Naples Historic District Initiative
Background and Committee
The primary objective of this initiative is for eligible districts within the Village of Naples to receive designations on the National Register of Historic Places. Achieving these recognitions is a part of the Village of Naples Comprehensive Plan, which specifically sets out the following among its goals and objectives:
1) establish historic districts,
2) protect the small town character of the village,
3) preserve the community’s historical and architectural heritage,
4) strengthen tourism, and,
5) accomplish these while encouraging business growth and economic development.
The enduring nature of National Register designations both allows and encourages long term planning by the municipality for improving, developing, and enhancing residential, tourism, and business/economic development.
This initiative will contribute to community and neighborhood revitalization. National Register designations will make available potential tax credits for homeowners and grants for commercial properties. These will enable and encourage home and business owners to undertake repairs, improvements, and/or maintenance which may otherwise be deferred or not undertaken. As part of this initiative, informational sessions are planned for before, during, and after the nominations and designation process to keep residents aware of and educated about the benefits this recognition will bring to individual owners, businesses, and our community.
The Naples National Register Historic District Initiative is being spearheaded by the Naples Historic District Committee. This committee was formally recognized by the Naples Village Board at their February 18, 2020 meeting and charged with pursuing national register designations for those areas of the village identified as eligible in the 2019 Naples Historic Resources Survey, performed by the Landmark Society of Western New York.
The Historic District Committee is primarily made up of Naples Historical Society (NHS) Board members:
Wayne Buchar, President, Naples Historical Society (NHS)
Trish Lambiase, Vice President, NHS
John Murphy, Naples Town Historian
Mike Terry, NHS Board Member
Blanche Warner, NHS Board Member
Linda Almekinder, Committee Vice-Chair, Chair Naples Joint Planning Board
Paul Lambiase, Committee Chair, Joint Planning Board Member and NHS Member
This is a community initiative with value accruing to potentially hundreds of individual properties across the Village of Naples. The leadership of the Village and the Town of Naples, along with the Naples Historical Society, are committed to this important initiative.
Naples Historic Resources Survey (2019)
In Summer 2018, The Landmark Society of Western New York contracted with the Village and Town of Naples to conduct a historic resources survey of the Village and surrounding areas, funded in part by a Preserve New York grant awarded in July 2018. The primary purpose of the survey was to evaluate the potential for National Register of Historic Places designation for Town and Village properties so that property owners might take advantage of historic tax credits and other financial incentives to rehabilitate their properties. More broadly, the municipalities also commissioned the survey to generate data that might inform local planning efforts and promotion of the village’s historic resources.
Based on this historic resource survey, the Landmark Society found:
(A) Basis for three distinct National Register–eligible historic districts within the village, associated variously with the village’s development as a regional milling, viniculture, and commercial center in the nineteenth and early to mid- twentieth centuries. These are the Central District, the South Main Street District, and the Viniculture District. Each of these is described, a with corresponding map, in section 3 of this website, titled Village Areas proposed for Nominations on the National Register of Historic Places. (CLICK IMAGE AT LEFT TO ENLARGE)
(B) Basis for the National Register – eligibility of one individual property outside the proposed districts, associated with the area’s early settlement: the old “Fairview” cemetery.
(C) Basis for special sensitivity to several additional historic properties and areas in local development planning.
Click here to view a PDF of the complete “Naples Historic Resources Survey”
Village Areas proposed for Nominations on the National Register of Historic Places
These brief descriptions are taken from the Historic Resource Survey. More detailed information on each area can be found by accessing the survey. There are both contributing and non-contributing properties identified in each of the 3 districts. Please refer to the end of the Resources Survey (link above), to identify your individual property.
a. Proposed Central Historic District (185 properties)
(CLICK IMAGE AT LEFT TO ENLARGE)
Historic commercial and residential properties at the center of Naples, generally built in the context of the village’s mid- nineteenth to early twentieth century growth as a commercial and civic hub for the surrounding rural region – especially after the completion of a rail line to the village in 1892 – are generally well-preserved, cohere together visually and historically, and in many instances retain their historic uses; accordingly, we propose a National Register -eligible Central Naples Historic District encompassing these properties at the village core.
