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Wayland’s downtown district wins Michigan historic designation

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has announced that Wayland and two other downtown commercial districts have been added in the National Register of Historic Places.

Wayland and downtown districts in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Ishpeming Main Street Historic District and the Negaunee Downtown Historic District were selected.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, in a prepared statement, said, “Pure Michigan is home to so many historic, beautiful communities and I am proud of Ishpeming, Negaunee, and Wayland for being added to the National Register of Historic Places. “This designation will help local economies in and around these three downtowns and help us continue growing Michigan’s economy, creating good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for working families.”

The three areas combined include 135 buildings and structures, of which 100 are considered to contribute to the areas’ historic character.

Michigan State Historic Preservation Officer Mark A. Rodman said, “Many benefits come with listing a community’s historic commercial core in the National Register. Chief among them is access to historic preservation tax credits, which can be applied to reduce the long-term costs of rehabbing historic buildings. “Listing also becomes a point of pride for residents, and can be a driver for economic activity and growing heritage tourism.”

The MEDC announcement said the Wayland Downtown Historic District is a small “four corners” district centered on the intersection of Main and Superior streets and radiating out from a half to a full block in each direction.

Unique within the district is the 1899-built Richardsonian Romanesque-style Henika District Library in the 100 block of South Main Street, which, after careful expansion and sensitive restoration, continues to serve as a central community gathering place.

Wayland Main Street/DDA Executive Director Teryl Shields said, “Historic preservation has been an essential function for Wayland Main Street during our 12-year history, with over 40 buildings in our eight-block district receiving façade or building restoration work. Having downtown Wayland listed in the National Register of Historic Places is not only an honor and something of which to be proud, but it also continues to offer our building owners a further economic incentive to continue to rehabilitate and maintain their buildings. We’re excited to share our town’s rich history by continuing to preserve its lovely historic buildings.”

Administered by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, the National Register of Historic Places is the United States federal government’s official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historic significance.

More than 95,000 properties across the country, including nearly 2,000 in Michigan, have been listed in the National Register since the program began in the 1960’s.

The National Register is a program of the National Park Service and administered by the states.

2 Comments

  • It is very heart-warming to know that our beautiful, historically designated library now sits within an entire historic downtown.

  • Downtown Wayland is now a “Historic Place.” And cars that we lusted after as teenagers in high school are now on display in the Henry Ford Museum. What’s next for us, David, grey hair, aches & pains, and remember the good old days? Oh wait…

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