The Danville Hotel and McCauley House have been designated Danville heritage resources after receiving unanimous support by the Town Council on Tuesday.
The resolutions establishing the designations were approved after a 15-minute presentation by city engineer Steve Lake and a brief discussion among the council members consisting mostly of praises to the work done by Lake and his staff.
Lake's presentation included not just a pitch for the two Hartz Avenue landmarks, but also an update on the beautification projects that have gone on around them over the past year.
"A pretty extraordinary group of downtown projects that all came at the same time," Councilman Newell Arnerich said during the discussion at the Town Meeting Hall. "You and the staff did an amazing job ... It is really, I think, some of the best projects we've done."
The capital-improvement program included re-paving on Hartz and Railroad avenues and installation of new decorative crosswalks at the Hartz-Railroad intersection and at Railroad and Prospect avenues.
The town projects downtown were in addition to the ongoing private redevelopment of the Danville Hotel site at Hartz and Prospect, which includes new modern restaurant and storefront space, and second-story living units. The Danville Hotel and McCauley House are also being restored and preserved as part of the project.
An endgame of the downtown efforts was to help the two buildings meet the criteria of a heritage resource, as well as improve the aesthetics of the surrounding neighborhood, Lake said. Town officials also hope the improved downtown corridor will reap benefits from the landmarks' new title.
Since its opening in 1891, the Danville Hotel has undergone several renovations and reinventions. It has also seen a complete reorientation, being turned a full 180 degrees in 1927. Soon after the reorientation, the hotel became a fine-dining and boarding house with upstairs living areas.
Having seen several ownership changes over the past half-century, the hotel has experienced a variety of structural modifications and use changes, included being incorporated into western-themed buildings added to the site in the 1960s. The deteriorating "Wild West" structures were demolished as part of the current redevelopment.
The adjacent McCauley House, which was built in 1892, is a 1 1/2-story Folk Victoria-Style home purchased by the McCauley family in 1911.
Despite a 2002 resolution placing both buildings on the town's survey of historically significant resources, as well as a 2010 evaluation by a third-party historic architect deeming both buildings historically significant, neither had been officially declared heritage resources until Tuesday.
Along with the construction update, Lake provided research regarding the town's Engineering Department.
According to his numbers, the town of Danville has seen an increase in building permit requests and issuances. Also included in Lake's reports was that the town's paved roads now all meet the minimum quality standards.
"The town has experienced one of the best years for a long time, with our capital improvements," Lake said. "What we've been doing downtown rivals what we did 100 years ago with the community center and rivals what we did with our veteran's memorial hall."