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In the know with Osceola Chamber Main Street

Osceola’s place on the National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationalregister/weekly-list-20180126.htm

January 19, 2018, the Osceola Downtown Commercial District earned a spot on the National Registry of Historic Places. Other downtown properties listed include the Masonic Temple Block, and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Depot. Five private properties in Clarke County are also listed. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationalregister/database-research.htm#table

For an entire district to become part of this prestigious list required enumerable hours of extensive research and gathering artifacts such as photos, maps and newspaper articles. A complete history of each building includes chain of ownership, significance of ownership or business, architectural details, photos, maps and a bibliography.

Once all the pieces are put together and the research approved by the State Nomination Review Committee (SNRC), a presentation must support and prove the application meets requirements. In the case for Osceola’s Commercial District, the research filled a small plastic tote and required a few years of start and stop research from 2010-2017 to complete.

Former Executive Director, Derek Lumsden, who finalized the project, worked with consultant James Jacobson to gather supportive evidence. Several Chamber-Main Street volunteers also contributed various pieces to the project.

In his presentation to the National Commercial Historic District Joint Meeting in 2017, Lumsden focused on four areas:

History of Project:

The process began in 2010 but stalled with director changes and incomplete research.

Five District Eligibilities:

Property associated with events making a significant contribution to the broad patterns of Osceola history.

Property embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, methods of construction or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values, or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components lack individual distinction.

Areas of Significance: architecture and commerce

Period of Significance: 1871-1968

Dominant Descriptors: cornices and fire events

Interesting Information about the town/district:

Osceola grew towards the railroad years before it came through

Osceola is plotted in unique ways

Clarke County is 12 townships

Situated along two major highways

Volunteer fire Dept. History

40 major fires in downtown (1859-20040

Quality Water supply

Population Trends

Business Growth


County Seat/Courthouse

Hard surfaced/paved roads

Tourist camp turned Post office


Contributing vs. non-Contributing (buildings in the district)

52 contributing versus 25 non-contributing

Derek also cited several pieces of ‘Priority Information’ for which he was still searching, such as building dates, original fašade changes, Bluegrass Highway Information, and cast-iron inscriptions-maker and city of origin. Once this information was added the project was resubmitted to SNRC and sent to the national committee. The grant was completed in August 2017, submitted to the State Nomination Review Committee (SNRC) April 3rd, SNRC Review July 19th, SNRC Resubmittal August 1st and SNRC Meeting October 2017. Once submitted to the national committee, it took another year to finally receive the certificate. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationalregister/weekly-list-20180126.htm

This process took a long time to complete, but achieving the Historic District designation was well worth it, “The most challenging aspect was reconciling what people remembered with what events actually happened. Time has a way of changing stories, especially when handed down over 150+ years. But it was great getting the community involved and learning about the great history that shaped downtown Osceola.” -Former Executive Director, Osceola Chamber-Main Street, Derek Lumsden

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