Cadillac Historic District
What is a Historic District?
A historic district is an area where residents have decided they want to keep the look and feel of the place they call "home" by adopting a local preservation ordinance and then creating a historic district commission to administer it. This local legislation declares historic preservation to be a public purpose and of value to the entire community.
Creating a historic district is one of the few ways to protect the historic character of buildings, streetscapes, and neighborhoods from inappropriate alterations, incompatible new construction, and demolition. A historic district does not freeze an area or buildings in time, but acts as a tool to manage change, preserving the community's unique historic character as an area evolves over time.
History of the Cadillac Historic Districts Commission
In April 2005, the Cadillac City Council adopted an ordinance to establish the Cadillac Historic District. Located in the heart of Cadillac just one block east of downtown, the district is mostly within the boundaries of the original 1871 Plat of the Village of Clam Lake (the Village of Clam Lake became the City of Cadillac in 1877). For a more detailed view of the district's exact boundaries, see the Cadillac Historic Districts Map.
Primarily residential, nearly 70% of the contributing structures in the Cadillac Historic District were built prior to 1910 and are mostly wood frame, single-family homes. Many are larger, Victorian-style residences built by the lumber barons and prominent businessmen that helped establish Cadillac in the 1870s.
Historic Districts Commission
The Historic Districts Commission (HDC) is responsible for maintaining the historic integrity of Cadillac's historic districts. This is accomplished through public education and outreach efforts, along with review and approval of construction projects impacting the exterior of historic structures. The HDC publishes a yearly newsletter to provide information on various current and historical topics for property owners and residents of the Cadillac Historic District.
The HDC is filled by seven members, one of whom must be a registered architect if possible, and commissioners serve for three-year terms. HDC meetings are held on the second Monday of each month at 5:00 p.m. in the council chambers at the City Offices.
Want to Renovate a Home in the Cadillac Historic District?
The exterior alteration, addition, or removal of existing elements where there is a change in the design, materials, or general appearance of any property within the historic district will be subject to approval by the HDC. General routine maintenance will not require HDC approval. To apply for HDC approval of your project, fill out a Construction Activity Application.
In 2006, the HDC developed the Cadillac Historic District Design Guidelines to help property owners maintain the historic integrity of their homes. The guidelines are also for use by design professionals and contractors as they prepare rehabilitation plans for structures in the historic district.
If you have any questions regarding the historic districts of Cadillac, the HDC, or the design guidelines, please contact the Community Development Department at (231) 775-0181.