You Asked: Historic Houses

We asked the town planner your questions about historic houses including what makes a house historic?


Town Planner Pete Kane answered two questions that emerged from Monday's post about a plan to propose a historic district in Swampscott.

The proposal, to designate areas including parts of Humphrey Street as a historic district — with protections to prevent buildings from being leveled —  is scheduled to go to Town Meeting in the spring.

Here are the questions, followed by the town planner's answers.

1. What is the criteria for considering a house as historic?

Generally the rule is 75 years or older. There is then another layer of criteria to then determine whether it is historically significant which is defined in our Demolition Bylaw. The creation of a Local Historic District does not necessarily mean that all buildings within the district have to be 75 years or older. The area/neighborhood itself could be historic (due to age, importance in the development of the community, etc), but some of the structures may be newer. This could be because a home was torn down and replaced, or the property was created long ago but not built on until recently.

2. Does anyone know how the completed historical inventories can be accessed? Are they in the library?

The property inventories are available through the Massachusetts Historical Commission and Mass Cultural Resources online which can be accessed here: http://mhc-macris.net/Towns.aspx?Page=towns.asp

Mark Chulsky January 30, 2013 at 01:26 PM
Thank you, Peter and Terry, I checked out the online resource and found errors in the inventory. Could the errors create problems in future? Whom should I contact for corrections?


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