Historic District app clears state hurdle
BY STACI WILSON
With the stately Greek Revival courthouse standing at its center a large portion of Montrose Borough is under consideration acceptance to the National Registry of Historic Places for its architectural significance.
At a Feb. 1 meeting of the Pennsylvania State Review Board the Montrose Historic District gained the state approval for acceptance to the National Register of Historic Places clearing it for review at the federal level.
The state’s National Register and Survey Coordinator Carol Lee said Montrose was nominated for its architecture.
Lee said that the application now moves on to the National Parks Service in Washington, D.C., for review.
Montrose resident Barbara Clifford, who – along with Karen Miller of Rush – worked on the application said the two came up with a tag line for the project, “It’s an investment in the future of the past.”
Clifford credits Mitzi Perry Miller, president of the Susquehanna County Heritage Preservation, are the inspiration that started the move to establish a Montrose Historic District. The grant was obtained through the Endless Mountains Heritage Region and the grant application was supported by E.L. Rose Conservancy.
Clifford sees future economic development based on the area’s sustainable heritage.
Susquehanna County Historian Betty Smith agreed, “It’s going to wonderful for Montrose.
Smith said she was optimistic the National Parks Service review of the nomination would have a favorable outcome.
Boundaries of the proposed Montrose Historic District run roughly along Wyalusing, Owego, Spruce, Chenango, High, Turrell, Grow, Jessup, Laurel, Cliff, Union, Wilson, and Park streets, and Lake Ave.
Many homes on Church and Maple streets and Lake Avenue fit with the age and architectural criteria that contribute to the Montrose Historical District.
Jeffrey Marshall, vice president Resource Protection of the Heritage Conservancy prepared the nomination application.
In the application he noted: “The town has a remarkable collection of buildings that appear to be textbook examples of various forms of Greek Revival, Italianate, Italian Villa, Gothic Revival and Queen Anne styles of architecture.”
The state has up to 90 days to submit the approved nomination to the Parks Service but Lee said the process usually takes far less time.
After the Parks Services receives the information from the state, its board of review has 45 days to make a final decision, according to Lee.
Houses within the historical district designated as contributing homes would receive the same benefits as if the home was named separately to the Historic Register and could be eligible for grants, said Smith.
“It’s an economic benefit to people who need to make repairs to their buildings,” Clifford said. “Money spent on restoration – in keeping with the original architecture – is tax deductible.”
Clifford noted that people who visit the area find things haven’t change much in the way of architecture since the town was developed around the Jeffersonian model of a courthouse and village green in the center of the town, surrounded by businesses with residential areas around the commercial district.
Clifford said, “That’s what is so special. It’s so rare.”
“When Montrose was first built it was surrounded by farmland and it remains surrounded by farmland,” Clifford said. “We’re fortunate we still have so much of our farmland and forestland still intact.”
Should the Montrose Historical District be added to the national registry, Clifford thinks it will help area residents develop pride in the heritage of their architecture.
The borough could also qualify or be the recipient of grants is the application is approved.
Sites already included on the National Registry include the Susquehanna County Courthouse Complex, the Sylvanus Mulford House and the Silver Lake Bank building. The Sylvanus Mulford House and Silver Lake Bank are both located on Church St.