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Historic Preservation
is investing and buying locally at the most basic level, conserving and enhancing buildings and neighborhoods...

Historic preservation is central to the Main Street program's purpose and is what makes historic and traditional commercial districts authentic places. Historic preservation involves saving, rehabilitating, and finding new uses for existing buildings, as well as intensifying the uses of the existing buildings, through building improvement projects and policy and regulatory changes that make it easier to develop property within the commercial district.

What exactly is historic preservation?

It’s much more than saving old buildings! Historic preservation champions and protects places that tell the stories of our past.  It enhances our sense of community and brings us closer together: saving the places where we take our children to school, buy our groceries, and stop for coffee – preserving the stories of ancient cultures found in landmarks and landscapes we visit – protecting the memories of people, places, and events honored in our national monuments.

Revitalization happens as a direct result of preservation. 
Cities and communities find way to repurpose and reuse buildings and space that benefit downtown.

Preservation of buildings and sites is crucical to our history.  Many places are registered on the National Registor which help to protect historic places.  The National Register of Historic Places is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.


National Historic Landmarks


A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, or object that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Of over 85,000 places listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places, only some 2500 are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.

A National Historic Landmark District is a historic district that has received similar recognition. The district may include contributing properties that are buildings, structures, sites or objects, and it may include non-contributing properties. Contributing properties may or may not also be separately listed.

Historic Districts


A historic district in the United States is a group of buildings, properties, or sites that have been designated by one of several entities on different levels as historically or architecturally significant. Buildings, structures, objects and sites within a historic district are normally divided into two categories, contributing and non-contributing. Districts greatly vary in size, some having hundreds of structures while others have just a few.

The U.S. federal government designates historic districts through the U.S. Department of Interior, under the auspices of the National Park Service. Federally designated historic districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Place.  Historic districts allows rural areas to preserve their characters through historic preservation programs. These include "Main Street" programs that can be used to redevelop rural downtowns. Using historic preservation programs as an economic development tool for local governments in rural areas has enabled some of those areas to take advantage of their history and develop a tourism market that in turn provides funds for maintaining an economic stability that these areas would not have seen otherwise.

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preserving the face of downtown

A facade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually the front. It comes from the french word facade which literally means "frontage" or "face".  Facade appearance is a critical aspect of the overall aesthetic appeal and unique character of downtown.


Designing, promoting and facilitating quality historic preservation and façade improvement projects are common activities undertaken by design and economic restructuring committees, and significant effort is dedicated to developing tools to make this type of project simpler and less costly for property owners.  

              Downtown & Main Street - How Façade Improvement Programs Can Benefit Your Community


The revitalization of a neglected commercial district or residential neighborhood often begins with improvements to a single building or storefront. Even simple changes such as the removal of non-historic materials, repairs, or a new paint job that calls attention to the building’s original architectural details signal positive change and often stimulate similar improvements in neighboring buildings. While this process sometimes begins spontaneously through the work of individual property or business owners, it can be accelerated when a community creates a façade improvement program.


As a result, such programs are frequently among the implementing actions of comprehensive plans, downtown revitalization strategies, and historic preservation plans.  Façade improvement programs are incentive programs created to encourage property owners and businesses to improve the exterior appearance of their buildings and storefronts. They focus on either commercial or residential properties in historic or non-historic areas and provide financial incentives such as a matching grant or loan, a tax incentive, and design assistance. 

Façade improvement programs produce many benefits -- including strengthening locally owned businesses, which helps keep dollars in the local economy



Economic Benefits of Façade Improvements

  • Business operators generally experience an increase in the number of first-time customers

  • Improvements attract new businesses and shoppers to the target area

  • Commercial building improvements resulted in an increase in sales in the year after improvements 

  • Sales increases exceeded increases in local taxes

  • Property owners generally generate increased rental revenues

  • Nearby businesses often enjoy increased sales and initiate their own storefront improvements

  • Participants were often motivated to make additional improvements, such as interior space

  • Owners/tenants of properties and businesses in surrounding areas were motivated to make improvements

  • Properties are often converted to a perceived better use

York House



The end to the country’s most famous feud happened in the front parlor of the 1874 Historic York House on Main Street Pikeville, Kentucky.  The York House history begins when Colonel John Dils and wife Ann had five children, his third being Augusta, born in 1848. 


Augusta was well educated with a degree in music and brought both classical and popular music training to Pikeville. She sang in the church choir and played the church piano. 

Augusta was 25 when she met James York and became engaged. Colonel Dils bought the property that now holds the York House on Feb 24th 1874.  He deeded the property to the newlyweds on June 20th 1876 only 11 months after they had wed on July 11, 1875.  


Colonel Dils and Ann built the home as a wedding gift for James and Augusta. The home featured an eloquent garden that boasted the only flowing water fountain in the area.  It was a very early example of a Queen Anne Victorian home.  This was very progressive of the family to have been on the cutting edge of this new building style.  James York became an attorney, county treasurer, and in 1900, Pike County Judge.  His biggest claim to fame however came as he represented his neighbor, Randolph McCoy, during the later phase of the Hatfield McCoy feud in 1887-90.  Randolph came often to the house and the family tells that the feud was finally settled during long strategy sessions in the front parlor of the home. 


The York House was purchased by the City of Pikeville in July 2014 and will be rehabilitated and utilized as a cultural heritage center.  In October 2015 the City of Pikeville and Pikeville City Commissionand Pikeville Main Street Progam, Inc. began a community based volunteer project to rehabilitate the 1874 York House and preserve the history of the Dils/York family and their influence in Eastern Kentucky during the late 1800’s.


The Dils/York House sits on Main Street in the Historic District of downtown and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The house has deep historical roots to the famous Hatfield McCoy Feud and was owned by attorney James York who married Colonel John Dils daughter and then became the attorney that represented both families during the feud.  History tells us that discussions to end the feud were held by James York and Randal McCoy in the front parlor of the York House.


The Pikeville City Commission felt that rehabilitating the house would be an excellent opportunity to preserve a piece of history which would become a place to promote and enhance our heritage. 

Historic York House Rehab Project

The end to the country’s most famous feud happened right in the front parlor
of the still existing 1874 Historic York House.


The Historic York House located on Main Street is a true representation of the history of our area. The York House is listed in the National Register of Historic places. In July 2014, the City of Pikeville purchased the home with plans to restore and preserve as a landmark of history.

add york house pictures

and volunteer pics 

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