McKownville Improvement Association
- Proposal for NY State and National Register of Historic Places for McKownville Country Club Highlands Historic District

Historic District proposal

4 Norwood St - a
        Sears kit house built in 1911The McKownville Improvement Association has always attempted to preserve the residential character of our neighborhood. Many of the houses were built during the early twentieth century, and the older parts of the neighborhood display a mix of home styles from that time. This blend of historic homes provides a pleasing contrast to the commercial development to the east and west, and increasing institutional growth to the north, and the recent high-density apartment development on Fuller Road in the City of Albany.

Volunteers worked with the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to create the documentation for the historic district to be listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. Inclusion on these Registers will provide a measure of protection for our unique neighborhood.

After consultation with the SHPO, the proposed district includes Waverly Place, the southerly portions of Norwood, Glenwood, Parkwood and Elmwood Streets, and the houses on the north side of Western Avenue from number 1421 west to Elmwood
[maps of the proposed historic district - showing house numbers, or date of building for each house].

4 Norwood Street, built in 1911

For more information about the National and State Registers of Historic Preservation, including the implications for property owners of a Historic District listing, please click on this link for a printable one-page information sheet compiled from information published in the websites of the National Register of Historic Places, and the New York State Historic Preservation Office.
Under Federal Law, the listing of a property in the National Register places no restrictions on what a non-federal owner may do with their property up to and including destruction, unless the property is involved in a project that receives Federal assistance, usually funding or licensing/permitting. National Register listing does not lead to public acquisition or require public access.
The NY SHPO provides an insurance coverage information sheet that explains why listing on the State and Federal Registers does not affect insurance coverage or premium rates for privately-owned properties.

Comparable neighborhoods already established as Historic Districts on the National Register are widespread.
For example, in Syracuse, the Berkeley Park Subdivision Historic District  [another description of Berkeley Park],
and in Atlanta, the Inman Park-Moreland Historic District are similar in age and kind of development to this proposal for McKownville.

Notification of property owners, objections, and the review process
The New York State Historic Preservation Office has now determined that this section of McKownville is eligible for listing on the National and State Registers of Historic Places, and the nomination process is underway, leading up to presentation of the completed nomination documents at a meeting of the State Review Board. Preparation of the documents supporting the proposal is now essentially complete and it is likely that the nomination will be presented at the State Review Board meeting in December 2021.

There was a public meeting held on 14 September 2021 , for presentation of the proposal and to answer questions on it, to which all property owners in the proposed historic district were invited - the presentation slides shown by the SHPO representatives at the meeting. The last slide in the presentation contains contact information for the SHPO persons who will be pleased to answer any questions on the proposal that property owners in the intended historic district may have.
All property owners in the proposed historic district, and local officials, have been sent a notification letter (dated September 30th) by the SHPO.
This mailing also included: information sheets on the criteria for National Register nomination,
                                             a list of answers to frequently asked questions, and
                                             information on the historic properties rehabilitation tax credit program (regrettably, McKownville north of Western Avenue is in a census tract which does not qualify for this program - see this map).

Under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (amended 1980), private property owners must be given the opportunity to object to the proposed nomination of their properties. No owner is required to comment and owners don’t “vote” on the district. Rather, owners who object to the listing may submit a notarized statement stating that they are the owner of the subject property and that they object. Notarization is a requirement of the federal government and cannot be waived.

If a majority of the private property owners in the proposed district file notarized objections, the district cannot be listed on the National Register. In determining a majority, each owner is counted once, regardless of how much or how little property he/she owns. Objections are only counted toward the listing of the district as a whole. If a majority does not object, no one owner can exempt himself/herself from the district by means of a notarized objection. These procedures are federal regulations that cannot be altered by the SHPO.

If there are less than a majority of objectors, then the SHPO review decision can take one of several options: reject the proposal, ask for more information, list the district just with the state, or also to send the forms to the National Park Service for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Once the National Park Service receive the forms, they conduct a similar review process.

We have some information about the builders and architects of the houses in the proposed historic district; a few appear to be Sears kit houses.

Our website History section contains detailed information derived from old deeds, census returns and city directory listings on the houses in and adjacent to the proposed historic district. This also includes an overview summary of the history of McKownville.

We hope that in the future additional portions of McKownville will be included in an enlarged Historic District.

return to history page