We're proud of our history, and we value our distinctive architectural and cultural resources. Albany's National Register of Historic Districts possesses a significant concentration of buildings in a small geographic area like no other in the state of Oregon. These buildings represent a variety of architectural styles, craftsmanship, and development patterns that helped shape our city and make it what it is today.
Although scattered throughout the city, our architectural inventory is for the most part concentrated in three National Register Historic Districts - the Monteith, Hackleman, and Downtown Commercial. Two were named for the families who joined the Oregon Trail in the 1840's, and all three hug the Willamette River, the heartbeat of our city. A portion of the Albany Municipal Airport is also a National Register Historic District. The National Register is the official list of our nation's significant districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be worthy of preservation.
In 1985, the City of Albany passed an ordinance requiring all designated historic buildings within the historic districts and those included on the City's official landmark inventory to go through a review process for exterior alterations, additions, and demolition. Review is by Planning Department staff or the Landmarks Commission. New construction within historic districts also requires review. The purpose for reviewing alterations is to encourage the preservation of characteristics, repairing rather than replacing, and when replacement is necessary, using materials that match the original material in composition, design, and texture.
- Historic District Overlay Ordinance Article 7 (81K pdf)
- Historic property alteration applications are available on the A-Z Forms and Checklists page or in-person at City Hall in the Community Development Department.
Do you reside in one of Albany's National Register Historic Districts? The three ratings below are used to classify properties within the districts:
Properties that retain and exhibit sufficient integrity (materials, design, and setting) to convey a sense of history. These properties strengthen the historic character of the district.
Properties that retain but do not exhibit sufficient historic features to convey a sense of history. These properties do not strengthen the historic character of the district in their current condition.
Properties from outside the period of significance, and properties that do not retain sufficient historic integrity to convey a sense of history. These properties do not strengthen the historic character of the district.
Projects Requiring Historic Review
Exterior Alterations to buildings built before 1946
Exterior alterations to buildings constructed before 1946 (rated either Historic Contributing or Historic Non-Contributing) require historic review either by staff or the Landmarks Commission. Examples of alterations include: additions, alterations to any existing exterior feature or element of the building, new window or door openings or changing the size of existing window and door openings. The Landmarks Commission reviews alterations visible from the street. Staff reviews minor alterations not visible from the street.
The Use of Substitute Materials
Replacing original materials (usually wood) with "substitute" materials requires review by the Landmarks Commission. This includes replacement of windows, doors, siding and trim, porch columns and railings, and decorative elements. Substitution of a non-original material for a compatible material is reviewed by staff and considered an exterior alteration.
New structures within the historic districts over 100 square feet require historic review. Projects visible from the street go to the Landmarks Commission for review.
Demolition or Relocation
Demolition of historic landmarks is an extreme and final measure. All Properties within the historic districts require demolition or relocation review. The Landmarks Commission reviews these requests.
Design guidelines for Albany's residential historic properties
The purpose of these guidelines is to help property owners and contractors choose an appropriate approach to issues that arise when working on historic buildings or properties, so that projects satisfy the standards and review criteria in the Albany Development Code.
These guidelines are also intended to help property owners and others understand the special features and characteristics of Albany’s historic structures, and incorporate that understanding into designs for rehabilitation work, alterations, additions, and new construction.
- Rehabilitation Guidelines (pdf)
- New Construction Guidelines (pdf)
- Fences Guidelines (pdf)
- Albany’s Architectural Styles (pdf)
- Illustrated Architectural Dictionary
Projects Exempt from Historic Review
- ALL projects
- General repair and maintenance
- Replacement of existing elements if it is done with the same materials
- Composition of shingle roof replacement to composition roofs