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Federal grant for historic farm preservation

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  • Federal grant for historic farm preservation

    So the exciting news is that DH and I are 95% sure we will be the new owners of a farm that happens to also be on the National Register of Historic places!!

    The farm includes a large cobblestone house built in 1837 with an attached carriage house and a large freestanding barn along the back of the property. The house and carriage house have been completely restored in the past 10 years, absolutely gorgeous. The barn has gone through some changes over its 175 years of existence and is a little rough on the exterior. Structurally, it's a beast! Hand hewn beams and support posts that are 15"+ in diameter, some look like they just chopped down a large tree and made it fit as the bark is still on it! From what we've seen through internet searches, the barn originally had a gambrel roof. Presently it has a gable style metal roof. Still 2 stories, with the upper loft area looking like it was used most recently as a hayloft. Some concrete floor in areas, other parts are dirt. A small single milking parlor is on the front, looks like a later addition. Obviously, it was a dairy farm at some point, but we've also heard that sheep were traditionally kept on the property as well.

    This is apparently a picture from 1941:
    https://plus.google.com/photos/10911...14853952705778

    So the barn is servicable, but is going to require some work (which DH and I are happy to do!). However, we would love to restore it to its previous glory, aka require serious $$$$. Since the property is already on the Historic Register, we began brainstorming about applying for a federal grant to assist us in the restoration of the barn. I've done some pretty basic research this morning and our realtor said he would look into it as well, it looks like we meet the qualifications. Has anyone gone this route or been a part of the process for a historic restoration?

  • #2
    Since your property is on the register of historic places, does this restrict what you can do to the property? I have no experience with this type of thing but my understanding is that you are limited to what you can do with the structure and the property. Before you buy you might want to look into this.

    Comment


    • #3
      Being on the list denotes "a list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation"


      There are to best of my knowledge no Federal grants available to individuals, however there are tax credits available (well, at least until the end of this year):

      "Heritage Preservation Services (a different division of the National Park Service, Cultural Resources Program) does have a tax credit program that may be of assistance to you."

      go to this link most of your questions have already been asked and answered

      http://www.nps.gov/nr/faq.htm

      From my personal experence we rebuilt a log cabin that had been built in 1827
      and if I was faced with the same again.... four or five presidents would have had to lived there before I would ever attempt to do it again. It was hell, the logs were huge, we had to have a crane to dismantle the thing then re-assemble it and what ever the "estimate" was to do anything turned out to be a quarter or a fifth of the actual cost and at the end it was still an 1827 log cabin.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by clanter View Post
        There are to best of my knowledge no Federal grants available to individuals, however there are tax credits available (well, at least until the end of this year):
        .
        I'm actually starting to learn more about this now as I have a stone cottage on my property that is pre 1830 that has architectural significance and may be eligible for the historic registry as well.

        I'm in the early stages, and located in VA, but apparently there are grants available to restore these properties. As such, I don't know the restrictions yet they place on the property, however, in my case, my lot is not huge and there is not much else I would do to change the cottage other than interior work. I know I could potentially get money to fix it up in the form of a grant OR... if I use my own funds, I will get a tax credit up to 25% for 10 years and will have virtually no restrictions. I don't have enough funds right now to do the interior updates it needs so am hoping there aren't too many restrictions and will be eligible for the money...

        Would love to hear about your journey...I'm hopig to know more about my property after the first of the year. Sadly my house would have also been included, but it burned down about 40 years ago and they could not restore the stonework...

        Good luck!
        For things to do in Loudoun County, visit: www.365thingstodoloudoun.com

        Comment


        • #5
          It is g.e.o.r.g.e.o.u.s - love hearig about these old places and their owners' work on them.
          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

          Comment


          • #6
            I restore old houses for a living, but only within a 10 mile radius of our home. There may be some local grant available, but there will be all sorts of restrictions on what you can do to and with the structure. For instance, asphalt shingles are a no-go, before we even get to the garage doors. The historical societies that are usually in charge of such trusts will have their own ideas. I know of one where cedar shakes, as we know them today are not accepted, but requirements were to use hand split White Oak, which are about 3 times the cost of cedar.


            If a house has been lived in, like yours appears to have been, there has almost always been damage done to the original structure and character of the house.
            Age alone simply doesn't qualify the structure. It needs to be architecturally unique enough, or have some valuable historical past, compared to others in the same area to be considered for any grant funds these days that I'm aware of.

            I don't know of any federal (or even state) grants available these days. You can get a tax credit for the cubic dollars required to be spent if you are going to make money with the place. Sorry, but it looks like to me you will simply be wasting your time searching for grant money. But to be sure, ask someone local who writes grants successfully for their advice and take it.
            Last edited by Tom King; Dec. 17, 2012, 04:58 PM.
            www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

            Comment


            • #7
              As Tom said, restrictions.

