The Lorain County Preservation Network consists of organizations and individuals who work to build a preservation ethic among Lorain County property owners and public officials. Network members seek to advance the knowledge and skills of all network members to promote the preservation of historic structures as a significant component of Lorain County's future.
LCPN meets the fourth (4th) Wednesday of January, April, July, and October, usually a brown bag lunch from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. at The Lorain County History Center (284 Washington Ave, Elyria, OH 44035). For more information, call 440-322-3341.
The original funding from the Lorain County Commissioners ended in 2005. We have been able to continue because the Community Foundation of Lorain County has provided funding every year since then. We have been grateful for this funding each year. A huge thank-you is extended to the Foundation staff and Trustees.
The Landmark Program was launched in 2006. Staff is always able to assist in the completion of an application or in conducting a preliminary review for possible eligibility. If your home, farm, or business has a story to tell about local or county history give Bill Bird a call at 440-322-3341.
There are a number of resources you can use to determine the age, identification of the builder of your house is more difficult and often dependent upon luck.Two principle sources of information are available: land title records in the first floor office of the County Recorder at county administration building at 226 Middle Avenue, Elyria; and tax records at The Gates Building, 320 North Gateway Blvd, Elyria.
Any information you can bring to the county records about past owners and dates of their ownership will make your research much easier. You may want to begin by talking to neighbors or asking the seller of your house. Other resources include city directories and plat maps. You can search city directories for Lorain, Elyria, Oberlin or Avon at the LCHS library, and many are held at local libraries. These publications listed addresses and the names and occupations of the occupants, not always the homeowner. Another resource at the LCHS Hick's Library is plat maps. These can often be helpful, particularly in the rural areas.
At the county office the staff can be very helpful, so do not hesitate to ask. What you want to do is trace title on your home. Since 1973 the records have been computerized, otherwise you are working in handwritten books. The earliest owner you know and their dates of ownership are where you begin; when they bought the house they were the grantee so that is where you start your search. From there you are working backwards, owner by owner.
One very difficult issue can be the distinction between property ownership and house construction. The original house on your property may have burned or been demolished, if so neighborhood or family stories and newspaper research at the library can provide that information. Knowledge of basic house styles and their periods of construction is also helpful.
The first purchaser of your property probably bought an empty lot and construction happened after purchase. Here your only real tools are length of ownership and sale price. If someone bought the lot and sold it within two years at a price significantly above that of the original purchase, it is fairly safe to assume they built the house.
Other resources that may be valuable are at the Elyria Public Library, many of which are also available at the Lorain County Historical Society:
Other books in the Elyria Public Library's Ohio Room (located at the Washington Avenue branch) that could provide help are:
The Chronicle-Telegram is on microfilm and can be useful but a specific date is needed as there is no index. Articles on homes are few and far between.
The search is rarely easy but always worthwhile. Putting together the history of your home adds personal value to it and enhances your ability to adapt it to contemporary needs. Good luck.
What is the National Register? Can I get my house onto the Register? What will it mean if my house is listed?
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States Department of the Interior's list of properties recognized as worthy of preservation for their local, state or national significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering or culture. The National Park Service establishes the guidelines and standards for the National Register, and the program is administered by each state historic preservation office.
There are three evaluation standards that properties (building, structures, sites, objects and districts) must meet to be listed on the National Register: the property must be 50 years of age, retain its basic integrity, and meet one of the criteria for significance. The criteria for significance are:
You can receive a short two-page preliminary questionnaire from the Ohio Historic Preservation Office at the Ohio Historical Society. A copy of the form is available here at the LCHS. After you complete and submit the form you will receive useful information about your property's potential for listing and what research you need to pursue.
Listing on the National Register entitles you to place a plaque on your home to identify it as a property significant in American history. An income-producing property, listed on the National Register either individually or as part of a historic district, may be eligible for a 20% federal tax credit if the rehabilitation work is certified to meet the Secretary of the Interior's standards.
If your National Register listed property becomes involved in any project that has federal funding, such as rehabilitation as a low-income housing project, it will need to go through federal review to try to avoid adverse impacts.
Listing on the National Register does not prevent the owner from taking any specific action with their building, such as remodeling or repairing. The state historic preservation office will, upon request, provide you with information on how to perform your rehabilitation while respecting its historic integrity; the LCHS also has much of this information available.
For further information contact LCHS's preservation staff or visit the Ohio Historical Society's Historic Preservation Office web site: http://www.ohiohistory.org/resource/histpres/.
Currently there are no programs to provide financial assistance to rehabilitate homes in Lorain County. Cuyuhoga County has a program called the Heritage Home Loan Program that offers low-interest loans combined with free technical assistance that can include the writing of specifications for work. Talk to LCHS preservation staff or the executive director, Bill Bird, about efforts to initiate this program in Lorain County.
Currently, the only plaque programs available in Lorain County are the National Register of Historic Places, Lorain County Preservation Network Landmark Program and Oberlin's Historic Landmark program. LCHS has plans to initiate such a program in the near future; please inform staff of your interest and any thoughts you have about the development of this program.