Historic buildings dating from the 1850s to the 1950s are found throughout Muscatine. These buildings provide a glimpse into times of the past and reflect the history of the community through the built environment. Research on historic buildings reveals information on the history of the occupants, owner, and architecture. Additionally, it provides another thread to the overall quilt of Muscatine’s history. Many resources to research the history of a building can be found at the Musser Public Library. Research on some buildings in Muscatine has been completed through projects of the Muscatine Historic Preservation Commission.
Identification and evaluation of the historic buildings in Muscatine is one of the primary goals of the Muscatine Historic Preservation Commission. The Muscatine Historic Preservation Commission was formed by local ordinance in 2000, consisting of five members currently. They hold regular monthly meetings, open to the public. As part of their responsibilities and duties, they launched a phased program to identify, evaluate, register, and protect the cultural resources of Muscatine. They completed a Planning for Preservation Study during 2002-2003 as the first phase of this program. The development of the historic contexts and survey of the downtown commercial district was recommended as the first phase of a comprehensive survey and evaluation program for the City of Muscatine, completed in 2004-2005. The West Hill neighborhood survey was recommended as a future project as well, and it was completed in 2005-2006. This report also included additional recommendations for future survey areas. Iowa Site Inventory forms were prepared for each property within the survey areas, and they can be found by following the links below. In 2012-2013, the Muscatine Historic Preservation Commission followed up these earlier projects by surveying the Fair Oak neighborhood (by Weed Park) and the Colver Street neighborhood.
Historic buildings or neighborhoods that are found to have historic significance and integrity are eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Properties found to be eligible must go through a nomination process to be listed. The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. The National Register is administered by the National Park Service. As of 2008, thirteen individual buildings and two historic districts in Muscatine were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The two historic districts – the Downtown Commercial Historic District and the residential West Hill Historic District – were nominated through efforts of the Muscatine Historic Preservation Commission in 2006 and 2008.
Projects completed by the Muscatine Historic Preservation Commission (click to link to page with additional information and downloads):
Historical and Architectural Survey of Downtown Muscatine – report and survey forms
Historical and Architectural Survey of the West Hill Neighborhood in Muscatine – report and survey forms