American bandstand: Humboldt makes register

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January 23, 2014 - 12:00 AM

After two years of planning, applying and waiting, Humboldt’s town square bandstand is now on the National Register of Historical Places.
The Downtown Action Team was notified this week of the Jan. 8 listing. Larry Tucker, Humboldt city administrator, said he is pleased with the end result.
“It’s a center point in our town,” he said. “Hopefully, it will bring lots of people to the area.”
Two summers ago the team contacted the Kansas Historical Society and told them about the park and bandstand. Two women from the society came down and examined the area. The bandstand, which was built in the early 1900s, was a good candidate for the list. The team was told the entire park qualified. Because the property belongs to the city, the team addressed the council.
“The council had concerns that if the park was included we wouldn’t be able to add anything to the park,” Tucker said.
Once a place is listed on the Register any improvements must be approved by them. So the team went ahead and submitted only the bandstand as a potential qualifier.
The DAT made improvements to the bandstand. It raised $10,000 in materials to make cosmetic changes to the flooring, ceilings and new lighting.
“B & W and Monarch helped a lot with the material and labor,” Tucker said. “We found out that the pillars were about to fall in and B & W helped fix that.”
Tucker said with the new improvements the team hopes the bandstand will last another 50 years.
“This is really a community project,” he said. “Hopefully people can feel proud.”
The Humboldt High School Band will have a spring concert on the stand and other entertainment will play on the structure in the future.

THE STAND is just the beginning for Humboldt. The DAT is working toward having a historic business district. There will be a survey done this summer to examine buildings around the square and in the city. Tucker said the properties that qualify will be available for tax credit funding or grant fundings.
Before, a Kansas law made it difficult to have buildings qualify. Tucker credited Sen. Caryn Tyson and the late Ed Bideau to have the law removed.
“This helps build and upgrade historical structures in small communities,” Tucker said.
There are about 30 properties that will be included in the survey this summer.
Tucker said the city is hoping to include more of Humboldt on the National Register list. A cabin and shelter in Hunter Park southwest of town are also candidates.
“The cabin is close to 100 years old,” he said. “It would accomplish the same thing. Bring people to the community and take advantage of the park.”

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