LEAD | Of all the towns in the northern Black Hills, it could be fairly said the twin cities of Lead and Deadwood ooze history from every brick and board.

Perhaps in recognition of architecture dating back to the days of Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Seth Bullock and the Homestake Gold Mine, the South Dakota State Historical Society board of trustees recently approved eight-year property tax moratorium applications for several Lawrence County properties.

“More than anything, what we’re seeing is that there’s an ongoing sense of people who own historic properties (taking) great pride in the fact they’re listed in the National Register of Historic places, and they want to take care of it,” said Jay D. Vogt, director of the State Historical Society in Pierre.

Property owners still have to pay taxes under the moratorium, but will not be assessed for any improvements made from an approved preservation or rehabilitation aspect for an eight-year term, Vogt said.

“This is a tool to encourage private property owners to invest in their historic properties without penalizing them for that investment,” he said.

Of the 15 properties approved for the tax moratorium statewide, more than half were in West River, with four in Lawrence County, three in Rapid City and one in Hot Springs. Six of the 15 are private residences and nine are, or will be, income-producing properties.

Investment per project ranged from $15,500 to $2.6 million. Private investments totaled $6.27 million.

Improvements made and eligible for a property tax assessment moratorium must meet historic preservation standards set by the office of Secretary of the Interior. Allowances can be made for conversion of commercial buildings from one purpose to another, along with upgrades to modern building codes.

“The idea is to keep a historic building as much like it was originally, but giving it new service,” Vogt said.

Vogt said owners of registered historic buildings interested in seeking property tax assessment moratorium status are encouraged to contact the state historical society for building preservation and rehabilitation guidelines.

“We encourage property owners, before they get going down the road of their project, to contact our office and say this is what we want to do,” Vogt said. “We can give them advice and they can make the decision on whether this is the route they want to go.”

For more information on how to qualify for the state historic preservation property tax moratorium, contact the State Historical Society at 605-773-3458.

Lawrence County properties approved for the property tax moratorium include:

• First National Bank of the Black Hills, 201 W. Main St., Lead, was constructed in 1922 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 as part of the Lead Historic District. In 2017, the building’s owners reinstalled windows where openings had been bricked in, installed an elevator, and completed entryways on all three floors.

• A home at 33 Jackson St. in Deadwood was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938 on the site of the former Fourth Ward School Building. It was used by the Black Hills National Forest as the home of the forest supervisor until their headquarters was transferred to Custer in 1954.

Work in 2017 included repair and repointing of stone foundation walls, garage walls, retaining walls, patios, porches, and steps. In addition, interior plaster was repaired, and walls and doors were repainted.

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• A previously condemned structure at 3 Shine St. is not far from the historic Franklin Hotel and next door to the Deadwood City Library.

Built in 1895, the two-story house has seen great progress in work begun in 2016. Work in 2017 included repair and repointing of masonry, structural reinforcement, foundation repair, and mold abatement.

• The home at 360 Williams St. was constructed around 1880. The bulk of the work was done in 2016 to restore the home after numerous remodeling projects. The 2017 project installed new wood windows which matched the original locations and configurations, and the wood siding and trim were painted.

Other West River sites approved include:

• Hotel Alex Johnson, 523 Sixth St., Rapid City, was constructed in 1927-1928 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Last year the hotel completed work updating guest rooms and bathrooms on floors 6 through 9, renovated the kitchen, reopened the mezzanine to its original configuration, added new restrooms to the mezzanine and in Paddy O’Neill’s restaurant.

• Fairmont Creamery, 201 Main St., Rapid City was constructed in 1929 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. Qualifying work in 2017 included the updating the west breezeway area and replacing all cast iron pipes in the basement with PVC.

• A home at 1702 West Blvd. in Rapid City was constructed in 1930 is part of the West Boulevard Historic District and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. In 2017 the owners renovated the original garage into a mud room and breezeway at the back of the home.

• The Harlou Building, 407 N. River St., Hot Springs. The building dates back to 1893 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Qualifying work included storefront renovations, window repair, and completion of shop space on the main floor.

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