On February 22, 2011 the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) announced the addition of the Chelsea Commercial Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Chelsea Commercial Historic District comprises 61 buildings that form the historic core of Chelsea's commercial district. Near the north end of the district are the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks, historically part of the Michigan Central Railroad. The district focuses on Main Street (state highway M-52), and includes properties on either side containing historic commercial, public, and institutional buildings. Also included are properties on Park Street, East and West Middle Streets, Jackson Street, and the former Glazier Stove Works complex in the northeast end of the district.
"The recognition and preservation of historic properties is vital to the economic success of Michigan's communities, both large and small, and necessary for maintaining the sense of place that so many people desire" said Gary Heidel, executive director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), of which the SHPO is a part. According to State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway, "Chelsea's downtown has a fantastic stock of historic buildings for a small town that already attracts people to the community. They are what sets Chelsea apart from other towns. Chelsea has an opportunity to market itself as a heritage tourism destination and to take advantage of economic incentives for rehabilitating historic buildings."
Preservation Chelsea prepared the nomination. In addition to the Glazier Stove Works, the district includes the McKune Memorial Library, the former post office and several churches. The Chelsea House Livery Stable, the Daniels Showroom, and the Mack Building, which make up what is commonly known as the Longworth Complex, are also listed. These buildings are currently owned by the DDA, which is proposing to demolish the buildings. The national register designation gives the DDA an opportunity to market the buildings to a developer who wants to capitalize on the historic character of the buildings and use federal historic preservation tax credits.
There are more than 1,800 Michigan listings in the National Register of Historic Places. In Michigan the national register is administered by the State Historic Preservation Office, which assists property owners with the nomination process. Properties are nominated to the national register by the State Historic Preservation Review Board, which meets three times per year. National register designation makes the owners of income-producing properties eligible to apply for federal historic preservation tax credits for the rehabilitation of those properties. For information about the National Register of Historic Places in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/nrhp.