Doing work in Dayton’s Bluff Historic District

Are you living inside the Dayton's Bluff Historic District? If you are, you should read this. The map below (more clearly presented at http://www.daytonsbluff.org/History/HistoricDistrict/HistoricDistrictMap.html) shows the boundaries. If you're not sure whether or not your home is included, there will be information at the end of this article to help you out.

For the next several months, many people or their landlords may be making some alterations to houses and apartments. If these are inside of the district, all exterior work needs to conform to a set of guidelines that are designed to help the area maintain its historic character.

As the city guidelines put it, "all work should be of a character and quality that maintains the distinguishing features of the building and the environment." Also, "removal or alteration of distinctive architectural features should be avoided."

For instance, original windows should be repaired or, if they are badly deteriorated, window sizes and shapes should be maintained. The original roof-line of structures, and other elements should be maintained.

If you are doing fence work, existing historic fences of metal or wood should be repaired and conserved whenever possible. Cyclone fences should not be installed in front yards or in the front half of side yards. These are just a few examples of what needs to be considered.

There are people who can help. If you are doing work in any historic district, it is best to contact the staff of St. Paul's Heritage Preservation Commission and ask them for suggestions. They are quite willing to work with people and suggest the best approach and what materials are appropriate. And their services are free of charge.

It's better to ask ahead of time to avoid having to go make changes after the fact. In the long run, your house will likely be worth more if you work to maintain its historic character and you will be helping in the improvement of the neighborhood.

To find out if you are in the Dayton's Bluff Historic District, you can call community organizer Karin DuPaul at 651-772-2075. To contact the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission call Amy Spong or Christine Boulware at 651-266-9078. You may also send emails to amy [dot] spong [at] ci [dot] stpaul [dot] mn [dot] us.