Historic District Guidelines

The local historic district was established in 1986 and includes all properties facing Main Street between Sycamore and Linden Streets. The District is a grouping of buildings, structures or sites that have architectural and/or historical merit as a whole, offering a sense of time and place, even though the buildings, structures or sites may not be of individual significance.

These design guidelines have been adapted from the U.S. Secretary of the Interior/National Park Service Standards for the treatment of historic properties. Specific references are made in these guidelines to Ravenna buildings, with local materials and methods of construction taken into consideration in assembling these guidelines. The guidelines are intended to aid in small scale, do-it-yourself projects on historic buildings, particularly renovation of houses and improvements to historic storefronts. These guidelines apply equally to larger renovations, but it is recommended that professional guidance be sought to insure the proper planning and execution of these projects. In many instances, it may be necessary to seek specific advice and guidance, as even minor renovations can involve special problems which demand careful planning and execution.

The Ravenna Design Review Commission serves to maintain the integrity, upgrade building stock and increase property values in the local historic district. The Commission meets “as needed” to review the Application for a Design Review Certificate for any constructing, changing buildings or changing the use of any premises within the City’s Historic District. The Commission meets at City Hall, 210 Park Way, during normal working hours and meetings typically last no longer than one hour. Specific information pertaining to the Ravenna Design Review Commission can be found in Part 14 – Building and Housing Code; Title Six – Miscellaneous Building Regulations, Chapter 1434 - Design Review District.

Building Exteriors

These guidelines are intended to protect property values, create a more attractive economic and business climate, preserve the dignity and architectural significance of the historic district, preserve its scenic and natural beauty, and provide a more enjoyable and pleasing community for its residents. They should not be construed so as to prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any exterior elements of any building or structure within the Historic District. For instance, painting is to be considered ordinary maintenance and repair. Anyone desiring an exterior color change may confer with the Ravenna Design Review Commission concerning an appropriate range of color. Do not use new colors which are inappropriate to the historic style of the building or neighborhood. Avoid loud colors and pastels, which are inappropriate for most historic buildings. Avoid using white paint exclusively, as many historic buildings were painted in a variety of historic colors. Where white would have been an appropriate color, use a soft off-white rather than a modern harshly bright white.

When an architectural element significant to the character of the building is in such a state of disrepair as to be hazardous, then stabilization or reconstruction may be considered.

Masonry: Brick, Stone, Terra Cotta, Stucco and Concrete

Clean masonry only when necessary to halt deterioration or to remove heavy soiling and use the gentlest means possible, such as low pressure water and detergents with natural bristle brushes. Carry out masonry surface cleaning after conducting tests on limited areas not exposed to public view, and leaving sufficient time to elapse (up to one month or more) to observe the long-range effects of such cleaning

When re-pointing is necessary, the replacement mortar should be compatible to the original. New mortars, which have a high concentration of Portland cement, are visually different and can also damage a structure. The rate of contraction and expansion of Portland cement is different than older lime mortar types. Old, soft brick walls containing sections re-pointed with mortar with a high concentration of Portland cement may become permanently damaged in extremes of temperature.

Inspect painted masonry surfaces to determine whether repainting is necessary. Remove damaged paint only to the next sound layer with the gentlest means possible. Apply compatible paint following proper surface preparation and repaint with historically appropriate colors.

SANDBLASTING BRICK OR STONE SURFACES SHOULD NOT BE UNDERTAKEN AS IT ABRADES THE SURFACE AND CAUSES PERMANENT DAMAGE. Pressure cleaning using any type of abrasive can be damaging, especially to buildings with old, softer brick surfaces. Cleaning with water pressure can also be damaging both to the masonry and mortar joints. Chemical cleaning should not be undertaken without extensive testing; acid should never be used on limestone or marble. Chemical residues should never be left on the building.

Paint should not be removed from masonry buildings which were painted historically. Paint which is already adhered to the masonry should not be removed, as it is probably protecting the masonry from further deterioration. Methods of removing paint which are destructive to the masonry should not be used.

Wood: Clapboard, Weatherboard, Shingles

The covering of wood siding, detailing, ornamentation, etc. with aluminum, vinyl or similar materials is prohibited except under extreme circumstances.

Preserve wood features that are important in defining the overall historic character of the building, such as siding, cornices, brackets, pediments, window hoods and other trim moldings, etc. Protect wood features by providing proper drainage so that water does not accumulate. Apply chemical preservatives to wood elements which are exposed to weathering and are traditionally unpainted.

Keep wood surfaces painted to protect them from deterioration. Remove damage paint prior to painting. In cases where severe paint failure is evident or where multiple layers of paint obscure decorative wood elements, such as brackets and spindles, carefully remove the old paint with electric hot-air guns. Use chemical paint strippers only to supplement conventional paint-removal methods, such as scraping. Check carefully all wood surfaces to determine whether patching or caulking is necessary. When patching wood surfaces use compatible materials cut to the same dimensions. Use a high-quality, long lasting caulk and avoid inexpensive latex caulks which usually have limited life spans.

Do not remove or radically alter wood decorative features as this can jeopardize the historic appearance of the building. The loss of historic cornices or other decorative trim can greatly change a building’s appearance.

Do not completely remove the old paint and then use a clear finish, such as varnish, to create a “natural look.” Do not use chemical preservatives, such as creosote, which can change the appearance of wood features. Do not use destructive paint removal methods: propane or butane torches can scorch the wood and burn off decorative features and they are also dangerous treatments which may cause fire. If chemicals are used to remove paint and they are not neutralized, the paint applied over these chemicals may not bond properly.


