Blissfield Downtown Historic District gets nod for National Register of Historic Places nomination


Michigan added four sites to the list, approved three for nomination

Contact:
Misty Miller
Communications
517.373.1858
millerm58@michigan.gov


June 12, 2015

BLISSFIELD, MICH. – Blissfield Downtown Historic District has been nominated for a spot on the National Register of Historic Places according to State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway.

In all, the State Historic Preservation Review Board approved the nomination of three Michigan historic sites to be considered for addition to the National Register listing. In addition to the Blissfield Downtown Historic District, Swayze Apartments in Flint and Holy Family Orphanage in Marquette were nominated for listing in the National Register.  

“National Register listing is an honor and in some cases provide the practical benefit of tax credits,” Conway said. “Eligible property owners have the opportunity to apply for Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits to rehabilitate buildings for income-producing purposes.”

The list 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.

The Blissfield Downtown Historic District has historic resources dating back to 1875, with the bulk of its physical development taking place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Collectively, the district housed the bulk of the city’s commercial activities during that period, as well as the community’s prominent business and professional offices and activities.

“I am proud that Blissfield’s rich and historic past has been recognized by the State of Michigan,” said Senator Dale W. Zorn. “The character of Blissfield is a testament to the honest, hard-working men and women of this community that have carved out a bit of Americana here in Lenawee County.”

Historically, the area also has been the center of Blissfield’s social and entertainment activities, including fraternal organizations, visual and performing arts, vaudeville, films and other recreational pursuits.

A collection of late nineteenth to mid-twentieth-century commercial buildings representing the prevailing styles in commercial architecture during that period can be seen in this district. Residents and visitors in the area can see well-known architectural styles such as Italianate, Late Victorian, Arts and Crafts and Commercial Brick dotting the landscape. Several buildings represent outstanding and well-preserved examples of these styles within local historic context.
Besides the newly nominated sites, four historic Michigan sites were added to the National Register list. They are:
    
Francis Metallic Surfboat, Douglas, Allegan County
The 26-foot, iron-hulled vessel dating from approximately 1854 is one of only two surviving examples of the first type of unmanned life-saving/shipwreck rescue program in the United States.  As one of the first types of rescue craft employed in the United States and the Great Lakes, this is a critical historic relic in illustrating the technology in use at the time.
    
Ezra E. and Florence (Holmes) Beardsley House, Bronson Township, Branch County
The Beardsley House survives today as one of the largest and finest Eastlake houses in Branch County and the outstanding example in Bronson Township. The 1887 wooden house stands on a two-acre site within a farm and woodland property of 445 acres. Ezra Beardsley was well-known as a stock farmer specializing in horses.

Otsego Hotel, Jackson, Jackson County
The Otsego Hotel, completed in 1904, was a leading hotel in downtown Jackson from the completion of its original section in 1904 until its closing in 1962. It served as a political meeting place and played a central role in the social, political and commercial life of the city of Jackson.

Temple Baptist Church—King Solomon Baptist Church, Detroit, Wayne County
Completed in 1917, in the style of Tudor Revival architecture, the building is the only known remaining example of the work of architect J. Will Wilson. King Solomon Baptist Church played a prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement, and was the site of one of Malcolm X’s most famous speeches, “Message to the Grass Roots.” The church played host to numerous other influential guests including Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy and Rev. Benjamin Mays.

“Michigan has a rich collection of archaeological and historic sites,” said Kevin Elsenheimer, executive director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. “Listing in the National Register of Historic Places calls attention to these sites and alerts residents and visitors to the historical value of the communities.”

Michigan has more than 1,600 listings in the National Register of Historic Places, including some 250 districts comprising more than 20,000 properties.

Historic sites are nominated to the national register by the State Historic Preservation Review Board, which considers nominations to the register three times per year. On behalf of the review board, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) forwards nominations to the National Park Service in the U.S. Department of the Interior, which acts as keeper of the National Register, for listing.

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is financed in part by a grant from the National Park Service, Department of Interior. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on its federally funded assistance programs.  If you believe you've been discriminated against please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C. St. NW, Washington DC 20240.

The State Historic Preservation Office is part of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), which provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.*

*MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs.

For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.