Three Lawrence properties are awaiting designation to the National Register of Historic Places and a new city document could open the door for more such listings.
The properties are Bailey Hall on the Kansas University campus; the former Eugene and Lucinda Goodrich house at 1711 Mass.; and the former Witter McCurdy house at 909 W. Sixth St.
A decision on the nominations should come in late summer or early fall.
The two houses were nominated using a new city document, "Historic Resources of Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas." State officials say it's the first time such a "multiple-property document" has been used as a preservation tool in Kansas.
Dennis Enslinger, the city's historic resources administrator, said the document "makes it easier to nominate properties, and cheaper."
Much of the work of nominating a property to the National Register of Historic Places comes in documenting its historical or architectural significance. Enslinger said that process can cost as much as $2,000. Pat Kehde, president of the Lawrence Preservation Alliance, said it can take as many as 50 hours of research.
"This will cut that at least in half," Kehde said.
That's because the report, created in the late 1990s with the help of a state grant, identifies Lawrence's historic eras and the types of architecture used in the city during those periods.
Research on individual properties will still need to be done, Kehde said, but "this provides us with a framework. The background work is done here. It's a slightly less arduous task to nominate something."
Martha Hagdorn-Krass, an architectural historian with the Kansas State Historical Society, agreed.
"It's easier for the nonhistorian, the average person to get involved in the nominating process," she said, if they are familiar with the report.
And the report has an added benefit, Hagdorn-Krass said.
"It makes the history of Lawrence more accessible to the average person, through its architecture," she said.
The three properties nominated to the register embody some of that history:
l Bailey Hall started life in 1900 as the chemistry building and is renowned as the site of the discovery of helium. The School of Education took over in 1954, then was supplanted in 2000 by the Department of Communications Studies, as well as some liberal arts programs.
l The Eugene and Lucinda Goodrich house at 1711 Mass. was approved under the "Historic Resources" document as an example of Queen Anne architecture. Eugene Goodrich, the eighth postmaster of Lawrence, had the house built around 1890.
l Witter McCurdy, a land speculator and investor, had the house at 909 W. Sixth St. built around 1870. It remained in the family until 1917.
Hagdorn-Krass said properties nominated to the register must be at least 50 years old, retain a high degree of their original appearance, and have either architectural or historical significance.
Kehde hopes more such properties and neighborhoods can be nominated using the new document.
"If it does it's a good thing," she said. "There have been very few listings the last few years.
"I think it's a big leap forward."