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The Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review held its regular quarterly meeting at the Kansas State Historical Society on August 26, 2006. The board nominated seven properties to the National Register of Historic Places and six properties to the Register of Historic Kansas Places. Among sites noted were three Topeka sites:

Gem Building, 506-510 SW 10th , Topeka, Shawnee Co.
Although apartment buildings were prevalent in large metropolitan areas beginning in the late nineteenth century, they were not commonly constructed in Kansas until the 1910s and 1920s. By this time, apartments had evolved from tenements designed for maximum occupancy of the urban poor in high-density metropolitan areas to efficient and attractively designed buildings for a growing class of urban professionals. Built in 1928, the Gem Building in downtown Topeka is significant as a good local example of an early twentieth century apartment building. The building was designed by Topeka architect Charles Cuthbert and cost $80,000 to construct. Its location on the fringes between Topeka’s expanding commercial and governmental district to the east and the growing residential district to the west uniquely situated it to serve multiple uses. The building was constructed by the proprietors of the Gem Grocery and Meat Market to house their business and families, and also to subsidize their income.

Matrot Castle, 6425 SW Huntoon, Topeka, Shawnee Co.
Seraphin Matrot, who fled France after the Franco-Prussian War in the early 1870s, designed and built a French-inspired Chateauesque castle west of Topeka. Matrot planted and operated a vineyard on the grounds – his choice of the wine business in Kansas was a tough economic one as Kansas had voted for prohibition in 1880. Oral histories suggest that Matrot built the castle in 1883-1886 with assistance from area Native Americans using local materials. The castle represents a restrained version of the Chateauesque style popular in grander homes during the late 19^th century. The twin turrets, pointed arch windows, vertical emphasis, high-peaked hipped roof, and massive brick construction are elements of the style found on the Matrot Castle.

Sells Brothers Building, 303-305 S. Kansas Ave., Topeka, Shawnee Co.
Four brothers, known for their property investments and as the owners of a traveling circus company, constructed the building at 303 and 305 S. Kansas Avenue in 1883. The two-story brick commercial building is one of the few remaining Late Victorian era buildings in this section of Kansas Avenue. Many commercial and industrial businesses have operated out of this building including furniture and appliance sales, barrel manufacturing, auto sales, an undertaking business, and most recently an electrical supply shop. The street-level storefront was altered in 1956, but the second floor still retains many of its Victorian-era details including the decorative metal cornice and the brick and stonework. The front-facing second story windows were replaced in the 1950s. Plans are underway to return those windows to their original design.

See complete August 2006 nomination list

See also: May 2006 nomination list

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Ritchie House featured in AP article! —530/2006

The Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review held its regular Dillon House, 404 W. 9th, Topekaquarterly meeting at the Kansas History Center on February 18, 2006. The board nominated thirteen properties to the National Register of Historic Places, among them the Dillon House, Topeka, Shawnee County. Located at 404 West Ninth Street in Topeka, the Dillon House is a three story Italian Renaissance Revival house constructed from 1911 to 1913. The yellow brick house has sculptural ornamentation and classical details throughout. The house is one of the last remaining important architectural structures from the pre-World War I time period of Topeka. The Dillon House is nominated for its association with Hiram Price Dillon, a locally prominent attorney, businessman, and philanthropist; for its depiction of Italian Renaissance Revival style architecture; and for its association with builder Henry Bennett. —5/4/2006

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—Includes 19 National Register Nominations Plus Multiple Listing

TOPEKA--The Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review met on February 26, 2005 to consider nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.Twenty properties were nominated at the meeting plus a multiple property submission with five schools.

The multiple property submission was for Historic Public Schools of Kansas. The schools in the submission are:

Nineteen properties were nominated to the National Register of Historic Places:

One property was nominated to the Register of Historic Kansas Places:

The National Register of Historic Places and the Register of Historic Kansas Places are official lists of cultural resources worthy of preservation and part of a national program to protect our historic and archeological resources. Properties currently listed include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture.

The benefits of listed properties include recognition of significance to the nation, state, or local community; consideration in the planning for federal or federally assisted projects; eligibility for tax benefits; and qualification for assistance in historic preservation, when funds are available.

