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HAPC upholds historical traditions

Residents comply with historical ordinances in honor of tradition

Nadya Korytnikova, For The Miami Student

When seniors Brian Beré and David Nelson moved into their Uptown rental house in the fall of 2013, the front door on the two-story home was painted bright red.

Two weeks ago, each of the eight students who currently live in that house received an e-mail from their realtor at Red Brick asking them to paint the door a different shade, preferably black.

Being one of the oldest towns in Ohio, Oxford has a very long history - one steep with tradition. Even today, this history is captured throughout the streets of Oxford; every bit of construction, and each detail of architecture is thought out in such a way to preserve that history.

"Our realtor from Red Brick let us know that the color of our door has to be changed from red to black because it is a historic pre-civil war house," Nelson said. "Basically the outside appearance has to stay the same as when it was originally built."

Just like most other buildings in Oxford, the boys' home, located on 214 Church St., has a very long history. However, according to the Oxford Historical Preservation's official website, "the house was probably built before the Civil War, but little is known about its occupants in the 1800s and 1900s."

The only fact that remains known about this house is the Presbyterian Church inherited it from an old woman who did not have any family. The Presbyterian Church sold the house to Red Brick Realty Company, which eventually renovated the house and painted the door red.

Oxford is divided into three districts, one of which is the Uptown Historic District. The Uptown Historic District includes nine blocks on East High street, South Campus avenue and East Spring street.

In order to save Oxford's historical architectural structures, the Historic and Architectural Preservations Commission (HAPC), which was founded in 1979, created a list of design policies. A design policy is an outline of requirements that every construction in the district, such as a house, college campus structure, monument, fountain or sculpture must follow in order to preserve the architecture standards of the past.

Every aspect of the buildings in Oxford, including the door of the 214 Church St. house carries important historical value. HAPC has an extensive list of door design policies. For example, one of them states that "Door styles with small, irregular shaped windows should be avoided" in order to create an inviting atmosphere to passers-by. Another policy states that "doors should be treated with the pain matching the existing color of the doors" which explains why house on 214 Church St. had to be repainted from the red to its original black color.

According to a document published by the HAPC, the organization's main goal is to "prevent deterioration of historic properties and promote revitalization through investment and economic development."

"The need for maintaining the historical look of Oxford is an important asset to community," Oxford City Planner Sam Perry said. "The people who live Uptown Oxford can easily change the interior design of their houses, but the outside of the houses must strictly follow the design rules created by the HAPC."

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