We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Historic District?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A historic district is an area of historic importance where people set aside buildings and other features to preserve them for future generations to enjoy. Development and other activities are limited in a historic district to maintain the historic integrity. The process of designating historic districts usually requires an application to a certifying agency, followed by inspection and requests for documentation. If the agency agrees that a region is historic, it can issue a proclamation and steps can be taken for preservation.

Most commonly, a historic district is a section of a city or town. It can also be an entire town or village, in some cases, and people may also designate sites outside city limits as historic districts on the grounds of their importance in the region's history. Property owners have restrictions placed on how they can use their property, and ordinances may be passed to limit the kinds of businesses allowed in the district and to curtail its use for events and other activities.

There are different levels of historic preservation, including local, regional, and national agencies, all of which have their own standards for certification. Usually, input from the community is required during the process and the expressed wishes of property owners may be considered. While property values tend to rise in a historic district, the hardships created by limits on activities can be frustrating and people may resist having their homes or businesses included in a historic district.

Grant money is often available for activities like historic preservation in these regions. Landowners can often get help with expenses related to property upkeep and renovation, as long as they can show how a project will contribute to the historic tone of the region. The money can also be used for things like replicating historic features and sites or making the district have a more historic character with measures such as replacing sidewalks or changing street surfaces. Some historic districts may host events like reenactments and fairs to attract tourism and provide public education and outreach about the history of the region.

When people purchase property in a historic district, they are provided with disclosures about the restrictions on their use of the property and the function of the historic district. It can be helpful to ask other property owners, as well as real estate agents for information about what it is like to own property in the district, as the disclosures usually follow the letter of the law, but may not discuss common issues that arise, like the difficulty of getting permits for construction activity.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Read more
WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.