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State Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Report

Ohio Historic Preservation Office
Outreach and Historic Preservation Services Division
Ohio Historical Society

The Society's Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO) is the official historic preservation agency of the State of Ohio. It has developed since 1967 when the Ohio Historical Society was designated to manage responsibilities delegated to the state by Congress in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The Ohio Historic Preservation Office:

  • Prepares and distributes a state historic preservation plan
  • Identifies historic places and archaeological sites
  • Nominates eligible properties to the National Register of Historic Places
  • Reviews significance and rehabilitation work on historic buildings for federal and state tax credits
  • Consults on federally-assisted projects for effects on historic, architectural, and archaeological resources
  • Qualifies communities for the Certified Local Government (CLG) program
  • Administers a competitive grant program for CLG communities
  • Advises on the conservation of buildings and sites
  • Offers educational programs and publications

The office has a staff of archaeologists, historians, architectural historians, a historical architect, and others with professional expertise in preservation-related fields.

The office is funded in part by an annual grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior's Historic Preservation Fund. The Society received $890,963 for 2009 operations of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, which represents an increase of 7% from 2008. The Society provides some of the required 40% match to the federal grant via cash in Line 504 of the Society’s budget and non-cash through its federally negotiated indirect cost rate.

The Ohio Historic Preservation Office works to identify, evaluate and protect historic places throughout the state.

A. Identification and Evaluation

Ohio Historic Inventory and Ohio Archaeological Inventory

The inventory program was developed to serve as an accurate and continuing record of the archaeological, architectural and historic properties currently existing in the state. The inventories record basic information on historic properties and sites. Since 1974, over 145,000 historic buildings, sites, landscapes, and bridges have been entered into the records of the Ohio Historic Inventory and the Ohio Archaeological Inventory. In 2009:

  • 415 historic properties were added to the Ohio Historic Inventory
  • 965 sites were added to Ohio Archaeological Inventory totaling 11,842 acres
  • 305 Archaeology Survey Reports were added to National Archaeology Database.
  • 201 archaeology reports from the Ohio Archaeological Council files were initially reviewed and added to the Ohio Historic Preservation Office survey report files. These are professional or academic reports not currently on file with the OHPO and contain information vital to the Ohio Archaeological Inventory, in some cases, containing the only source of expanded information concerning sites long ago inventoried.

I-Form is an Internet-based application that allows for electronic completion and submission of Ohio Historic Inventory forms and Ohio Archaeological Inventory forms. In 2009, staff added administrative enhancements to I-Form to expedite the inventory review and tracking processes, improved the importation of photographs into the database, and added new reporting software.


The Ohio Historic Preservation Office operates both an in-house GIS (Geographic Information System) known as MAPIT and an online GIS site. These applications provide staff, agencies and researchers with rapid access to Ohio's cultural resource data (National Register listings and sites identified in the historic and archaeological inventories) in a digital format. The site allows users to query cultural data and produce maps.

During 2009 capital funds were utilized to redesign the GIS site and combine the in-house and online sites into a single integrated system for launch in SFY 2010. With funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation, customized mapping tools were developed to help users of both the online mapping site and I-Form easily capture precise geographic reference points of identified historic places and import map views into survey forms and reports.

Using its in-house GIS application, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office provides cultural resources information for a fee to parties siting federally funded, licensed or permitted projects. During 2009 OHPO completed 74 record search requests resulting in $13,876 in revenue.

National Register of Historic Places

Forty listings were added to National Register from July 1, 2008-June 30, 2009. This included ten 10 historic districts, 28 individual buildings and 2 structures. These nominations comprised 405 buildings, structures, sites and objects from 19 Ohio counties: Belmont, Clark, Cuyahoga, Fairfield, Franklin, Guernsey, Hamilton, Jackson, Knox, Lawrence, Mahoning, Medina, Montgomery, Ottawa, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas and Warren.

The Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board met three times during the fiscal year: August 1, 2008, December 5, 2008 and April 17, 2009. The Governor-appointed seventeen-member board made recommendations to the State Historic Preservation Officer to approve a total of 33 nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. These nominations included 21 individual buildings, two structures, eight historic districts and one Multiple Property Documentation Cover form in Belmont, Clark, Cuyahoga, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, Jackson, Knox, Lawrence, Montgomery, Stark, Tuscarawas and Warren counties. The state review board approved one application to the State Registry of Archaeological and Historical Landmarks in Clermont County. OHSPAB members participated on the Ohio Historic Preservation Awards committee and the Certified Local Government Grants Selection committee. Aaron Askew from Columbus served as chair in 2008; Nancy Otis from Celina is the chair in 2009.

