Princeton, Illinois

Princeton Achieves National Register of Historic Places Listing for Two Downtown Districts

Published: January 25, 2018

On January 19, 2018, the National Parks Service announced two downtown districts in Princeton, Illinois, were added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was news Landmarks Illinois celebrated along with local residents and property owners, community leaders and advocates who spearheaded the years-long effort to preserve Princeton’s unique historic character and receive national landmark status.

Since 2016, when the community set the goal of having Princeton’s downtown districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Landmarks Illinois has been on hand to provide resources and guidance to Princeton during its pursuit of a National Register listing.

In the summer of 2016, Landmarks Illinois awarded the City of Princeton a grant through our Barbara C. and Thomas E. Donnelley II Preservation Fund for Illinois to support the city’s Phase 1 of a feasibility study of the North Main Street Business District. The study consisted of a one-day assessment and analysis of the historic and cultural resources by a team of preservation professionals and the compilation of an illustrated report.

In 2017, thanks to a generous grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Landmarks Illinois deepened its community involvement to help Princeton with a National Register of Historic Places listing. Frank Butterfield, Director of Landmarks Illinois’ Springfield office, led educational sessions in Princeton to help local residents, property and business owners as well as community leaders understand what such a listing would mean for the city. Butterfield also discussed what tax incentives and other rehabilitative incentives would be available to property owners within any future National Register district.

Throughout 2017, Landmarks Illinois representatives participated in additional community meetings, talked with local business owners along Princeton’s North and South Main Street Districts and worked in conjunction with local stakeholders to leverage historic preservation as a community planning tool. This Landmarks Illinois-led, consensus-building process led stakeholders to agree that the two downtowns are critical to Princeton’s community identity and provide important opportunities for economic development. Thus, new National Register listings would contribute to advancing local community goals.

Landmarks Illinois was proud to serve as Princeton’s partner throughout the process of having its historically significant downtown districts recognized on a national level. We are excited to see the city’s efforts to preserve its cultural heritage have successfully resulted in a National Register listing. Congratulations to all who were involved in this inspiring endeavor.

Visit the NPS website to read more about the recent National Register of Historic Places listing in Princeton:

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