The History Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) will be traveling to two counties in Central Nebraska to raise awareness about historic preservation programs and to assist interested communities in implementing a historic preservation plan.

Representatives from History Nebraska will visit communities in Howard and Garfield counties to highlight preservation programs offered by the SHPO office.

The following locations will host the presentations, which are free and open to the public.

— Howard County, St. Paul Library, 1301 Howard Ave, St. Paul, 7 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13.

— Garfield County, Burwell Senior Citizens Center, 411 Grand Ave., Burwell, 7 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14.

Each county visit will include a historic survey of nearby communities to determine buildings and other structures of historic significance and integrity.

“This is the first step in developing a historic preservation plan,” said Kate Hewlings, survey coordinator for History Nebraska. “You can’t create a plan without knowing what is there, which is why these surveys exist.”

The survey work will primarily take place in towns and populated areas in each county. However, the public is encouraged to share information on rural locations they feel may be historically significant.

Surveyors will be looking at the exteriors of buildings and structures over 50 years old that still retain their historic character. Surveyors look at building materials, rooflines, doors, windows, chimneys, and other decorative details to tell the age of a building.

Historical research, which includes reviewing historic maps and written histories, gives surveyors additional clues on how and where to look within a county for historic properties and where old historic buildings may still exist.

Following the county survey, Hewlings said an array of historic preservation programs are available to communities to preserve their historic properties. “Communities can apply for National Register listings, pursue Certified Local Government status to be potentially eligible for preservation grants, and utilize the state and federal historic tax credit programs. But it all starts with these surveys,” she said.

For more information, contact Hewlings at kate.hewlings@nebraska.gov or (402) 471-4770.

The project is administered by History Nebraska’s State Historic Preservation Office. Funding, in part, is provided by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service.

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