B. Protection

Federal Reviews

Under the National Historic Preservation Act the preservation of historic architectural and archaeological resources is national policy. Agencies must consider the effects of projects they assist on properties listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. During 2009 the Society’s Ohio Historic Preservation Office reviewed 6,400 federally assisted projects, many of which are privately funded but require federal permits, such as commercial, residential, and industrial development.

Thirty of these projects resulted in Memoranda of Agreement and 64 Programmatic Agreements to resolve adverse effects to historic properties. Reviewed projects included rehabilitation of several buildings at Wright Patterson Air Force Base; construction of a multi-state natural gas pipeline that crosses Ohio; and renovation of the rest rooms and the buildings housing them at Serpent Mound.

Making the preservation office’s review workload larger and more challenging is the recent enactment of federal legislation to stimulate the economy and solve the housing foreclosure and abandonment crisis, which has hit Ohio particularly hard. In order to prepare for the onslaught and keep projects on statutorily mandated schedules, review staff worked closely with the Ohio Department of Development, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation on measures to ensure that housing-related projects, which constitute the largest percentage of review workload are reviewed in a timely manner.

The centerpiece of these efforts is standardized streamlining agreements with local government grantees, as well as associated website improvements and training classes. Two hundred such standardized agreements are expected.

Tax Incentives

Nineteen Ohio projects representing over $118 million dollars of investment received final certification during SFY 2009 for the federal historic rehabilitation investment tax credit, following review and recommendations by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office to the National Park Service. More than 120 Part 1, Part 2 and Amendment applications for federal historic rehabilitation tax credit were reviewed and recommendations made to the National Park Service.

The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit (OHPTC) program provides a tax credit for the rehabilitation expenses to owners of historically significant buildings. The tax credit subsidy is 25% of qualified rehabilitation expenditures with an application cap of $5 million. Projects must comply with the US Secretary of Interior’s standards for rehabilitation. The OHPTC program is administered by the Urban Development Division of the Ohio Department of Development in partnership with the Ohio Historic Preservation Office and the Ohio Department of Taxation. During 2009 18 OHPTC projects were reviewed and recommendations made.

Grants-Funded Projects

The National Park Service, through its American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP), awarded $45,000 to the Ohio Historic Preservation Office to update its inventory and survey data for nine Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields in Ohio. The office entered contract with Mannik & Smith Group to complete the survey of nine Ohio battlefield sites.

The Ohio Historic Preservation Office initiated work on a Preserve America Grant in the amount of $87,656 for a two-year project, Ohio Modern: Preserving Our Recent Past. The project will produce a statewide historic context outlining the important social, political and economic trends that shaped land use decisions, architectural styles and building technology in Ohio from 1940-1970. The project also includes a history-architecture survey of mid-20th century architecture in Dayton neighborhoods and several surrounding suburban communities such as Kettering, Oakwood, Fairborn, Huber Heights, Trotwood and Vandalia. The survey will document an estimated 500 properties to the Ohio Historic Inventory. The project will conclude with a public forum to promote the significance and public value of places reflecting Ohio’s recent past. The Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Department of Development, Ohio Humanities Council, City of Dayton and the University of Dayton have provided matching funds.

Certified Local Governments

Whether it is preserving a vintage downtown or converting an old warehouse into the headquarters of a new .com, experience has shown that historic preservation is usually most successful when local people work at the local level to protect and reuse local historic resources. The Certified Local Governments program recognizes that local efforts need support, and that communities can benefit from working with state and federal partners who share the same goal. It is this spirit of partnership which gave rise to Ohio's Certified Local Governments program in 1985. Often called "CLG" for short, the program is a federal-state-local partnership that enables eligible communities to conduct a wide range of preservation activities in cooperation with the Ohio Historic Preservation Office and the U.S. Department of the Interior, including surveys of historic resources and nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places.

Ohio now claims 49 CLG communities; three obtained the status in 2009: Brookfield Township (Mahoning County), Elyria and North Olmsted.

Certified Local Government Grants Awarded

Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, Franco Ruffini, announced Certified Local Government grant awards totaling $98,096 for nine projects in Berea, Brookfield Township, Canal Winchester, Cleveland, Columbus, Euclid, Massillon, and the Village of Mt. Pleasant.

The CLG grant program enables local governments participation in the national historic preservation program while maintaining standards consistent with the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Secretary of the Interior’s “Standards and Guidelines for Archaeology and Historic Preservation.”

