Michigan State Historic Preservation Review Board Meeting Minutes, September 14, 2012

Minutes Of The

State Historic Preservation Review Board Meeting

September 14, 2012, 10:00 A.M.
Lake Michigan Room, Third Floor, Michigan Library and Historical Center
702 West Kalamazoo Street, Lansing, Michigan

Board President Harms called the meeting to order at 10:00am

Lynn Evans, Richard Harms, Elisabeth Knibbe, Carolyn Loeb, Jennifer Radcliff, Ron Staley, Janese Chapman

Ted Ligibel, Scott Beld

Bob Christensen, Brian Conway, Amy Arnold, Laura Ashlee, Mollie Douglas, Ted Grevstad-Nordbrock, Jessica Puff, Katie Hardcastle, Scott Slagor, Stacy Tchorsynski, Susan Sheppard, Dean Anderson, Scott Grammer, Katherine Kirby

Patricia A. Johnson, Elaine Robinson, re: Hanover High School Complex
Rebecca Bino Savage, Re: Grand Circus Park District
Grace Smith, Sue Osgood, re: Willard Building
Steven Eyke, re: Williamston Downtown Historic District
Nancy Finegood
Karen Nagher
Pam O'Connor, Libby Heiny-Cogswell, re: Drake Farmstead
Barb Vandenberg, Dawn Marie Joseph, Paul T. Joseph, re: Williamston Downtown Historic District
Shannon McMaster, re: Boyne City Central Historic District
Amanda Reintjes, Karol Peterson, re: Midgaard 

Radcliff moved approval of agenda
Staley supported the motion
Vote: 6-0 (Chapman not yet arrived)

Loeb moved approval of the minutes, as amended
Radcliff supported the motion
Vote: 6-0



  • National Register Coordinator Bob Christensen attended the State Review Board meeting in Wisconsin for the National Register nomination of the Upper Twin Falls Road Bridge, which was nominated to the National Register at our last review board meeting.  Since the bridge is located in the jurisdiction of both states the nomination needed to be approved by both states' review boards
  • Jessica Williams has been reassigned to become the new Certified Local Government Coordinator and Community Outreach Specialist, as well as Place Making Coordinator
  • Katherine Kirby is a new student assistant for the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office
  • Alex Connell is a new student assistant for the Department of Natural Resources and works with the Office of the State Archaeologist


  • The Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has three downtown district National Register nomination projects under way in the communities of Alma, Owosso, and Escanaba. The nominations should be completed in the May-September period.
  • The SHPO has a contract underway with the City of Detroit to complete a new National Register nomination for Belle Isle.
  • The SHPO has four contracts underway for National Historic Landmark Designations related to the Michigan Modern™ project: McGregor Center at Wayne State University Campus, Detroit; St. Francis de Sale's Church, Muskegon; General Motors Technical Center, Warren; Lafayette Park, Detroit.
  • The SHPO has concluded the West Michigan Pike project.
  • The SHPO, in partnership with the City of Detroit, has initiated a contract to undertake a reconnaissance level survey of Detroit focusing on residential neighborhoods, to identify potentially National Register eligible districts and individual properties worthy of further study.
  • The SHPO is concluding a contract to write the specifications for a new GIS (Geographic Information System) database.
  • The SHPO has partnered with the Cranbrook Academy of Art to plan a major exhibition related to Michigan Modern at Cranbrook to run from June to October 2013 and then move to Grand Rapids in May of 2014. The SHPO has a contract with Monica Ponce de Leon, the Dean of the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Design, to develop the exhibition. The SHPO is planning a four day symposium to coincide with the exhibition opening.
  • The SHPO has a contract with PACE and Partners to develop a new Michigan Modern™ website.
  • The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), our parent agency, is handling a new initiative called Place Making focused on developing new downtown commercial districts.
  • The MSHDA is initiating another new program called MiNeighborhood relating to neighborhoods surrounding downtown commercial districts.
  • The SHPO's partnership with the Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN) helped fund a new Lead Resource Guide for owners of older and historic buildings.
  • MHPN has hired a new field representative for the Grand Rapids area, Amanda Reintijes.


