N.C. State Historic Preservation Office Begins Comprehensive Architectural Survey of Lenoir

The N.C. State Historic Preservation Office

The N.C. State Historic Preservation Office (HPO) has hired Robinson & Associates, a Washington, D.C. based cultural resources consulting firm, to conduct a comprehensive architectural survey of historic buildings, structures and sites within the Lenoir city limits. Daria Gasparini is a principal with the firm and project manager. Working with her are Tim Kerr, principal and senior historian, and Mike Mitchell, associate historian.

The project is scheduled for completion next winter and involves the documentation of approximately 480 resources built prior to 1970. Mitchell will be in Lenoir for fieldwork in June and July and will meet with representatives of the city and local historians.

The firm will conduct archival research, record architectural features, and capture photographic documentation of each resource. In addition, the project will identify individual properties and historic districts that appear to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and potentially eligible for state and federal tax credits for certified historic rehabilitation. The project will culminate in a final report that analyzes the city’s history through the lens of its historic architecture.

The HPO first surveyed Lenoir’s historic resources in 1986, when architectural historian Vicky Mason recorded historic dwellings, schools, churches and commercial buildings in the city. That work was part of a larger effort including all of Caldwell and Alexander counties, with less emphasis on Lenoir. Recent consultations between HPO and local stakeholders has revealed a growing interest in identifying historic buildings, particularly for their redevelopment potential. In December 2016, HPO staff examined the city to determine the scope of work for the survey.

At the conclusion of the project, the HPO will share the digital files with the city. Public access to the information will be available through HPOWEB, the State Historic Preservation Office’s geographic information system, which is accessible online at http://gis.ncdcr.gov/hpoweb/. The survey material will assist environmental review work by local, state and federal agencies and will aid in planning for future economic and community development projects. It will also be useful for the continued development of heritage tourism programs in Lenoir. 

The survey project is supported by the Lenoir City Council and facilitated in part by the city’s Planning Department, which is coordinating meetings of local citizens who can assist the consultants by sharing knowledge of Lenoir’s history and historic properties.

For more information on the comprehensive architectural survey of Lenoir, contact Annie McDonald, preservation specialist serving the 25-county western region for the State Historic Preservation Office (annie.mcdonald@ncdcr.gov or 828-296-7230, extension 223), Daria Gasparini (dgasparini@robinson-inc.com or 202-234-2333), or Jenny Wheelock, Planning Director (jwheelock@ci.lenoir.nc.us or 828-757-2204).

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