Will Bismarck’s Highland Acres soon be labeled “historic”?

Some Bismarck residents are working to get Highland Acres labeled as “historic” by the National Register of Historic Places. Pretty cool, huh?

Lorna Meidinger

Lorna Meidinger

What does the designation mean?

When a place is registered in the national register, it is not just an honorary title, IIt also gives the region the opportunity to apply for certain grant programs. It also allows properties that produce income to claim the federal historic preservation tax credit.

I spoke to historic preservation specialist Lorna Meidinger and asked her why she and other locals were working to get this done.

“The Highland Acres neighborhood has a very interesting past as the Bismarck Veterans Home Owners Cooperative was formed to address the housing shortage after World War II. … The group disbanded after a few years, but the master plan has created a much sought-after neighborhood and led to an enclave of mid century Modern architecture,” Meidinger said.

Lorna Meidinger

Lorna Meidinger

Under construction for some time

Meidinger told me that the nomination process began in 2017. A man who resided in the neighborhood, named Bruce Whittey got the ball rolling. I am told that it was not an easy undertaking.

“Nominating a great neighborhood like this is a lot of effort. … The residents decided to plead for them (city officials) to take over the project. After agreeing to do the project, the survey of the neighborhood took a year and it had to be done for the information to be available for the writing of the nomination, Meidinger said.

Meidinger says the nomination process, in itself, takes about a year.

The last days

Their efforts may soon bear fruit as they await the last word from the “Keeper”. Meidinger says it usually takes about 60 days.

“Once we have checked everything, it will be sent to the goalkeeper for the official decision on registration,” Meidinger said.

They hope the nomination will pass and be accepted.

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