Frisco launches historical resource survey, asks community to help detail property histories
FRISCO — What can Frisco’s oldest and most notable buildings help us learn about the town’s history?
That’s the question officials are pushing out to community members as the town begins efforts to dig deeper into its past as part of its recently launched Historical Resource Survey Project, an effort to collect the details and histories behind the town’s historic buildings, contextualize their place in Frisco’s development and decide how their stories can help to continue telling the town’s.
“We’re hoping people will step forward and have some kernels of information stored away in their own personal archives that they’d be willing to share with us,” said Susan Lee, a planner with Frisco. “There are holes in our history, but maybe people can share their stories. We want to memorialize that information.”
Frisco currently maintains a Historic Overlay District, which is meant to promote the protection of the town’s heritage, along with offering incentives for property owners looking to maintain the integrity of historical structures through rehabilitation and preservation projects.
Town officials are hoping to create a more robust document outlining which properties are the most valuable to Frisco’s history, a move that could come in handy down the line as the town considers other preservation projects.
“At the end, we’ll have some idea of how to describe what’s left in Frisco, if there are projects worthy of preservation, how that should be done and other similar questions,” said Suzannah Reid, a historic preservation specialist enlisted by the town to facilitate the project.
Reid already has the ball rolling. The town has selected more than 25 buildings for further evaluation — built from the 1880s through the 1950s, including the Excelsior House, the Marina Office, a number of structures on Main Street and more — through initial research via property records, visual review and resources available from the Frisco Historic Park & Museum. During a virtual meeting Wednesday, May 6, with town staff and members of the public, Reid walked community members through the different elements of the project and outlined how residents can pitch in.
Officials are looking for details to determine a structure’s value in three categories: significance, integrity and context. Significance deals with issues surrounding the historical importance of the property, including its architecture, engineering, cultural ties and more. Integrity is the authenticity of the property in regard to how well it’s been maintained, whether it’s been moved and whether it’s still conveying its historical significance. Context will dive into less readily available details, such as who lived there, what activities went on there and more.
“This is the area that I need the most help with,” Reid said. “Because these are the things where (community members) really know what happened and when, and who did what and why. Particularly in Frisco there’s a lot of historic information we usually rely on that doesn’t exist or isn’t easily tracked. So I’m hoping that you and your friends will have things to contribute.”
Individuals looking to contribute — whether it’s stories, detailed construction information, photographs or more — should submit a historic resource survey form available on the town’s website. A complete list of survey properties also can be found on the site.
The survey, which is being funded through a state grant, is not comprehensive, and other historic properties can be added to further surveying efforts in the future.
It’s also unclear what, if anything, town officials will choose to do with the information once it’s catalogued, but it will help to inform any preservation conversations moving forward.
“Once the survey is complete, there will be another public hearing where we present the materials to the town and community,” Reid said. “The results can form the basis for further community discussions about how and what might be preserved and what things may not be worthy of preservation.”
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