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January 31, 2023

Research begins on Downtown Historic District

RESEARCH AT THE LIBRARY — Special researchers are currently probing the proposed properties of the Downtown Taylorsville Historic District. Shown above at the Alexander County Library, left to right: Laura Crooks, Alexander County Library Director, Josi Ward, founder of Foreground Consulting, and Clay Griffith, president/owner of ACME Preservation Services, peruse local historical documents.

In November 2022, the Alexander County Historic Preservation Committee began working with ACME Preservation Services, which was hired to conduct the research required for the Downtown Taylorsville Historic District to be nominated for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, according to a county press release.

The proposed Downtown Taylorsville Historic District consists of 44 properties with 32 property owners, 181,762 square feet of commercial and residential space, and a total assessed tax value of more than $6.3 million. The proposed historic district was originally established in 1847 with the founding of Alexander County naming Taylorsville as the seat of county government.

“The Alexander County Historic Preservation Committee is pleased to work in partnership with the Town of Taylorsville to list the county’s first historic district on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Alexander County Commissioner Larry Yoder, who also serves as the chairman of the county’s Historic Preservation Committee.

The National Register Advisory Council placed the proposed Downtown Taylorsville Historic District on the State Study List in June 2021. In October, the Taylorsville Town Council unanimously endorsed the Alexander County Historic Preservation Committee’s proposal to list the Downtown Taylorsville Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. The Alexander County Historic Preservation Committee hosted an informational meeting presented by the State Historic Preservation Office in December 2021 for property owners of proposed historic buildings located within the Downtown Taylorsville Historic District.

In November 2022, the Alexander County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the contract with ACME Preservation Services. ACME Preservation Services has teamed with Foreground Consulting to provide greater manpower and a broader range of expertise to the Alexander County project.

Clay Griffith is the president and owner of ACME Preservation Services with 28 years of experience in the historic preservation field in North Carolina. Griffith is an architectural historian with extensive experience conducting reconnaissance- and intensive-level architectural field surveys; identifying, analyzing, and evaluating historic properties; researching and writing historic contexts and biographical sketches; and preparing nominations to the National Register.

Josi Ward, the founder of Foreground Consulting, brings 15 years of experience in researching, writing, and teaching architectural history. Prior to starting the firm, Ward taught in the architecture program at Cornell University. She currently serves as president of the board for the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County and has recently been appointed to the National Register Advisory Committee in North Carolina.

“Historic downtowns are viewed as an important asset of rural communities. The preservation of downtown is a source of economic opportunity for the town and the county,” Yoder said. “Many successful efforts in rural communities use historic preservation as the foundation for downtown revitalization.”

1 Comment

  1. Jim Halpert on January 24, 2023 at 7:13 am

    I would be more concerned about the future of downtown Taylorsville.
    The past is history. Years and I mean years ago downtown was a busy place. Have you looked at downtown Taylorsville lately? It hasn’t changed much. Why is that? I think we all know why. I would focus on the future, other towns like Hickory, Lenoir, North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro have a nice downtown area but Taylorsville seems happy to be stuck in the past. It can be better.

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