              My family invested/rehabbed some of these things 30 some years ago. I would never again touch one with a 10 foot pole.

              Restrictions galore! If a section fails, like say a corner of your stone barn decides to collapse, you may be legally liable to restore it to original condition. And they mean pronto. Plus, no sheet rock. Must do lath & plaster like originally in the property. Blah, blah, blah. Some of these places you cannot blow your nose w/o permission in writing, from Washington DC no less!
              "Police officers are public servants. Not James Bond with a license to kill."

              Comment


              • #8
                i came back because I forgot one important part.

                Once you have jumpe through all the hoops to satisfy the people responsible for granting some of their money, the tax break you get is only if you are making money on the facility. I know of one around here that qualifies. They run a bed and breakfast and rent out the house for weddings, and do claim the tax credit. It's still far from a money making proposition for them. They spent a million dollars and might make 15,000 a year on the place, but it's what they do for fun, and they could afford it.
                Last edited by Tom King; Dec. 17, 2012, 04:59 PM.
                www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Congratulations on your upcoming purchase! What a beautiful home (I took the liberty of snooping around your pics!). I'm working on my masters in Historic Preservation here in Michigan, and would like to point you in the right direction for getting the answers you will need when you become the proud owners of this gorgeous farm.

                  Please start with your state historic preservation office for answers. Here's their link:http://nysparks.com/shpo/.

                  Also, a structure being listed on the National Register simply means it's on the register - it DOESN'T restrict your ability to alter the structure. The local historic societies - IF your property falls within one - are where the restrictions come in. Call the local historic society or museum to get information about what historic organizations and associations are in your area. They will also be able to give all kinds of very cool information about your farm, its former occupants, etc...

                  Above all else, get ahold of that National Register nomination! It will be a gold-mine of information. PM me for more historic preservation information if you'd like, and have a blast in your new historic space!
                  Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hope you get it. It's amazing living in a place with real history behind it, it really is... BUT... get used to people driving by really slowly looking :=)
                    Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
                    http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Our family farm has a NY state grant that we used to improve drainage and re-roof etc. When these big barns are no longer earning teir keep, they can be a big financial burden.

                      Our obligation is for 15 years. The people of the state of NY have a vested interested in our barn and it is the state's view that they invested that money so they could continue to look at it for at least another 15 years. The way it was. Which means no changes until then either in visible construction or usage of the property. Or we pay back what the state invested. If we were to sell in that time frame, the property would come with a lien.

                      So yes, check out the legal obligations as far as what you can change and not change and what you can use the property and buildings for.
                      Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Man, there is so much misinformation on this page my head is spinning!

                        (My house is listed on the National Register, and it is within a historic district listed on the National Register).

                        1. THERE ARE NO RESTRICTIONS ON YOU. You can tear the darn house down if you want, paint it purple, put up vinyl siding or whatever! The only restrictions are LOCAL ones, if there are any. Not state, not federal.

                        So -- look into local law to see if there are any restrictions; the answer in western NY is probably not. (I know in my town, 100 miles north of NYC there are zero restrictions).

                        2. There are no federal or state grants. The tax credit referred to is for *commercial* structures, unfortunately, not residential ones.

                        3. The NY barn grant program referred to by SmartAlex does not exist any more, I believe. (If I am wrong, tell me -- I want to apply for one!).

                        Having said all that -- I love old houses! OP, your farm is gorgeous.

                        And allpurpose is right -- start with SHPO (State Office of Historic Preservation).

                        Good luck with your new farm!
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                        www.PeonyVodka.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
                          3. The NY barn grant program referred to by SmartAlex does not exist any more, I believe. (If I am wrong, tell me -- I want to apply for one!).
                          It does not exist anymore. It went out with that govenor's administration. We got in on the last year of it.
                          Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
                            Man, there is so much misinformation on this page my head is spinning!

                            (My house is listed on the National Register, and it is within a historic district listed on the National Register).

                            1. THERE ARE NO RESTRICTIONS ON YOU. You can tear the darn house down if you want, paint it purple, put up vinyl siding or whatever! The only restrictions are LOCAL ones, if there are any. Not state, not federal.

                            So -- look into local law to see if there are any restrictions; the answer in western NY is probably not. (I know in my town, 100 miles north of NYC there are zero restrictions).

                            2. There are no federal or state grants. The tax credit referred to is for *commercial* structures, unfortunately, not residential ones.

                            3. The NY barn grant program referred to by SmartAlex does not exist any more, I believe. (If I am wrong, tell me -- I want to apply for one!).

