Historic Home & Building Plaque Program

Summary

Bellevue is a borough flush with well over 1,000 turn of the century homes and buildings rich with character and charm. As part of activities marking Bellevue’s 150th anniversary in 2017, owners of homes and buildings designated as historic will have the opportunity to purchase a plaque to mount on the exterior of their building in recognition of the historic nature of their home/property. Historic designation is determined by a scoring rubric that includes, age, integrity, condition, design, among other characteristics calculated from visual surveys and data available from the county, old maps and other resources and research. Commercial and religious buildings are eligible as well. Such programs have been proven to create positive opportunities for marketing, home value and displaying pride in ownership in their community.  This is a great opportunity to continue positioning Bellevue in the right direction by putting these great assets in the forefront.

The project includes identifying the 1,000+ of potentially eligible buildings, creating an inventory, contacting the owners for participation, designing the plaque and collecting the orders for purchase and passing them onto the owners for installation.  The program is organized through a committee of BIGr (Bellevue Initiative for Growth and Revitalization).  Members of the committee are volunteer residents with an interest in local history and includes members of the boards of Preservation Pittsburgh and the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh. The plaques are affordable ($109 each) and paid entirely and voluntarily through property owners who wish to participate. It is important to note that buildings eligible or receiving plaques does not create a preservation protection or preclude owners from making changes to their properties.

Spot surveying and evaluation of 2,600+ buildings in the borough by volunteer committee members was completed November 2016 through April 2017. Letters have been sent to eligible property owners in mid-May of 2017 to the address of owner from county records (late 2016 data). The project will  be completed with plaques delivered to owners in August 2017.

 

Defining Historic

Building eligibility is determined by AGE and a rubric of several elements:

  • Condition
  • Architectural Features and Design
  • Authenticity to Historical Period
  • Historic Significance

 

F.A.Q.

What homes/buildings were approved?

You can view the complete list here.

Will owners have the opportunity to purchase a plaque after the program completes in 2017?

This project is a one-time program and will close once all plaques are delivered in August of 2017. Plaque orders must be received online or in mail by June 17th, 2017.

I did not receive a letter in May of 2017 indicating my property is eligible and I believe it is historic, what can I do if I wish to receive/purchase a plaque?

Out of the 2,600+ properties reviewed, it is possible that buildings may have been overlooked or County data was out-dated.  Property owners can file an online appeal by June 11th, 2017.  Age is only one factor in plaque eligibility. Things to consider including in an appeal: does the home/ building have the original door/ door surround, windows, porch, porch columns and railing, stained glass, picture window(s), slate roof, original siding? Have changes to the building over the years been sympathetic to the original design and character of the building? What kind of condition is the property in?

What will the plaque look like?

The plaque design is based on the original Seal for the Borough of Bellevue. The plaque is 6 inches in diameter and cast bronze. The plaques are produced from a foundry in Western Pennsylvania.

 

 

 

 

How do you mount the plaque to a building?

The plaques are “post-mount” which means there will be screws extending from the rear of the plaque. Holes will need to be drilled in the side of the building where the screws will insert and bonded to the building with Liquid Nails. Instructions, guidelines and care information will be provided along with the plaque.  Plaques should be mounted on either side of the main door entrance and ideally visible from the street. Mounting assistance will be provided by those who require it.

Does this mean I can’t make changes to my home/building?

No. Buildings eligible or receiving plaques does not create a preservation protection or preclude owners from making changes to their properties. Only an historic preservation ordinance passed by the local government could enable protection from changes such as building demolition.

Is this program a fundraiser?

This program was not conceived as a fundraising opportunity. Depending on the number of home owners who participate, BIGR should break even to make a small profit. Comparatively, plaques for properties recognized by Pittsburgh History and Landmark’s Foundation (PHLF) and/or the National Register of Historic Places generally start at around $250.

 

Questions can be directed to plaques@bonafidebellevue.com