b. Proposed South Main Street Historic District (70 properties)
(CLICK IMAGE AT LEFT TO ENLARGE)
With densely-packed residential properties testifying to the neighborhood’s relatively rapid development as the milling race infrastructure that had been concentrated in this area became obsolete and local commercial opportunities expanded in the early twentieth century, the neighborhood centered on South Main Street, in our estimation, constitutes a National Register –eligible Naples South Main Street Historic District, with a period of significance from roughly 1870, when the first houses on this section of S. Main Street were built, to 1930, by which point most of the lots subdivided from the previously agricultural tracts had been developed.
c. Proposed Viniculture Historic District (8 properties)
(CLICK IMAGE AT LEFT TO ENLARGE)
This district encompasses contiguous properties associated with and exemplifying the growth and evolution of viniculture in the Naples Valley and the larger Finger Lakes region from the late nineteenth into the twentieth century, particularly the development of the economically and physically dominant Widmer winery. Viniculture has been a prominent, distinctive part of the village’s economy since growers first discovered the ideal grape-growing conditions in the Naples Valley in the mid-nineteenth century – so prominent, in fact, that grape plant motifs are found in several of the village’s highly-visible twentieth century public buildings.
d. Proposed one individual historic property – the Fairview Cemetery
This property has particular significance in the area’s early settlement, but sits outside the three proposed districts’ boundaries. The Fairview Cemetery is located beside the original town square, which is similar to the squares found at the center of New England communities, but relatively rare in western New York. The grounds echo New England burial grounds in its central location, its simple grid layout, and the design of the earliest thin but massive individual markers; the stylistic progression of funerary design is also demonstrated in the cemetery’s monuments.
Benefits of Listing on the National Register of Historic Places
What listing on the National Register of Historic Places means
- National Register listings identify historically significant buildings, districts, structures, sites, and objects and document their significance. Listing on the National Register alone does NOT place restrictions on the property owner, nor does it necessarily preserve a property in the future.
- Owners are NOT prohibited from demolishing their buildings located within a National Register District. Having a property listed within a National Register District does NOT reduce the current or a subsequent owner's development options.
- To be considered "historic," a property must have three essential attributes: sufficient age, a relatively high degree of physical integrity, and historical significance. For a building, structure, landscape feature, historic site, or historic district, this means that the property must be relatively unchanged.
Tax Credit Information
How does the historic tax credit work?
The tax credits provide for a dollar-for-dollar reduction of federal income tax liability. The dollar value is calculated as a percentage of the qualified rehabilitation expenditures incurred during the course of the rehab construction.
Do Historic homes get tax breaks?
Basically, at the federal level, an old house that is located in a certified historic district (or is individually listed) can qualify for up to 20 percent in tax credits on qualifying rehabilitation expenditures (QREs) during the restoration/renovation process.
What are qualified rehabilitation expenditures?
Expenses that Qualify for the Rehabilitation Tax Credit include construction period interest and taxes, architect fees, engineering fees, construction management costs, reasonable developer fees, and any other fees paid that would normally be charged to a capital account.
a. National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.
b. Historic District
Historic districts in the United States are designated historic districts recognizing a group of buildings, properties, or sites by one of several entities on different levels as historically or architecturally significant. Buildings, structures, objects and sites within a historic district are normally divided into two categories, contributing and non-contributing. Districts greatly vary in size: some have hundreds of structures, while others have just a few.
c. Contributing Property
A contributing property or contributing resource is any building, object, or structure which adds to the historical integrity or architectural qualities that make the historic district significant. Another key aspect of a contributing property is historic integrity. Significant alterations to a property can sever its physical connections with the past, lowering its historic integrity. Contributing properties are integral parts of the historic context and character of a historic district.
d. Non-Contributing Property
Non-contributing properties or resources are those that, due to date of construction, alterations, or other factors, do not contribute to the district’s historic significance or character.
e. National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmarks are historic places that hold national significance. The Secretary of the Interior designates these places as exceptional because of their abilities to illustrate U.S. heritage.
The Naples area currently has no National Historic Landmarks.
f. Naples Buildings Currently on the National Register of Historic Places
The Morgan Hose Building (located at 18 Mill Street)
The Cleveland House (located at the corner of Rt. 245 & Main Street, Naples)
The Memorial Town Hall (located at 135 N. Main Street)
Web Links for further information
Benefits and Restrictions of Listing a Property to the National Register
Rehabilitation Tax Credit (Historic Preservation) FAQs
The Landmark Society of Western New York
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