West Boulevard Historic District and Historic Homes

Historic and older homes are often known for their character and charm. Towns with well-maintained historic districts are often admired by visitors from out of town. Rapid City’s West Boulevard Historic District is located near the center of town. The West Boulevard Historic District has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974.

Historic homes and homes located in historic districts often have restrictions on how they can be renovated. The idea is to maintain as much of the historic structure as possible. Some homes in the historic district may be considered “contributing” structures or “noncontributing.” When a property is contributing that means that it is considered historic and there is definitely a desire to maintain its historic stature. That may mean restoring windows instead of replacing them. But exceptions can be made—it just needs to go through Rapid City’s Historic Preservation Commission.

The Historic Preservation Commission is a board designed to review proposed changes and significant repairs to historic homes and contributing properties. A contributing property is a property that may not be within the historic district but is close to it—sometimes referred to being in the environs of the district. The commission also works to educate the public about historic properties and will provide information regarding restoration. Sometimes they will sponsor events, bringing in guest speakers to discuss preservation. They also try to inform homeowners of significant tax breaks that may be available for restoring or improving a historic home.

Sometimes historic preservation can be a touchy subject. Some homeowners feel they should be able to do whatever they want to their home—even if it is in a historic district. By contrast there are other people who want to preserve the charm and historic nature of the district. They do not want to see historic homes modernized and have their appearance significantly altered.

Everyone should be aware of whether or not the home they are buying is in a historic district or if it is a historic home. Sometimes people may not be aware of a particular home’s historic significance and the knowledge that a home is historic may be lost over time.

Not all historic homes are extremely old. Some may be historic because of the particular architectural period they represent or some other factor.  I currently own a historic home that is outside of the historic district. The unique history and construction of my home makes it historic. Though it was built in 1950 (not particularly old) it is an all steel home built by a company called Lustron to help with the post-World War II housing shortage. My particular home model is only one of 24 built in the country—and the only one of its kind in South Dakota.

Historic homes often have unique character. Towns with historic districts that are well-preserved are often draws for tourism and are a reason for people to move into the area.

I believe it is important to preserve historic homes. Once a historic home is gone, that piece of history goes with it. Historic preservation looks beyond today and well into the future to keep the past alive.

If you are interested in seeing a major restoration project in process, visit the Valentine McGillycuddy House located at 727 South Street in Rapid City. The home was built in 1887 and was the home of the former Mayor of Rapid City. The restoration is a major undertaking and has led to many interesting discoveries during the renovation process. You can learn more by visiting their website at: https://mcgillycuddyhouse.wordpress.com/or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mcgillycuddyhouse

If you want to explore owning a historic property, give me a call at (605) 593-3759 and I will help you find the right piece of history for you.


Ron Sasso

Ron Sasso