Protecting our Landmarks

The recent efforts to protect a local landmark, the St. Charles Water Tower on the Lindenwood Campus have failed. The Water Tower is not on the National Register of Historic Places. Despite that, many felt that the request for demolition had to go before the Landmarks Board before a permit to demolish could be obtained. However, that was not the case. According to Bruce Evens with the City of St. Charles “The ordinance that gives the Department of Community Development the authority to issue a demolition permit without Landmarks Board review when a structure is dangerous/unsafe was approved by the City Council on November 10, 1998 and signed by the Mayor on November 16, 1998 (ordinance no. 98-466). 

Main Street in the City of Saint Charles Missouri is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the St. Charles Historic District, with several of the properties in the District also individually listed. The District runs from 1000 South Main to the 300 Block of North Main. Those individually listed are the Newbill-McElhiney house, Stone Row, First Missouri State Capitol, Old City Hall, and the St. Charles Odd Fellows Hall. As a Certified Local Government Saint Charles has a historic preservation ordinance, an appointed preservation commission known as the Landmarks Board, is always conducting an ongoing survey and inventory of historic properties and conducts public outreach and education. In Saint Charles, the Landmarks Board reviews and approves or denies architectural features of proposed new buildings or additions to existing buildings in historic districts, and makes recommendations on establishing new historic districts and designating individual buildings as historic landmarks. [see] .

The State Historic Preservation Office is the agency authorized to carry out the responsibilities of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended.  These activities include: reviewing nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, overseeing the state’s architectural and archaeological survey programs, Section 106 Review and Compliance, managing Missouri’s Certified Local Government Program, reviewing state and federal historic tax credit applications, and administering Historic Preservation Grant programs.Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, federal agencies must consider the effect of their actions on historic properties and provide the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) the opportunity to comment on proposed actions. Each State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) plays an important role in Section 106 review. In Missouri, the State Historic Preservation Office is a program within the Department of Natural Resources.

The Missouri Certified Local Government (CLG) Program is administered in Missouri by the Department of Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The program came into existence as a result of 1980 Congressional amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The CLG program is designed to expand the historic preservation network of the federal and state governments by creating a mechanism for participation of local governments. The requirements for participation in the Missouri CLG program — enacting a historic preservation ordinance, appointing a preservation commission, conducting an ongoing survey and inventory of historic properties, and conducting public outreach and education — are flexible so that a preservation program can be tailored to meet the needs of the special historic characteristics as well as the modern concerns of the applicant community.

Implementing a historic preservation program at the local level is the best protection that can be devised for the cultural resources of a community. The local program determines what is important to the community, independent of National Register of Historic Places eligibility; and determines the extent and stringency of the protection to be given by means of landmark and district ordinances and design review guidelines. As partners in the national historic preservation network of the National Park Service, the state historic preservation offices, and local government, CLGs have two distinct advantages. First, the SHPO is required to provide technical training on a variety of preservation topics and issues to CLG commissions and will prioritize response to CLGs on technical assistance requests. Second, federal law requires that a minimum of 10 percent of the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grants administered by the SHPO must be awarded to CLGs. A special set of funding priorities are determined each year and may include preparation of nominations for local districts and landmarks: design guidelines; professional staff assistance; long-range comprehensive preservation planning projects; and outreach and education projects. The State Historic Preservation Office is located in Jefferson City, and can be contacted at 800-361-4827.

Sources: Missouri’s Certified Local Government Program

One comment

  1. Lindenwood would not permit a structural engineer other than the one Lindenwood hired to inspect the gracedul brick tower.
    It could have made an excellent climbing gym for Lindenwood students as an alternate use.


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