MOREHEAD, Ky. (FOX 56) – Kentucky ranks No. 5 in the nation for the number of sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Recently a new site was added in Rowan County, adding to the more than 4000 districts and structures already listed.

Fifty-three structures in the downtown district of Morehead are now on the registry.

The nomination was authored by Tony Pence, the director of Downtown Morehead Inc. Pence said the city’s history motivated him to find ways to preserve and repurpose notable buildings.

Pence said, “On the very spot we’re sitting here in 1884 a feud began, the Tolliver-Martin feud kicked off after an election here and it was one of the famous Kentucky blood feuds.”

For the past decade, Pence has been working to preserve the past of the area.

He explained, “A lot of the buildings that are very old here in town, have been lost to fire, they’ve been torn down. We tried to trace down the original downtown commercial district. we followed along 3 paths; how was the community developed, Transportation was a big thing then and also education was big here in Morehead.”

The effort has gotten national attention. The National Parks Service recently listed Morehead’s Downtown District on its National Register of Historic Places.

The Kentucky Heritage Council also played a role in helping the district be nominated.

Craig Potts, the council’s executive director, added, “The first thing it does, is it is honorary. It is that stamp of approval and there is a lot of pride that comes with being listed on the national register.”

The designation also opens the door for more development by offering incentives to building owners to fix up and repurpose buildings no longer in use but hold historical significance.

Pence continued, “You can get 30-40% of your investment back. These buildings require a lot of renovation and hundreds of thousands of investments, and we are you are talking about that kind of money 30% of a million dollars is a big chunk of change.”

Several of the buildings included in this downtown district date back to the late 1800s.

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