Bowman commercial district placed on National Registry of Historic Places
The Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has announced the City of Bowman’s commercial district has been placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The nomination was sponsored by the City of Bowman.
The effort to achieve the designation has been a long one, sometimes stalled due to differing opinions on what the designation actually meant and the restrictions it might put on business owners. Despite the differences, former councilman and local business owner Scott Harpold spearheaded the effort over the last decade until finally seeing it come to fruition.
“I started working on the nomination about 10 years ago,” said Harpold. “The application took me more than a hundred or so hours to complete and it was a proud moment for the town of Bowman.”
Despite his effort at the time, Harpold said the application was stalled by members of council due to “political differences.” Despite the setback, Harpold continued the effort by having two buildings he owns, 6 and 7 Public Square, placed on the list.
“Those buildings became the first in Bowman to be listed on the Register,” said Harpold. After winning a seat on council in 2013, Harpold again asked the city to consider having the business district placed on the national registry and this time, won approval from the city’s governing board.
“Debby Walker re-sent the application and got the process started again,” said Harpold. “She has played an integral role in helping the city to obtain the listing.”
The approval letter states, “The buildings that comprise the historic district are excellent representative examples of commercial buildings built in small towns throughout Georgia in the early decades of the 20th century. Bowman retains its intact historic town plan of streets, and its commercial buildings organized around a public square and the railroad. Most of the commercial buildings are brick, with storefronts supported by cast-iron columns to allow larger display windows. The buildings’ entablatures are ornamented with brick corbels, panels, and basket-weave patterns. The historic district boundary extends south and west of the square to include commercial buildings fronting South Broad Street, a major thoroughfare.”
Harpold said the city will see benefits from the designation.
“Listing the district on the national register will help to bring in more tourism to Bowman, is the first step in protecting our historic downtown, and it allows local business owners the opportunity to lock in tax rates for nine years and get a 20% refund on federal and state taxes for renovations if they follow historic guidelines,” said Harpold.
Both Harpold and the acceptance letter made it clear that being listed on the National Register of Historic Places does not place any obligations or restrictions on the use, treatment, transfer or disposition of the property.