Each year, 10 percent of the annual federal allocation to Ohio’s historic preservation program is passed through to local communities that achieve certified historic preservation status. These competitive awards come from the U. S. Department of the Interior’s Historic Preservation Fund, which derives income from royalties paid by oil companies for drilling rights on the continental shelf. The Society’s Ohio Historic Preservation Office administers the grants in Ohio. The grant may constitute up to 70 percent of the project cost and the applicant provides the remaining 30 percent in local matching funds, through cash, in-kind, or donated services and materials.

The 2009 grant projects are:

Berea - $14,254 for the continued rehabilitation of Berea School #7, a property listed on the National Register of Historic Places that is used by the community as a cultural arts facility.

Brookfield Township -- $8,400 to prepare design guidelines for use by the township historic preservation commission and the public to help ensure the historic character of the community is retained when changes are made to designated properties.

Canal Winchester -- $24,032 to rehabilitate the windows of the Town Hall, a major public building in the community that houses village government and community offices.

Cleveland -- $5,000 for a Cleveland Restoration Society- administered project to establish a web resource guide for reuse of religious properties.

Columbus -- $14,648; $4,148 for preparation of a National Register nomination for the Old North Columbus Commercial District; to be administered by the Columbus Landmarks Foundation; and $10,500 for repair of the tile roof at the Green Lawn Abbey Mausoleum, to be administered by the Green Lawn Abbey Preservation Association.

Euclid -- $8,000 to conduct a reconnaissance history and architecture survey of historic resources in the community.

Massillon -- $8,792 to prepare a Historic Structures Report for Five Oaks, home of the Massillon Women’s Club, to serve as a guide for the sensitive preservation of this local landmark.

Mt. Pleasant -- $14,970 to repair the soffit and box gutters at the Elizabeth House Mansion Museum in this National Historic Landmark-designated village.

This was the most competitive funding round in CLG grant program history. Over $260,000 in grants was requested. Recipients were recommended by the governor-appointed Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board, a state board of citizens and professionals with expertise in history, architecture, archaeology and related fields.

C. Outreach

In State fiscal year 2009 the Ohio Historic Preservation Office held nine workshops on these topics: I-Form Basic Data Entry Training, I-Form Advanced Training, National Register Digital Submission Standards, National Register Basics, National Register Advanced, Section 106 Project Summary Form, and Programmatic Agreements.

The Ohio Historical Society’s Building Doctors teach old-building owners how to recognize and solve some of the most common sources of problems in maintaining older buildings, and how to make informed decisions about repairs and improvements. During 2009, more than 300 people attended Building Doctor Clinics in Findlay (September), Burton (September), Botkins/Anna (October), Cambridge (October), Dover (May), Huron (May) and Granville (June).

D. Special Staff Achievements

Barbara Powers serves on the Ohio Judicial Center Commission representing the Ohio Historical Society.

Glenn Harper was recently recognized by the Ohio National Road Association and public officials across Ohio for his many years of work to foster the recognition, understanding, appreciation, and preservation of the National Road.

He was honored by the ONRA on May 26 as he left the board of the organization that he helped found in 2000. Glenn’s numerous contributions include securing federal funding for a comprehensive survey of the National Road in Ohio, co-founding the National Road Alliance, a six-state National Road organization, co-authoring A Traveler’s Guide to the National Road in Ohio, a popular guide to the national Road experience in Ohio, leading the effort to fund, write and implement the Ohio National Road Corridor Management Plan, serving as lead development partner in securing funding and writing the Ohio Historic National Road Design Guidelines Handbook, a 2007 national Scenic Byway Award recipient, leading efforts to successfully achieve All-American Road National Scenic Byway status for the National Road, the highest designation for a scenic byway, working to achieve 2003 Bicentennial Bridge status for the Blaine Bridge in Belmont County, writing articles on the Ohio National Road, published in Ohio Magazine and in Timeline in 2006, contributing author to the two volume The National Road and A Guide to the National Road, and helping to produce a traveling exhibit on the National Road that has appeared at the Ohio State House, the National Road Museum and numerous other venues.

Recognition of Glenn’s efforts included a preservation fund established in his name, the Glenn A. Harper Endowment for Preservation on the Ohio Historic National Road, a proclamation from Governor Ted Strickland and ten proclamations from the county commissioners of each of the counties the National Road traverses. If this wasn’t enough, the Mayor of Englewood declared May 26th 2009 Glenn Harper day!

Thank you for your interest in The Ohio Historical Society!

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