  • Archaeology Day will be held October 6, 2012.
  • The Office of the State Archaeologist has rejuvenated its poster series and produced a new poster this year, with hopes to produce a new poster on an annual basis, with posters going to schools across the state.
  • The annual Midwest Archaeological Conference is taking place in East Lansing at the Kellogg Center at Michigan State University shortly after Archaeology Day.
  • The Michigan Historic Preservation Network's annual conference in Marquette May 2013 will feature an archaeology focused paper session.


Site:  Williamston Downtown Historic District, Williamston, Ingham County
Presented by:  Robert Christensen
Moved for Approval: Evans
Seconded:  Radcliff
Vote:  7-0
Criteria:  A and C
Level of Significance: Local

Knibbe asked why an 1890's church was not included in the district.  Christensen stated that the United Methodist Church is located just beyond the edge of the district, at the edge of an old residential area that might itself be eligible.

Site:  Lipsett Hardware Building, Pickford Township, Chippewa County
Presented by:  Robert Christensen
Moved for Approval:  Staley
Seconded:  Loeb
Vote:  7-0
Criteria:  A and C
Level of Significance:  Local

Radcliff asked about the prospects for a downtown historic district.  Christensen said that there are scattered other historic buildings in Pickford's small business district but no concentration of them.  Knibbe asked if the building was being nominated under Criterion C primarily because of the pressed metal ceiling.  Christensen stated that the building as a whole was a representative example of small-town commercial architecture of the early twentieth century. 

Site:  Grand Circus Park Historic District (Additional Documentation), Detroit, Wayne County
Presented by:  Robert Christensen
Moved for Approval with amendment noted in last sentence of discussion below:  Radcliff
Seconded:  Staley
Vote:  7-0
Criteria:  A and C
Level of Significance:  Local

Knibbe felt that the Additional Documentation supporting expansion of the period of significance to include the period down to the early 1960s would condemn the pre-1930 buildings within the district that had been renovated during the 1930-65 period from being restored to their original appearances or that it would result in property owners not restoring those properties to their original conditions.  Conway stated that the National Park Service looks at each project individually for its period of significance and broadening the period of significance would not negatively affect the integrity of the structures or district.

Radcliff moved that the district be approved under the condition that language be added to the nomination to the effect that the proposed extension of the period of significance for the district is intended to expand the period of significance to include the continued evolution of the district, but not to imply that all alterations made to earlier buildings during that time period have achieved significance greater than the significance of the original architecture, and that the significance of alterations to each building must be evaluated individually for each building, with such evaluation being beyond the scope of this nomination project (specific language to be worked out with Radcliff and Knibbe).

Site:  Boyne City Central Historic District, Boyne City, Charlevoix County
Presented by:  William Rutter
Moved for Approval:  Knibbe
Seconded:  Chapman
Vote:  7-0
Criteria:  A, B and C
Level of Significance:  Local

Site:  Hanover High School Complex, Hanover, Jackson County
Presented by:  Elaine Robinson
Moved for Approval:  Staley
Seconded:  Evans
Vote:  7-0
Criteria:  A and C
Level of Significance:  Local

Site:  Benjamin and Maria (Ogden) Drake Farmstead, Oshtemo Charter Township, Kalamazoo
Presented by:  Pamela O'Connor
Moved for Approval:  Loeb
Seconded:  Chapman
Vote:  7-0
Criteria:  A and C
Level of Significance:  Local

Site:  Grand Rapids Storage and Van Company Building, Grand Rapids, Kent County
Presented by: Knibbe
Moved for Approval:  Staley
Seconded:  Loeb
Vote:  7-0
Criteria:  A and C
Level of Significance:  Local

Site:  Willard Building, Grand Rapids, Kent County
Presented by:  Grace Smith
Moved for Approval:  Evans
Seconded:  Loeb
Vote:  7-0
Criteria:  C
Level of Significance:  Local

Site:  Midgaard, Marquette Township, Marquette County
Presented by:  Amanda Reintjes
Moved for Approval:  Knibbe
Seconded:  Staley
Vote:  7-0
Criteria:  B and C
Level of Significance:  National

The nomination as presented listed a State level of significance, but the board raised the level of significance to National. The board approved the nomination subject to the requirement that the nomination's discussion of Lautner's architecture be revised/expanded to more strongly support the national level of significance.


Palmer Park Apartment Buildings Local Historic District, Detroit
Arnold presented the following comments and questions:
The report does not include the required percentage of historic to non-historic resources. In addition, the report should include a list of all buildings and significant resources in the proposed district by address and a determination of contributing (historic) or non-contributing for each.

