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Historic Preservation

The Town of Seneca Falls has a long-standing commitment to historic preservation. The former Village of Seneca Falls Heritage Preservation Commission was established in the 1980’s and the Town became a Certified Local Government in 2016. The Town contains two National Register Historic Districts which (the Fall Street-Trinity Lane District and the Town of Seneca Falls Historic District) are also designated as Local Historic Districts. Additionally, the Town contains numerous Local Landmarks and properties listed on the National Register. The Town remains committed to preserving the physical and cultural resources within the Town of Seneca Falls.

National Register Historic Districts

These are districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and have been determined by the National Park Service to be “a geographically definable area, urban or rural, possessing a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, or objects united by past events or aesthetically by plan or physical development. A district may also comprise individual elements separated geographically but linked by association or history.” A National Register designation is an official acknowledgment by the federal government that an area holds culturally significant characteristics which are worthy of preservation. Designation as a National Register Historic District provides the area protection from any threats which involve the federal government or federal monies. It also provides access to some federal financial incentives.

Local Historic Districts

Local Historic Districts, by contrast, are designated and listed at the local level and are subject to highest level of protection against threats. They are established and governed by local laws and/or ordinances which can impose restrictions and regulations on the properties within the boundaries of those districts. Along with these restrictions, however, there may be additional financial opportunities available to these properties.

Heritage Area Districts

The Town of Seneca Falls is a designated Heritage Area. Heritage Area Districts differ from Historic Districts in that they incorporate natural, cultural, historic, and recreation areas, instead of simply the built environment. They seek to combine these four elements into a “cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography. These areas tell nationally important stories about our nation and are representative of the national experience through both the physical features that remain and the traditions that have evolved within them.” In New York, Heritage Area designation is intended specifically to “promote sustainable development and enhance quality of life through programs and activities in historic preservation, resource conservation, recreation, interpretation, and community capacity-building that demonstrate respect for the people, the place, and the past.”

More information on NYS Heritage Areas

Certified Local Government

The Certified Local Government Program (CLG) supports and strengthens local preservation activities by assisting communities to achieve their preservation goals through the development of an action plan. Read more about the CLG program on the New York State Historic Preservation website.

Seneca Falls became a Certified Local Government in 2016.

Historic Preservation Resources