Oil City is home to 3 distinct historic districts with over 2,000 parcels on the National Register of Historic Places. This means that Oil City is graced with numerous sites and structures that have significance to the history of our community, the state, and the nation.
The National Register, authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, is administered by the National Park Service (NPS) under the U.S. Department of the Interior. Frequently asked questions regarding the National Register of Historic Places Program, including restrictions, grant money, and tax credits for historic property owners, can be answered on the NPS webpage.
Oil City's largest historic district, the North Side Historic District, has 1,223 parcels named in the original National Register. The South Side Historic District houses 910 parcels while the Downtown Commercial Historic District has 65 parcels.
Preserving the Rich History of Our City
Preserving our historic buildings is of the utmost importance. Preservation, defined as "the act or process of applying measures necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity, and materials of a historic property," focuses on the ongoing maintenance and repair of historic materials and features rather than extensive replacement and new construction. Several sources are available to help you maintain the historic appearance of your building. The NPS has compiled 50 preservation briefs to provide guidance and to help historic building owners recognize and resolve common problems prior to work. The Secretary of the Interior has created a series of concepts, identified as The Standards, focusing on maintaining, repairing, and replacing historic materials. Additionally, The Secretary of the Interior developed new Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties, offering general design and technical recommendations to assist in applying the Standards to a specific property. Jointly, these sources offer guidance for decision-making about work or changes to a historic property.
Interested in more in-depth training on historic preservation? Access the NPS Technical Preservation Online Training for guidance on preserving, restoring, and rehabilitating historic buildings. Training topics include managing moisture in your historic house, historic preservation tax incentives, roofing from asbestos to zincs, and many others. If you are unsure whether your property is situated in one of Oil City's 3 historic districts, contact the Community Development Department.