Do the local historic district boundaries match those of the National Register district?  If so, please include a statement to that effect in the boundary justification or, if they do not explain why.

The report should clearly state the years for the period of significance i.e., 1920-1965.

Maps created for local historic district study committee reports should have appropriate titles that indicate the city, county, name of the district and that it is a local historic district and year the district is established.

There were a number of typos and some repetition on page 5.

The board had no additional comments.

Capitol Park Local Historic District, Detroit
The local historic district boundary should exclude the parcels where properties were demolished on the district's southern edge north of Michigan Avenue and west of Griswold.  National Register Bulletin: Defining Boundaries for National Register Properties states "Areas that have lost integrity because of changes in cultural features or setting should be excluded when they are at the periphery of the eligible resources" on page 2.

In the description of the park on page 7, it needs to be made clearer what features are modern and what are historic. It is the original footprint of the park that is significant and this should be noted.

Are the contributing/non-contributing assessments for the buildings based on current conditions or were they taken from the 1998 National Register nomination and survey? It is unclear from the report if a recent survey of the buildings was conducted. A new survey should have been undertaken since fourteen years have passed since the original survey was done.

The period of significance for the district should be included in the report.

The district maps should include a formal title with the name of the city and county, the  date, and  an indication that it is for a local historic district.

The board had no additional comments.

Baldwin Theater Local Historic District, Royal Oak
The information under the Percentage of Historic and Non-historic Resources does not make sense.  If this is a single resource and there are no other buildings or features on the site the percentage of historic resources should be 100%. 
Current photographs of the resource must be included with the report. According to the report, the exterior of the theater has undergone a great deal of significant rehabilitation and change over the years:  demolition of the lobby, removal of two marquees, moving of the entrance, two additions, and metal siding.  Without current photographs it is impossible to determine if the resource would meet the National Register of Historic Places criteria, which local historic district study committees are required to follow.  Does the exterior retain enough integrity to warrant a local district? 

The district boundary must be clearly drawn on the map. We also suggest including a map that shows the location of the building within the broader context of the city.

The board had no additional comments.

1631 W. Avon Road Local Historic District (Boundary Decrease), Rochester Hills
The boundary justification in the report should clearly state which of the three criteria from Section 14 (1) of Public Act 169 of 1970 the modification meets.   For example, "because the west half of the original district was split off in 2004 and a new house was constructed on the parcel, this portion of the district has lost those physical characteristics, such as setting and feeling, that enabled the establishment of the original local historic district boundary."  It is implied in the report but it should be stated directly.

The board had no additional comments.

Niles Downtown Local Historic District, Niles
The Chapin House (City Hall, the Fort St. Joseph Museum, and its site) should be included in the local historic district boundary.  It was not included in the Downtown Niles National Register district only because it was already individually listed.  This is a significant historic resource that should be protected. Since the Niles Public Library has now reached the fifty year mark, it would be prudent to extend the local historic district boundary to include not only the Chapin House but this significant Modern resource as well.

We recommend including the parking lot bounded by Second, Sycamore, and Third Street as a contributing resource in the local historic district. The two level parking lot, with its lower level public restrooms, was most likely one of the two lots constructed in 1953 at the time the War Memorial Clock was erected.  It has long been a defining feature of the downtown and any work undertaken to it should be reviewed by the historic district commission. The corrugated metal retaining wall is not commonly found it other cities and may have a connection to Kawneer; more research should be done to determine this.

Regarding organization of the report, we recommend moving the district history (#6) to the beginning of the report (before the description) as it provides the context for the individual buildings.  At the end of the district history, please reference the National Register nomination, i.e. "The majority of the information for this report was taken from the Downtown Niles Historic District National Register of Historic Places nomination."  This will direct future researchers to the National Register nomination, which contains more detailed information.

Since Niles will have both a National Register and Local Historic District, the map in the report should indicate that it is for the local historic district.

The board had no additional comments.

Shantez Henderson v. Detroit Historic District Commission
Motion for Authorization of Dismissal:  Knibbe
Seconded:  Evans
Vote:  6-0, Chapman abstaining

Found no error in the decision made by the Historic District Commission or reviewing officer.

January 25, 2013

Racliff moved adjournment
Staley supported the motion
Vote 7-0
Meeting adjourned at 12:48pm

Prepared by Jessica Puff