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Frequently Asked Questions and Helpful Links

Preservation Resources

Q. Can I get my house listed on the National Register of Historic Places?
A. Possibly, the Massachusetts Secretary of State has published a two-page brochure titled “What You Need to Know about Listing on the National Register” to get started.
Once you’ve read that, contact the SHC for assistance in completing the application.

Q. Where can I find information on the Sandwich Archives?
A. Visit the Sandwich Public Library’s Archives page.

Q. How are Community Preservation Act funds used and who decides how they are used?
A. The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a state law designed to help communities plan ahead for sustainable growth. The CPA allows towns to levy a community-wide property tax surcharge of up to 3 percent for the purpose of creating a local Community Preservation Fund that can qualify for state matching funds. The Fund must be used to acquire and protect open space, preserve historic buildings and landscapes, and create and maintain affordable housing.

At the March 21, 2005 Special Town Meeting, the Town overwhelming voted to replace the existing Cape Cod Open Space Land Acquisition Program with the Community Preservation Act. In order to implement this Act, the Town established a Community Preservation Committee that will make recommendations to the Board of Selectmen and Town Meeting for the use of CPA funds.

The Sandwich Community Preservation Committee is comprised of four members at large appointed by the Board of Selectmen, one member of, and as designated by, the Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, Planning Board, Housing Authority, and Recreation Committee with initial staggered terms, and three years terms thereafter.

Q. How does a historic project qualify for funding from the Community Preservation Act?
A. Projects must meet a series of criteria to qualify for CPA funding. See this CPA Historic Flowchart for a brief view of project qualifications. Then visit communitypreservation.org for more details.

Q. Where can I find information on Sandwich’s many enjoyable museums?
A. Visit the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce.

Q. Where can I find the Sandwich Historic Preservation Plan of 2002?
A. Visit this link for the entire document in .pdf format.

Q. How was the Sandwich Historical Commission established?
A. The SHC is the local arm of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, established in 1963 * “to identify, evaluate, and protect important historical and archaeological assets of the Commonwealth.” *(MGL Ch. 9 Sections 27-32 enabling legislation)
The powers of the Sandwich Historical Commission are established by Massachusetts Title VII; Chapter 40; Section 8D Historical Commission; establishment; powers and duties

Q. Where can I find the registration forms on the three National Register Historic Districts in Sandwich?
A. They are right here: Jarvesville NHRD; Town Hall Square NHRD; Spring Hill NHRD

Q. Where can I go for more history of Sandwich links?
A. Don Bayley’s blog has an excellent list of SOURCES.

Q. I have more questions, who can I contact?
A. Email your questions to Terry Blake, blake.probate[at]gmail.com.

As a statewide advocacy leader, Preservation Massachusetts fields lots of questions every day, both in our office and in the field. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions and the answers that we hope will prove helpful to you and your preservation efforts.

Questions listed below:

  1. Where can I find money to help preserve a historic building in my town?
  2. How can I find a preservation expert or contractor?
  3. What resources exist for historic homeowners?
  4. I have a historic barn, what can I do with it?
  5. What exactly is the National Register of Historic Places and what does it mean for my house/building?
  6. What is the difference between a National Register Historic District and a Local Historic District?
  7. What is the Community Preservation Act?
  8. I’d like to get more involved with preservation in my community. What can I do?
  9. How can I learn more about historic preservation?
  10. I’m not sure of my issue; I just know I need preservation help!

1. Where can I find money to help preserve a historic building in my town?

There are a few sources of funding for historic buildings and landscapes in Massachusetts. Most are foundation grants and can vary in size and project type, from bricks and mortar to planning grants (see definitions below). Below is a list of general funding opportunities. Be sure to explore other regional and community foundations that may exist in your area. Be sure to thoroughly research each to ensure the project meets all eligibility requirements.

Funding for historic buildings and landscapes in Massachusetts:

  • Massachusetts Historical Commission
    • Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund (Project type: Bricks & Mortar only)
    • Survey & Planning Grants (Planning only)
  • Preservation Massachusetts “Mini-Grants” Program (Bricks & Mortar, Planning)
  • Community Preservation Act Funds (Bricks & Mortar, Planning, etc)
  • The National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • The 1776 Foundation (Bricks & Mortar only)

Other opportunities for funding:

  • The Massachusetts Cultural Council
  • Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities
  • Preserve America
  • Save America’s Treasures

Definitions:

  • Bricks & Mortar – Funds that can be used for physical restoration/rehabilitation work
  • Planning – Funds used for preservation planning/consultation/survey services

2. How can I find a preservation expert or contractor?

Preservation Massachusetts maintains a Consultant’s Directory, a listing of preservation professionals with a variety of skill sets from architectural history, preservation planning, to historic barns and burial ground restorations. Within this list you will find a number of experts to help you with your preservation questions or projects.

