As the owner of a historic home, you may be aware of the valuable resource your home is to the historical character of Stillwater. The Stillwater Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) would like to provide you with some basic information on how to preserve, restore, or rehabilitate your home as part of the unique historical fabric of Stillwater.

  • Preservation is generally defined as measures that are necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity, and materials of a historic home. This includes ongoing maintenance and repair of historic materials and features, the stabilization of severely deteriorated materials, and limited upgrades for code-required work including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.
  • Rehabilitation is work associated with an efficient, compatible use or re-use of a historic home through sensitive repairs, alterations, and additions while preserving those portions or features of a historic home that convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values.
  • Restoration is the process of returning a building to an appearance it had during a particular time period in history and may include the removal of current features and the replication of missing features.
Use the Rehabilitating a Historic Home brochure for more detailed information on best practices for alterations, new additions, and the treatment and materials associated with porches, siding and windows.

The Basics

  1. Before beginning any repair or maintenance work, evaluate the existing condition of the historic features. Deteriorated historic materials should be repaired and reused. Only severely deteriorated materials should be replaced.
  2. Use a knowledgeable contractor, who can often repair historic materials for less than what it would cost to replace them with new materials.
  3. If you alter the exterior, add a new addition, or construct a new building, try to:
    • Use construction practices that preserve the essential form and integrity of the historic building should the addition or alteration be removed;
    • Ensure new features are compatible with the historic home in terms of size, scale, massing, design, and proportion by locating them at the rear of your house or set them back on a side of the house, avoiding adding new features that are taller than the historic home;
    • Use materials found on the historic home, but slightly differentiate them from the old to avoid creating a false historic appearance
    • Avoid damaging or destroying character-defining historic materials and features by using the gentlest means possible to preserve historic materials. Avoid chemical or physical treatments, such as sandblasting, that may damage historic materials.
  4. If a house is missing character-defining historic features, consider replacing them with reproductions that are based on historical documentation, such as a photographs and/or physical evidence.
  5. Do not add conjectural features such as features from other houses that, when added to your home, result in a combination of features that never existed together historically.

National Park Service’s Preservation Briefs

National Park Service Preservation Briefs help home owners, preservation professionals, organizations, and government agencies by publishing easy-to read guidance on preserving, rehabilitating and restoring historic buildings.

Briefs focus on a wide range of topics including, but not limited to:

  • Conserving Energy in Historic Buildings
  • The Use of Substitute Materials on Historic Buildings
  • New Exterior Additions to Historic Buildings: Preservation Concerns
  • Heating, Ventilating, and Cooling Historic Buildings: Problems and Recommended Approaches
  • Understanding Old Buildings: The Process of Architectural Investigation

To view more Preservation Briefs visit