. I spoke at that meeting stating (see photo at left), in part, "The applicant as a property owner, has the right to choose what they wish for their property. When their property is a historic landmark, it possess a shared heritage within the community, giving the public a right to weigh in. This is why the city has a historix preservation ordinance with a high - but not insurmountable - bar for approving the demolition of a historic landmark."

The hearings continued through August 15, 2023 when the HPC unanimously denied de-designation and demolition. The owner appealed to city council the next month and they unanimously agreed with HPC.
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<![CDATA[1905 Heinz Cut Glass Factory Determination of Eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places]]>Thu, 06 Apr 2023 05:00:00 GMThttps://alwatts.com/preservationist/1905-heinz-cut-glass-factory-determination-of-eligibility-for-the-national-register-of-historic-placesPicture
The 1905 Heinz Cut Glass Factory in St. Charles, Ill had been approved for demolition in the fall of 2022. To save the building, I contacted a local developer who I knew had experience rehabilitating historic buildings. He and two partners were able to negotiate the purchase of the building and began to make plans for its rehabilitation.

Believing the building could be eligible for federal and state tax credits and could be used to lower their construction costs, I received permission from the owners to submit a Determination of Eligibility (DOE) for the National Register of Historic Places to the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office (ILSHPO). 

On April 4, 2023, ILSHPO responded with a favorable determination. The building owners are now considering whether the requirements of the federal and state tax credits will be financially beneficial and compatible with their rehabilitation plans.

FULL TEXT: Heinz Brothers Cut Glass Factory DOE submitted to ILSHPO on 3/20/2023
File Size: 6260 kb
File Type: pdf
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<![CDATA[Historic Context and Preservation of Alexander Brothers' Manufactury (contemporarily known as Mill Race Inn) Justifies Inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places]]>Sun, 16 May 2021 05:00:00 GMThttps://alwatts.com/preservationist/mill_race_innPicture
ABSTRACTIn Geneva, IL, about 100 yards east of the Fox River, a small, nondescript, boarded-up limestone structure lingers behind a chain-link fence. Humble in appearance, the building's history stretches back to the early beginnings of this prairie town and its first white settlers. Very little such utilitarian vernacular architecture dating from the first ten years of a settlement remain in Illinois. Even fewer were occupied by the diverse businesses representative of how commerce evolved in a community. Originally built by Julius and Edward Alexander and Lyman German, the Alexander brothers' manufactory - contemporarily known as Mill Race Inn - exemplified the practical architecture of an emerging nineteenth century settlement and the changes in commerce ordinary residents experienced from its erection around 1846 to the height of the depression in 1933.

FULL TEXT: Historic Context and Preservation of Alexander Brothers' Manufacturory
File Size: 152 kb
File Type: pdf
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<![CDATA[Museum Evaluation: Naper Settlement]]>Thu, 08 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMThttps://alwatts.com/preservationist/naper-settlementPicture
ABSTRACT: Naper Settlement is an outdoor museum of nineteenth-century midwest American village life located near downtown Naperville, IL, a western suburb of Chicago. Established in 1969, the thirteen acre property contains thirty historical structures highlighted by the Martin Mitchell Mansion, gifted to Naperville by Caroline Martin Mitchell in 1936. Approximately half of the buildings in the museum are original structures, most from downtown Naperville moved to the site in the 1970’s. The buildings are scattered about the property connected by brick paths so it is not laid out as a model of village.

FULL TEXT: Museum Evaluation: Naper Settlement
File Size: 177 kb
File Type: pdf
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