3. What resources exist for historic homeowners?

Unfortunately there are not a lot of monetary resources for private home owners. However, there is a wealth of information online about how to maintain and protect your historic home, including ways to “green” your house. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a number of tips on their website, as does the National Park Service. Historic New England has a membership program dedicated specifically for historic homeowners. Feel free to use Preservation Massachusetts’ Consultants’ Directory to get the expert advice you may need in order to keep your historic house intact for years to come!

4. I have a historic barn, what can I do with it?

Historic barns have come into the spotlight more over the past several years. Through the Preserve Mass Barns program, it is evident that numerous historic barns are threatened and many owners are unsure of where to turn for information and guidance. Limited funding opportunities exist, but visit the Preserve Mass Barns program section of this website for more Barn FAQ and great resources.

5. What exactly is the National Register of Historic Places and what does it mean for my house/building?

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of sites in the United States that are deemed worthy of preservation and cites the significance that the building, site or resource has on the community, the state and the nation. Listing on the National Register is achieved through a nomination process, overseen and administered in Massachusetts by the Massachusetts Historical Commission. Inclusion on the National Register is an honorary designation that allows the property to be eligible for historic tax credits and other funding opportunities. For more information on the National Register, what listing means and how to nominate a site, visit the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

For more information on other historic designations, you may want to research the following:

  • Local Historic Districts / National Register Historic Districts
  • Massachusetts Historic Landmarks
  • National Historic Landmarks

6. What is the difference between a National Register Historic District and a Local Historic District?

Though they may sound the same, there are important differences between National Register Districts and Local Historic Districts, in terms of protection, local oversight and design reviews. The Massachusetts Historical Commission works with both entities and has prepared an informative booklet explaining these differences.

7. What is the Community Preservation Act?

The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is statewide enabling legislation to allow cities and towns to exercise control over local planning decisions and provides new funding sources which can be used to address three core community concerns:

  • Acquisition and preservation of open space
  • Creation and support of affordable housing
  • Acquisition and preservation of historic buildings and landscapes

Communities that adopt CPA elect to raise taxes, which are then matched at some level by the state. This funding pool has enabled over 140 communities to secure valuable open space, preserve historic buildings and support quality affordable housing. CPA has proven to be a tremendously useful tool for historic preservation projects from Lenox to Wareham. For more information, visit the Community Preservation Coalition website.

8. I’d like to get more involved with preservation in my community. What can I do?

Join Preservation Massachusetts as a member and link yourself into the preservation community! Our local advocates are a vital part of our statewide efforts for you are the ones identifying the resources, taking on the challenges and preserving your community. Our e-newsletter, events and programs will give you the resources you need to carry out preservation in your community.

Getting involved with a local historical commission is a great first step. Visit local historical societies, especially if they own buildings, volunteer for a local preservation non-profits, etc. Check out our “Steps to Successful Advocacy” pdf for other ways in which you can become part of preserving the past for our collective future.

9. How can I learn more about historic preservation?

Education is always ongoing, for every preservationist. The internet offers a myriad of sites and organizations working in the preservation field. Preservation Massachusetts offers a variety of traveling preservation workshops that are designed to help educate communities about historic preservation, from basic identification to more advanced National Register Nominations and implementing Community Preservation Act preservation projects. We generally host 3-4 of these workshops annually across the state, as well as promoting other preservation or historically themed conferences happening in all parts of Massachusetts. For more information or to find out how to get a workshop in your area, contact us at 617-723-3383.

10. I’m not sure of my issue; I just know I need preservation help!

Preservation Massachusetts is the statewide advocacy organization for preservation efforts. We are here to provide information, guidance and the resources necessary to help our communities undertake preservation efforts. In partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we have developed a Circuit Rider program that places three professionals right in the field, working with communities on issues ranging from basic to very sophisticated. If you are unsure of where to go or what to ask, call a Circuit Rider today!