may fit as historical district
Vasto and Ivan
Would downtown Platte City be eligible for designation
as an historical district?
According to a representative of the Missouri
Department of Natural Resources, it just might.
The topic has come up for public discussion over
the past week. Keith Lay, traffic studies engineer
for the Missouri Department of Transportation
(MoDOT) said that at a meeting with representatives
of Platte City and some members of the downtown
business community he offered signage that would
point to a historical district if the town was
interested in pursuing such an idea, but said
that most people in the meeting seemed cool to
I kind of threw that out there, but I didnt
get much of a response.
City Administrator Keith Moody told The Landmark
that he has never been pressed by the community
to look into a historical designation for the
downtown district and was unsure of the exact
requirements needed to attain the designation.
Moody said the city would not stand in the way
of individual property owners who wanted to be
placed on the register.
You dont have to get the approval
of the city, Moody said.
Diane Pepper of the Platte County Historical
Society said she was unaware of any past efforts
to place the downtown district on the historic
register as well.
There are several ways a district can be
placed on the historic register, said Tiffany
Patterson, national historic register coordinator
for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The preferred method is where the city
conducts a survey of the area they wish to preserve
and ask themselves if it's historic and for what
Patterson said that, in general, the area must
be at least 50 years old and look as it did back
then. Patterson, who is based in Jefferson City,
said she was familiar with Platte City.
Platte City is a county seat and it has
the courthouse square, Patterson said. If
it looks pretty much like it did 50 years ago,
then its eligible.
Patterson said that being placed on the register
would make the area eligible for grant money,
but would not mean that property owners couldnt
upkeep their property in any way they see fit.
Thats one of the biggest myths about
the register, Patterson explained. The
person who owns the property is free to sell or
maintain their property in any way they want.
Patterson said that whenever you hear about ordinances
preventing certain owners from making changes
to their property, they are mandated from a local
level, such as the district in Weston.
Patterson put it in better perspective.
Missouri has more than 20,000 buildings
on the historic register. Including myself, we
have two national register staffers. We would
never be able to inspect every building. Its
not practical. The government didnt establish
the register to tell people what to do with their
ALREADY ON HISTORIC REGISTER?
Local historian Shirley Kimsey has copies of documents
pertaining to several downtown office buildings
that were gathered and sent to the Office of Historic
Preservation by the Platte City Study Club in
1979. Those documents, filled out by the individual
owners of some of the buildings, included information
about the age of the structure and legal description
of the property, among other things.
It is believed those documents would have qualified
many of the downtown buildings to be placed on
the historic register, but Kimsey says she is
unaware if the area was ever officially labeled
an historic district.