Spencer building listed on National Register of Historic Places

Posted by mw on March 9th, 2010 8:15 am

It’s official. Spencer’s former high school and middle school building at 104 E. Fourth St. is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Administered by the National Park Service, this program is the U.S. government’s official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation.

The National Register designation also makes property owners eligible for tax incentives for expenses incurred while preserving the approved properties.

The Spencer property was purchased in April 1912 and the Spencer High School building was constructed on it in 1914. At the time, it was considered a state-of-the-art building.

While attempts centered around the building’s architectural and historical significance were made a few years ago, local Historic Preservation Commission members were told by reviewers that the building — specifically its windows — had been altered too much and it would not qualify to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places as they considered attempting to.

Grant writer Sheriffa Jones, a local architectural historian, took a different approach with her application.

She began researching for the most recently submitted, and approved, 48-page application in October 2007, when a shorter form was submitted to the State Historic Preservation office. It was returned with comments suggesting Spencer’s site would be eligible based on what Jones had already written.

In 2008, after being hired by Community Housing Initiatives (CHI) to write the National Register nomination, Jones began expanding her research to prove that the building was eligible for such a designation. She opted to focus on women, who played a large role in passing a bond issue for the school to be built.

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