Downtown Wayland gains historic place designation

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The Richardsonian Romanesque-style Henika Library, built in 1899, has undergone expansion and restoration over the years and continues to serve the Wayland community as a central gathering place. Courtesy Michigan Economic Development Corporation

The downtown commercial district of Wayland was given a historic designation through the National Register of Historic Places.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week announced three downtown commercial districts in Michigan received the designation from the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office. The Wayland Downtown Historic District, the Ishpeming Main Street Historic District and Negaunee Downtown Historic District all were deemed worthy of preservation and now are listed as historic places through the national designation.

“Pure Michigan is home to so many historic, beautiful communities, and I am proud of Ishpeming, Negaunee and Wayland for being added to the National Register of Historic Places,” Whitmer said. “This designation will help local economies in and around these three downtowns and help us continue growing Michigan’s economy, creating good-paying jobs and lowering costs for working families.”

Wayland’s Downtown Historic District is centered on the intersection of Main and Superior streets. The Richardsonian Romanesque-style Henika Library, built in 1899, has undergone expansion and restoration over the years and continues to serve the community as a central gathering place.

“Historic preservation has been an essential function for Wayland Main Street during our 12-year history, with over 40 buildings in our eight-block district receiving façade or building restoration work,” said Terry Shields, executive director, Wayland Main Street Downtown Development Authority. “Having downtown Wayland listed in the National Register of Historic Places is not only an honor and something of which to be proud, but it also continues to offer our building owners a further economic incentive to continue to rehabilitate and maintain their buildings. We’re excited to share our town’s rich history by continuing to preserve its lovely historic buildings.”

Nearly 2,000 Michigan properties have been listed in the National Register, a program created by the National Park Service and administered by the state. To be considered for a listing, properties generally must be at least 50 years old and be significant when evaluated in relationship to major historic events or trends in community, state or national history. Properties also must possess historic integrity, noted as the ability to convey their significance.

“Wayland is a special community with strong leadership and community engagement. This recognition is further testament to their longtime work,” said Aric Nesbitt, Michigan state senator.

More information about the National Register of Historic Places program in Michigan is online.

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