Understanding Historic Properties
How do find out if a property is historic?
There are a number of registers that help to determine if a property should be considered historic. Many properties in St. Joseph are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or located within historic districts. Other properties have been designated as Local Landmarks. Additionally, St. Joseph has two Local Historic Districts: Hall Street and Museum Hill as properties in those districts are also considered historic.
If your property is locally designated as historic, there are procedures in place to ensure it is appropriately preserved, restored or rehabilitated:
- If a property is listed as a Local Landmark or is located in one of the Local Historic Districts, the Landmark Commission must review any proposed exterior alterations that will be visible from the public right-of-way.
- In planning those alterations, property owners must follow the design guidelines (PDF), which were written to provide assistance to property owners planning work on historic properties. The Design Guidelines are based on the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
- Before beginning exterior work on an historic property, property owners must obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Landmark Commission.
Are there any programs to help offset the cost of doing work on a historic property?
The city of St. Joseph has two programs that provide assistance for owners of historic properties. The Save Our Heritage Grant program is a one-to-one reimbursement grant that can provide funds for approved projects. The Façade Improvement grant provides owners of historic commercial structures with funds to improve the façade of their structure.
Are property owners required to maintain my historic property?
Yes. The city of St. Joseph requires that all property owners maintain their properties against decay, deterioration, and other defects.
How do property owners designate a property?
Contact the city's historic preservation office.
Are there any historic properties for sale?
The city of St. Joseph and the local nonprofit preservation organization, the Historic St. Joseph Foundation, have partnered together to establish the Historic St. Joseph Emporium. The Emporium provides a platform for the listing of historic properties for sale in St. Joseph. The listings and associated social media postings focus on the history of the property and the people associated with it.