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The National Register of Historic Places 

The National Register is the nation's list of historically significant cultural resources. Maintained by the National Park Service, it recognizes buildings, archeological sites and other historic resources that are significant not only nationally, but also regionally and locally as well. As of this writing, there are over a dozen historic districts and over 75 individual properties in Madison listed on the National Register.  

Please note that there are two types of historic districts in Madison, the local districts discussed elsewhere on this site and the National Register districts discussed here.  Although some local districts are also listed in the National Register, the program requirements of the two programs are not the same and there are some differences in boundaries. 

The National Register Historic Districts in Madison that contain privately-owned buildings are (for a map of each district, click on the district name):

 

*           East Dayton Street (description)

*           East Wilson Street (description) 

            *           Fourth Lake Ridge (description)

*           Jenifer-Spaight (description)  

            *           Langdon Street (description) 

            *           Mansion Hill (description)

            *           Marquette Bungalows (description)

            *           Nakoma (description)

            *           Orton Park (description)

            *           Sherman Avenue (description)

            *           Simeon Mills (description)

            *           University Heights (description)

            *           West Lawn Heights (description)

            *           Wingra Park (description)

The major effect of listing on the National Register is financial incentives in the form of two kinds of tax credits:  one for the rehabilitation of income-producing property and one for the rehabilitation of single-family residences (see below). 

In Madison, the Department of Planning and Development has a policy that historic preservation staff review building permits for exterior work on National Register and National Register historic district properties.  The staff review is intended to provide advice if proposed work would harm the historic character of the neighborhood, but the staff does not have the authority to approve, deny or delay such work.

Another effect of listing on the National Register is a 30-day delay of demolition. This delay is intended to give the State Historical Society time to photograph the building before it is demolished. If your property is listed on the National Register or located in the National Register Historic District, make sure to call the Landmarks Commission staff at least 30 days before you wish to demolish it. The City will take care of notifying the Historical Society.

Finally, there is a bricks-and-mortar preservation grant program set up for National Register properties. It has not been funded for some years and appropriations in the near future seem unlikely.

For more information on the National Register, call the Historic Preservation Division of the State Historical Society at 264-6500, or visit their web site at http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/hp. 

The alderperson for the district or the property owner may appeal the decision of the Landmarks Commission regarding demolitions. The appeal must be filed within ten days of the Landmarks Commission's decision. The Common Council would then hold a public hearing and could, by a two-thirds vote, overrule the Landmarks Commission. In order to do this, the Council would have to find that failure to grant a "certificate of appropriateness" would preclude any and all reasonable use of the property or that it would cause serious hardship for the owner, provided that the hardship was not self-created (for instance, demolition by neglect).

Tax Credits for the Rehabilitation of Single-Family Residences

Owners of single-family houses that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places or that are determined by the State Historical Society to be individually eligible for the State Register of Historic Places or that contribute to the historic character of a National Register historic district, are eligible for a 25% state income tax credit on the costs of rehabilitation.  There are several conditions for receiving this credit:

*          The total cost of the work must exceed  $10,000.

*           The plans for the project must be approved by the State Historical Society as being compatible with the historic character of the house prior to the beginning of work.  There is no retro-active approval. 

*           Eligible activities include:

                Exterior rehabilitation

                Structural work

                 Heating and air conditioning

                 Electrical work, but not including new fixtures

    Plumbing work, including lead pipe replacement but not including new fixtures

*           The owner must agree to have subsequent alterations approved by the Wisconsin Historical Society as being historically compatible for a period of five years.

For more information see the Wisconsin Historical Society's web site at http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/hp/architecture/tax_credit.asp. 

Tax Credits for Rehabilitation of  Income-Producing Property

Owners of income-producing properties are eligible for a 20% federal income tax credit on the costs of rehabilitation and an additional 5% state income tax credit.  In order to qualify, a building must be listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or must contribute to the historic character of a National Register district.  The rehabilitation must be certified by the National Park Service as being compatible with the historic character of the building. In addition, the costs of rehabilitation must be greater than the value of the building as computed for income tax purposes.

For more information see the Wisconsin Historical Society's web site at http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/hp/architecture/iptax_credit.asp.  

 

CONTACT:
City of Madison
Department of Planning & Community & Economic Development
608-266-4635