                            Having said all that -- I love old houses! OP, your farm is gorgeous.

                            And allpurpose is right -- start with SHPO (State Office of Historic Preservation).

                            Good luck with your new farm!
                            She said it was already on the Register. Of course there are no restrictions for a place once it is on the Register. The only grants I know of these days are local ones provided for by family trusts. The original question was about getting grant money. To qualify for such grants, there are all sorts of restrictions. I start to work on one 1784 project tomorrow because of one such grant which is county specific for one family trust.
                            www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              http://www.preservationnation.org/in...ge/barn-again/

                              Check out Barn Again! It's all about preserving agricultural buildings.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                What SMF11 post # 12 is correct. A property that is listed on the National Historic Register has little to no restrictions on what the owner can do with it. However it does restrict the property from being condemned or taken by eminent domain either by Federal, State or Local government to put a highway, road, or public building on. Other then that all you get is bragging rights, a very nice plaque and a listing in the National Historic Register. We have a “William Penn” land grant property with 110 acres left from the original 500 acre grant. We also have the original deed signed by Penn. The original part of the house is a very large log structure built in 1691. The bank barn was built in 1700 according to a local historian with a very large forebay added in the early 1800s. It’s a beauty if you are into that sort of thing. Don’t think much work had been done since being built when we bought the property. Being land rich and horse poor I have had to do the majority of the work for years and will takes years to get it the way I want. But if the “big horse” should come our way I promised my wife I will hire people to finish it up and take a very long vacation.
                                As far as grants I agree with others there’s not much out there other then some tax benefits. I am not sure if they are worth the hassle of paper work to go after. Before Bush 2 there were some pretty good grants available but they were cut. As others have said there maybe State and or Local grants.

                                Now, if the property falls under what is generally known/called as an “Historic Overlay District” then you will have to deal with restrictions on what you can and cannot do with the structures on the property. Historic overlay districts are created by local towns, cities etc. Each having their own rules and regs drawn up and governed by The Historic Preservation Commission. They generally only cover the outside of the house. Some times only what can be seen from the street but others the complete outside of the building. Before any work can be done and a lot of places that includes painting you have to apply for a permit. Some places can be ridiculously restrictive. I am all for Historic Preservation and feel strongly that anyone that buys an historic property should understand that yes they are the owners but they are also the care takers of history. I was very active with Historic Preservation when I lived in Lexington KY and restored a number of downtown properties as a side line. I had my problems with the “Commission” and yes some of the required paper work and permits was a hassle. They tried to fine me for tearing down a rusted 20 year old little “Sears” storage shed with out a permit! But by and large I totally agreed with the process having seen what was being done to beautiful buildings through out the downtown. Mostly by slumlords before we fought and pushed for Historic preservation. When I moved to downtown Lexington in the middle 80’s no one wanted to live there, mostly student slum housing and section 8 properties. Not much in the way of downtown restaurants, bars, clubs, art galleries, etc. When I left in 2005 downtown was the place to live eat and party. All because of historic preservation. And property values soared.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  This is a very cool property! Congrats

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Congratulations, and what fun!

                                    I've got a master's in Historic Preservation, but you've already gotten some great advice from other posters. I will echo to start with your state's State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). They will have a copy of your soon-to-be property's National Register of Historic Places nomination. Hopefully the nomination will have a good deal of information in it and will tell you why it was added to the NRHP (four criteria - A, B, C, D...you will learn more about this ). Depending on when the nomination was done, though, can have an impact on how good/not good the nomination is. I've read A LOT of nominations from the late 60s (when the NRHP program was introduced) that are so thin on descriptions to the point on not being very useful.

                                    Your SHPO office could be the best source for any grants that are available to you. My state's SHPO does do some yearly grants and also has staff members who do outreach. Also check for information at your local and state historical societies.

                                    Depending on how much work needs to be done, you may want to consult with a historical architect to guide you in the process. Properties of that age have certain oddities to them.

                                    Good luck and have fun!!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by gumtree View Post
                                      We have a “William Penn” land grant property with 110 acres left from the original 500 acre grant. We also have the original deed signed by Penn. The original part of the house is a very large log structure built in 1691. The bank barn was built in 1700 according to a local historian with a very large forebay added in the early 1800s. It’s a beauty if you are into that sort of thing.
                                      PICTURES!!!! We need them!

                                      Also, tiny point, any project that is slated for something like 500 feet of a property listed on the National Register gets an extra layer of review (at least in NY) and it is a factor that local Planning Boards can take into account when working with adjoining properties. (It doesn't stop anything, but might, for example, mean that a Planning Board requires historically-sympathetic fencing for a next door property -- split rail instead of chain link).
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