Blissfield downtown on National Registry of Historic Places

The Blissfield DDA/Main Street has announced that the National Park Service has approved the addition of the downtown Blissfield historic district to the National Registry of Historic Places. On July 10, the director of the National Park Service announced the acceptance of Blissfield’s nomination application.

The official designation on the National Registry of Historic Places means that Blissfield property owners can take advantage of federal tax credits when considering improvements in the district, according to Patricia Rayl, Blissfield DDA/Main Street director.

Blissfield’s district, comprised of 44 contributing buildings, and eight non-contributing buildings, is an unusually large district for the NRHP. A contributing structure means it was built during the “period of significance.”

For Blissfield, the period of significance is between the 1870s and 1960s. The first brick commercial buildings, on what is now the 100-block of West Adrian Street, were erected after a fire in the mid-1870s, and the Jipson-Carter Bank at the corner of Lane and Jefferson Streets was remodeled in 1968.

“This is awesome,” said Barb McHenry, member of the Design Committee. “We, as a village, have known we were worthy of an historic designation. Now, everyone in the United States will know. This means we have even more reason to strive to restore and keep our historic buildings intact. The potential tax break on future historic updates and repairs on these buildings doesn’t hurt, either.”

The NRHP is maintained by the National Park Service, a division of the US. Department of the Interior. Properties in the historic district are eligible for federal historic tax credits.

“Grants from other agencies are also easier to qualify for with the historic designation,” Rayl said. “This means a lot to the future of Blissfield, as many people specifically search out historic places to shop and visit. This gives us huge bragging rights, and a national platform to promote our town.”

The listing on the registry was made possible by a grant from the Michigan Main Street Center. The grant allowed Ruth Mills to be hired to do the research and put the application paperwork together on Blissfield’s behalf. Mills is an architectural historian at Quinn Evans Architects, a firm with offices in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Madison, Wisc., and Washington, DC.

Michigan Main Street Center is a division of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.