Downtown Forest Grove may soon be a historic place
Forest Grove's downtown historic district is taking a big step toward reality.
Members of the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation voted June 19 to nominate the 9.2-acre commercial district to the National Register of Historic Places. The district covers most of the downtown area between Pacific Avenue and Main Street, 21st Avenue on the north and Ash Street to the east.
The district's nomination will be forwarded to the National Park Service's Keeper of the National Register for review. The process could take several months.
If the district is named to the national history list, property owners could be eligible for tax abatement or grants to improve and renovate buildings.
Nearly 40 buildings are inside the district. Many of the one- and two-story buildings were constructed between 1890 and 1990, according to an 82-page nomination report by architectural historian Diane J. Painter of Spokane. A majority were built during the end of the 19th century and the first three decades of the 20th century.
Most of the buildings still in use today were built during the 1920s, according to Painter's report. Two downtown buildings in the district are already named to the National Register of Historic Places. The Woods & Caples General Store, 2020 Main St., was added to the history list in December 1985. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1904 Pacific Ave., was added to the list in January 1994.
Forest Grove city planners and others have worked on the possible national register nomination for more than a year. The official process began in January 2019, when the City Council approved a grant application to pay for the extensive nomination report.
The downtown historic district would be eligible for the national register as a "cohesive commercial district that represents the business history of Forest Grove," Painter wrote in the report. The district "embodies the distinctive characteristics of commercial development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Forest Grove," she wrote.
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