In order to be considered, properties must meet three criteria: retain most of the original interior and exterior appearance, are 50 years or older, and be historically significant at the local, state or national level. The nomination process usually takes between eight and 12 months. The thirteen-member Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review is appointed by the governor. For more information contact the Historic Preservation Office at the Kansas State Historical Society, 785-272-8681, ext. 240.  The Society is headquartered at 6425 SW Sixth Avenue, Topeka KS 66615-1099; 785-272-8681; TTY 785-272-8683;

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[posted 4/3/2005]

On February 26, 2005, the Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review approved recommendations for this year's round of Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grants. The board allocated $98,104 to twelve projects across the state. Four projects totaling $36,063 went to Certified Local Governments (CLGs).

The City of Lawrence received $11,850 for a design review intern. The intern will provide assistance with projects such as CLG reviews, certificates of appropriateness applications, staff reports, legal notifications, assistance to developers and property owners, and coordination of Historic Preservation Week activities.

The City of Lawrence was also awarded a grant of $8,213 to fund a National Register historic district nomination for the Oread neighborhood. Based on information contained in a previous survey report, a large portion of the neighborhood is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The Oread Historic District was listed on the Lawrence Register of Historic Places in 1991.
The City of Wichita Historic Preservation Office received a grant of $8,000 to fund an Inventory and National Register Nominations of Work Progress Administration (WPA) Structures in the City of Wichita and< include them with the statewide WPA Historic Context report.

The Topeka-Shawnee County Landmarks Commission received an award of $8,000 to fund the College Hill Historic District Nomination. The stated goal is to "preserve our heritage through historic district designation of the 1884 horse drawn trolley route along College Avenue". In 1884 horse drawn streetcars brought people to Washburn University by way of College Avenue.

Eight non-CLG applicants also received grants. The Arkansas City Historic Preservation Board was awarded $6,283 to fund a Historic Downtown Walking Tour Brochure. The brochure for the downtown historic district would include a variety of architectural styles and provide the history of the buildings in the Arkansas City Historic Downtown.

The Cities of McPherson and Seneca also received Historic Preservation Fund grants. McPherson received $9,000 for Mapping Historic McPherson. With only seven surveyed buildings in the State Historic Preservation Offices' database, McPherson realizes they are far behind other Kansas cities in inventorying their historic buildings. An interest in historic preservation has been growing in McPherson and a survey of the city's historic buildings is a necessary first step. Seneca received $6,000 for the Seneca Historic District National Register Nomination Project. Seneca is on the original Pony Express route from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Denver, Colorado and many of Seneca's buildings reflect that period's history.

A grant of $900 was awarded to the Independence Chamber of Commerce for a Historic Home Tour of Independence, Kansas, brochure. The brochure will include a selection of homes in Independence aging from 64-124 years in age and will include a map and historic information about the homes.

The Downtown Hays Development Corporation received $5,100 for the Chestnut Street District Historic District National Register Nomination. A survey was conducted of the district in 2004. The nomination to the National Register will allow the listed properties to become eligible for federal and state tax credits.

The Friends of the Free State Capitol received an award of $1,800 to complete the nomination of the Constitution Hall in Topeka. The historic location of Constitution Hall-Topeka, is located at 427-429 South Kansas Avenue.

Ottawa Main Street Association was awarded a grant of $13,000 for a Downtown Ottawa National Register District Nomination. This National Register District includes buildings that are currently undeveloped. The Association's goal is to increase the development of these properties to meet current demands for apartments, office space, and commercial space. Listing these properties will add the state and national tax credit programs to the list of incentives and benefits for property owners.

An archeological study was also funded. Kansas State University will receive $19,958 to carry out an Archaeological Survey of Little Stranger Creek Valley in Leavenworth County. Previous investigations in the upper and lower ends of the valley suggest the valley as a whole contains extensive evidence of prehistoric occupation that may date from at least 5,400 year ago to historic time. The project area is within the Topeka-Kansas City Corridor, where long-term residential, commercial and industrial expansion threatens cultural resources.

For more information on this program, please contact the grants manager, 785-272-8681, ext. 216;

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