HISTORIC DISTRICT TO BE ASSESSED
CARSON CITY — A state official said Friday the damage suffered to the Wells historic area following a 6.0-magnitude earthquake, “looks discouraging.”
“You can save anything,” said state Historic Preservation Officer Ron James. “The question is how much money it will cost.”
The extent of the damage to the block of historic buildings on Seventh Street will be part of an assessment performed by a team of state officials that traveled to Wells in northeastern Nevada on Friday, he said.
The damage to the historic structures will be evaluated primarily with photos, James said.
The significance of the Wells historic area was that an entire block of structures was still standing, as opposed to a single building, he said.
“It’s a tragedy,” James said. … This kind of thing, or a fire or even just neglect, makes the surviving structures all the more sacred.”
James said he does not know if there is money available to repair the structures, many of which appeared to suffer at least some damage based on news photos and film footage.
The state has a cultural preservation program with $3 million available each year, but it cannot be spent on privately owned structures, he said. The buildings in Wells are in private hands. The next grant cycle is also more than a year away.
There are also federal tax credits for those who spend money to fix up their privately owned historic structures, but they must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, James said.
None of the structures in Wells are currently on either the state or federal register, although they could be eligible, he said.
The Wells Chamber of Commerce lists a number of historic buildings in the downtown area, including the Wells Bank Building, opened in 1911, and the Progress Building, moved to Wells from another town.
By SEAN WHALEY/REVIEW-JOURNAL CAPITAL BUREAU