On August 1st, 2020, Sylvan Grove’s downtown commercial district was officially listed in the Register of Historic Kansas Places! Of the 36 properties within the district, 20 of them were built within 1887-1930. Many of the buildings reflect vernacular interpretations of popular architectural styles such as Late Victorian, Early 19th and 20th Century Revival and Commercial styles. A prominent characteristic of the district is the multitude of buildings built out of the native Greenhorn limestone (locally referred to as “Post Rock” limestone), which is one of the area’s abundant natural resources. Architectural details can be seen in metal facades and cornices, cast-iron columns and window hoods.
The historic designation comes during the 150th anniversary year since Lincoln County was established and officially recognized by the State of Kansas. The goal of the historic designation is to both promote the downtown’s history and make downtown Sylvan Grove property owners of historic buildings eligible for state-level grants and tax credits to help maintain and improve the properties.
To learn about the downtown’s development with an overview of the history of each building in the district, please see the extensive nomination information.
The Register of Historic Kansas Places is the state’s official list of historically significant properties. The state register was established in 1977.
The Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation (LCEDF) received a grant from the Kansas Historical Society in 2018 to conduct a survey of downtown Sylvan Grove. The primary purpose of the survey was to determine if the overall downtown district (and/or individual properties within it) would be eligible for any historic designations that could open up financial resources to property owners to help maintain and improve their properties.
Once the survey determined the downtown to be eligible for the state register, several public meetings were held to discuss whether to continue moving forward with the process of official designation. The general consensus from property owners was to continue with the process.
Additional grant funding from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation, Network Kansas, the City of Sylvan Grove and the Lincoln County Historical Society were received in order to hire Terry Lilak, a local historian, to take the additional steps necessary to research and write the nomination materials. This included photo documentation of the district, researching its history and analyzing its historic character, researching the history of each building within the district and writing architectural descriptions and writing the very lengthy and detailed nomination application.
If you have any questions about the historic designations and its benefits, please feel free to contact the LCEDF at LcedfDirector@Outlook.com, 785-524-8954, or visit the office in the County Courthouse at 216 E Lincoln Ave., Lincoln, Kansas.
Sylvan Grove Historic Survey 2019 – Final report includes many historic and current photos of the downtown, identification of various architectural styles, methodology for survey work and final recommendations.
Sylvan Grove Presentation 2019 – June, 2019, presentation to the Sylvan Grove community.
Kansas Historic Resources Inventory – Database includes detailed information on each property within the district. Search the database by scrolling down to the “Survey Project” field and select “Sylvan Grove – Downtown Survey (HPF 2018)”.
FAQs on Sylvan Grove’s survey and historic designations – Answers frequently asked questions about the survey process, what ‘contributing’ and ‘non-contributing’ means to a property owner, and how designation can impact property owners.
MAP OF DOWNTOWN HISTORIC DISTRICT
LIST OF PROPERTIES IN HISTORIC DISTRICT
(with contributing/non-contributing status)