Below are six questions frequently asked. If your question is not below, email or call us 614.221.0227.
Can I apply for a grant from the Columbus Landmarks Foundation?
Landmarks can and does foster, support, and promote many historic preservation efforts, however, we are a nonprofit organization and not a funding institution.
I have a really old house. How can I get it listed as a landmark?
Formal recognition as a “historic landmark” is determined by the nature of the property or place, and can be achieved at either the national or local level. A building of national significance may qualify for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, our nation’s official list of historic properties worthy of preservation. Properties listed on the National Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. The National Register is a program of the National Park Service, a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Interior. In Ohio, the National Register is administered by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, located within the Ohio Historical Society. For more information on eligibility, visit the National Registry or call 614.298.2000.
Historic resources of local significance may qualify for listing on the Columbus Register of Historic Places, the city’s official listing of individual properties, groups, and districts of historic and architectural significance. The Register is administered by the Columbus Historic Preservation Office, a program of the City of Columbus Department of Development. For more information about Columbus Register eligibility, call 614.645.8635.
If my property is listed as “historic;” does that mean I can’t do anything to it?
When a historic resource achieves listing, either locally or nationally, it does so because it uniquely represents our heritage. As such we all bear responsibility to maintain and respect those precious remnants of our past. Many property owners seek listing because of the honor it represents. Another consideration may be favorable federal tax treatment. In either circumstance, it is important that owners of historic properties be aware of how to care for the special asset which they own. In some instances, that may or may not mean oversight by a public body. In the case of a National Register-listed property or a property located within a historic district, public oversight and approval arises only in two circumstances
1. review and approval of rehabilitation plans in order to qualify for Historic Preservation Tax Credits, and
2. construction projects that involve federal monies.
In the latter case, a review must occur (entitled a “Section 106 Review”) to identify and possibly mediate any adverse affect the publicly-funded construction project may have on any National Register-listed or eligible historic resource. In any other circumstance, a National Register-listed historic structure or place may be altered without public review and/or approval, including demolition.
However, in the case of properties listed on the Columbus Register of Historic Places or in a Columbus Register historic district, any renovation, alteration or demolition plans must be reviewed by the Columbus Office of Historic Preservation and a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) issued.
Any renovation or alteration work or demolition conducted without a COA will be subject to fines and/or court action. It is strongly encouraged that before proceeding to alter a historic property, you first contact either or both of the preservation offices listed above. Staff is always ready to assist property owners, provide technical expertise and guide you through any applicable requirements.
There’s an historic building in my neighborhood that is slated to be sold and/or demolished. What can I do to stop it?
This is a difficult question to answer, and there are any number of approaches you can and should take. A change of property owners may or may not be cause for concern; oftentimes such a change presents. If demolition looms, however, you are encouraged to contact Landmarks staff to explore options.
How can I find out the history behind a particular historic building or site?
There are a multitude of resources available to aid you in your search, some of which are located here in our offices. Landmarks maintains an extensive clippings file, organized by address, of buildings and properties within the central Ohio region. These files are open to the public to use; simply call 614.221.0227 to set up an appointment. We also recommend you utilize the resources of the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), which houses a considerable collection of publications and other materials on Columbus history. In addition, the CML has an online database that indexes historic Columbus buildings, as well as vintage Columbus photographs. To access them, go to www.cml.lib.oh.us/webwebfinder/cmldb.cfm.
I have an old home that needs some renovation/restoration work done. Can you recommend someone?
Landmarks is currently developing a reference list of those companies that specialize in both interior and exterior renovation and restoration of historic properties. Until that resource is available, we are happy to publicize those companies that are members of Landmarks and who not only support our organization but are equally committed to protecting our community’s historic resources.