How to Identify an Historic Building
Does your building qualify as an historic building? Here are a few ways to identify whether or not it fits the profile.
1) Doors and windows
One good way to determine the history of your building is by looking at its openings—that is, its doors and windows. Many historic buildings feature arched doorways and window openings. If your building does, then you may in fact own a piece of history, but there is another way to tell if you are unsure. Historic buildings tend to feature detailed architecture around the windows and doorways—that is, detailed and decorative stone patterns and even patterned brick-laying. Compare your building to some of its neighbors; if it has a lot more detail, then it might just be historic.
2) The Roof
There are a couple different roof styles to look for when it comes to identifying an historic building. For the most part, steep roof pitches can be a significant tell; however, an historic building may also present a more boxy shape with a flat roof and a parapet (where it looks like part of the front wall extends past the roof). Parapets can add a lot of extra character and detail to the building, but even steep-pitched roofs can feature a lot of ornamentation. If your roof has a lot of extra detail, there’s a good chance you’ve got an historic roof over your head.
Does your building have a lot of ornate and detailed trim work? This is a good indication of its historic status.
4) The Interior
There are a lot of interior features that can identify the historic nature of your building, too. For instance, the presence of fireplace mantels, elaborate stairways and balustrades, arched openings, cornices, ceiling medallions, wainscoting, and interior shutters. The presence, style, and detail of all of these features can help you determine whether or not your building is historic.