State review board approves creation of Wayne Junction National Historic District

The state Historic Preservation Review Board Tuesday approved the creation of a Wayne Junction National Historic District, the beginning of an effort to preserve and redevelop some manufacturing and warehouse buildings left over from the neighborhood’s industrial past.

The area, which includes 17 structures built between the late-19th and mid-20th centuries identified as potential preservation and reuse targets, now becomes only the second industrial historic district in the city. The Callowhill Industrial Historic District is the other.

The designation will give the Nicetown CDC a historic angle they can use to highlight the area’s past and potential building uses to developers, and property owners can qualify for tax credits to offset up to 20 percent of the cost of building rehabs.

The reason why

In December, Northwest community planner Matt Wysong brought members of the community together to talk about the effort for both state and city historic designations.

The Wayne Junction district was chosen for historical designation based on two things, Wysong said. First was the district’s historic significance as a hub for industrial innovation, and second was because of the architectural distinction of its buildings.

For decades, the Wayne Junction area hummed with industrial activity, as raw materials arrived on train cars and left the neighborhood’s factories as finished goods — everything from hosiery to hairpins, photographic plates to ball bearings. Many of the building sites, though vacant and run-down, retain remarkable architectural and aesthetic details.

Wysong said a similar application to the city’s historical commission remains under consideration.

****

Contact Amy Z. Quinn at azquinn@planphilly.com.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.