It’s All About Streetscape
We’re losing our streetscapes, or the consistent scale and features of a block face or subdivision. Changing the facade of a home by raising the roof or removing the historic street-facing features ruins the historic streetscape. Yalecrest is made up of 22 subdivisions, each with its own unique architectural style, for example, the Cottage District on Princeton and Laird Avenues between 15th and 17th East.
People often cite the scenic streetscapes as the reason they moved to Yalecrest; yet, too frequently we’re seeing remodels and newly constructed homes that are not consistent with the existing development patterns and streetscapes.
For example, Michigan Avenue between 1700 East and 1800 East has changed dramatically in recent years—the original historic streetscape no longer exists; several historically contributing homes have been demolished. Take a look below:
Download the K.E.E.P. Yalecrest brochure additional information: Saving Our Streetscapes (note: it’s formatted for printing double-sided on legal size paper)
Yalecrest Variety of Period Revival Architecture and Streetscapes
Yalecrest is Historically Significant
The first subdivision was platted in 1913, with the first home in the Yalecrest neighborhood built in 1911. Nearly 100 years later, the area was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (2007).
Yalecrest is a significant area of study and appreciation by the Utah Heritage Foundation, which has featured its annual historic homes tour several times in the area. View the guidebooks:
On Oct. 8, 2011, Salt Lake Modern featured a home designed by one of Utah’s first modernists, Taylor Woolley, who is known as the architect that introduced the Prairie School Style to Utah in 1911. Outside the state, Woolley is known as Frank Lloyd Wright’s trusted draftsman and a prominent figure in the popular book “Loving Frank.” Professor Peter Goss, architectural historian and photographer, gave highlights of Woolley’s career as an architect and his impact on Utah.
Though Yalecrest holds the honor of a National Register District designation, there is nothing involved with it that can save historic structures from demolition. A local historic district designation is the only means of saving homes from destruction.
See this Facebook screenshot showing what can happen to a historic structure in a National Register District:
We’re Losing Precious Historic Structures
In summer 2009, residents of the Yalecrest neighborhood were outraged when a graceful Tudor revival on Yale Avenue was doomed for demolition. The owner was planning for a new home nearly three times as large. Facing vocal opposition, the owner decided to list the home for sale instead. Neighbors pooled their money and offered to purchase the home for cash to save it. Unfortunately, the owner decided not to sell and went through with his demolition and reconstruction.
Read The Salt Lake Tribune Aug. 7, 2009 editorial in favor of a local historic district for Yalecrest: This Old House
It’s Important to Salt Lake City
The Salt Lake City Council adopted an Historic Preservation Philosophy statement in 2011, resolving to establish “historic preservation as an important tool to protect and preserve historically, architecturally, and culturally significant areas, structures an sites within the city; to foster civic pride in the history of the city; to protect and enhance the attraction of the city’s historic landmarks and districts; and to enhance economic development.” Read Salt Lake City’s Preservation Program Philosophy
Historic Neighborhoods Are City Assets
From the Utah Heritage Foundation:
“Historic neighborhoods are often a city’s strongest asset. They traditionally provide several benefits including: being located near downtown central business districts and other neighborhood nodes; cutting commute times and giving alternative transportation choices; offering walkability to nearby businesses as well as schools, parks and churches; providing fully grown landscaping with a street canopy of trees; and featuring a range of housing styles, types, and sizes that meet the demand for a range of buyers and lifestyles.
Though these neighborhoods may be seeing a resurgence of interest today as people seek quality over quantity and a lifestyle closer to the cultural heart of communities, it hasn’t always been that way. Starting in the 1960s, a nationwide decline in urban areas led to a movement to eradicate blight, slums, and even marginal neighborhoods through urban renewal. The demolition of hundreds of thousands of buildings meant the loss of neighborhood character, and sometimes in its place, the erection of vastly out of scale new buildings that did not foster a livable community for the next generation.
Historic preservation emerged as the solution with the leading set of tools from both the public and private sector, both regulatory and incentive-based, to stabilize and often reverse the trends of neighborhood decline. Local historic districts, found today in over 2,300 zoning ordinances nationwide, provide a level of consistent decision-making that is local, yet based on national standards for design criteria.”
Variety of Housing Stock
Yalecrest has been popular since its founding because of its unique variety of homes for many different household sizes. For instance, there are duplexes and small starter homes and more majestic near-mansions—all in the same neighborhood. This allows for the ability to “move up” or “move down” according to family size and needs. The destruction of smaller homes and homogenization of the housing stock prices many households out of the Yalecrest market.