Repair a roof by reinforcing the historic materials which comprise the roof’s distinctive appearance, keeping the roof’s original appearance intact. It is important to have the roof membrane free of leaks to avoid damage to the building’s interior features. In situations where a feature of the roof is too deteriorated to repair and the overall form and detailing are still evident, use the physical evidence to guide the new work. For example, a large section of roofing which is deteriorated can be replaced with new materials to match the original. A chimney can be rebuilt according to its original form.

If it is not economically or technically feasible to use the same kind of material, then a compatible substitute material may be used. Especially when dealing with slate roofs, it is often less expensive to repair with original materials than to replace the roof with a new material, such as asphalt shingles. If composition shingles, such as fiberglass or asphalt are used, they shall be similar in color and appearance.

Gutters and downspouts should be kept in good condition. If the building has built-in gutters as an architectural feature, these should be repaired rather than replaced if feasible. In a situation where a new gutter and downspout system is required, consider using a system which is identical to the pre-existing system. Galvanized metal half-round gutters and round downspouts pipes are often preferable to aluminum gutters and downspouts. When replacing or repairing roof drainage systems, be sure to direct runoff away from the foundation to avoid damage here or to the lower walls. Paint the gutters and downspouts so that they match the color of the surrounding wall surface of the house. Do not accent these features in a trim color, etc.

Be sure that the replacement part is both physically and chemically compatible with the existing materials. For example, aluminum is now commonly used as a flashing material for new roofs, yet if aluminum comes in contact with an older metalwork it can have a chemical reaction damaging both materials and result in a leaking roof. Most buildings constructed after 1850 did not have wood shake shingles, and therefore this material should not be used as a replacement material. Furthermore, avoid removing a feature, such as an ornate chimney, which can harm the appearance of the building.


Identify which windows are original and authentic to the period of the building. For example, Federal and Greek revival style buildings often use small panes of glass that had a wavy, hand-blown appearance. Italianate style buildings often had rounded windows. Other distinctive features which are important in interpreting the architecture of the building are hood molds, decorated jambs, muntins, glazing, interior and exterior shutters and blinds.

Protect and maintain the historic window by preserving the wood and metal which make up the window frame, sash, muntins and surrounds, through appropriate treatment, such as cleaning, limited paint removal, rust removal and reapplication of protective coatings, such as paint.

Make windows weather tight by replacing or installing weather-stripping and re-caulking. By doing this, thermal efficiency is improved. Additional energy conservation methods, such as insulating glass or storm windows, shall be approved by the Design Review Commission.

Repair window frames by patching, consolidating or otherwise reinforcing. This could include replacing certain parts of the window, such as a rotted sill or sagging horizontal muntin, when they are extensively deteriorated. Use original materials, such as wood and metal, when replacing elements of windows. Decorative features, such as hood moldings, can also be replaced if surviving prototypes are readily available for copying.

If a window is so badly deteriorated that it cannot be salvaged (and most windows can be salvaged), then replacement windows should be constructed using surviving physical evidence of the original design. If the same material cannot be used for technical or economical reasons, then a compatible substitute material may be considered.

Do not remove or change windows which are important in identifying the overall historical character of the building so that, as a result, the character is diminished. For example, removing two historical double-hung windows and replacing them with a single large picture window can have a drastic effect on the buildings appearance. Also, adding new windows where none existed previously may harm the historic appearance of a building or adding new elements which are not original can damage the building’s architecture. For example, placing shutters on a Queen Anne style building that never had them originally can alter the building’s character. Even worse is the practice of adding shutters which are not the right size and cannot possibly function.

Obscuring historic window trim with metal or other materials and stripping windows of historic materials, such as wood, cast iron and bronze, can be injurious to the historic appearance. Failure to perform maintenance on a regular basis, such as painting and caulking, can also be injurious.

Porches and Entrances

Preserve porches, entrances and their various elements which are important in defining the overall character of the building. Elements of porches and entrances include doors, fanlights, side lights, pilasters, entablatures, columns, stairs, and balustrades. Materials which should be preserved include wood, masonry and architectural metal.

Repair entrances and porches and their various elements by reinforcing the historic materials or by limited replacement of elements with the same materials. Where certain elements are missing, such as columns or a balustrade, replace them with duplicates using the same material based on surviving prototypes.

Only if a porch is deteriorated to a point as to be hazardous should it be replaced. It must carefully be disassembled, salvaging all decorative features which can be re-used and saving at least one prototype of each element as a basis for making duplicates. Carefully reconstruct using materials that are compatible with the building. If using the same type of material is not economically feasible, then a comparable substitute material can be considered. When are no elements of an original porch remain, the replacement porch shall replicate the original or reflect the same period style. The new porch is to match the material and scale of the original porch.

Do not remove or radically alter a porch which is important in defining the overall historic character of the building. Removing historic materials or elements from a historic porch or entrance is not recommended. If the entrance served by the porch or decorative entrance way no longer functions as such, do not simply remove the feature. Cutting through a new entrance at another location on the principal façade can be most injurious to the appearance of the building. Altering utilitarian or service entrances so that they appear to be formal entrances by adding new decorative elements, such as fanlights and columns, is also detrimental.


The term “storefront” refers to the facade of the buildings that were originally commercial (i.e., general merchandise, warehouses, offices and financial institutions) or manufacturing. These guidelines do not concern buildings that were originally residential, but are now used commercially.

Removing or radically changing storefronts, especially the common tendency to brick-up or otherwise enclose a formerly glazed storefront opening, is harmful to the buildings character. It is important to preserve historic storefronts with the functional and decorative treatment, such as windows, signs, transoms, kick plates, corner posts and entablatures. Care should be given to protect and to maintain the basic elements of the storefronts, such as masonry, wood and architectural metals, through appropriate treatments, such as painting, cleaning and rust removal. Also, consider protecting storefronts against arson and vandalism by boarding up windows and installing alarm systems before work begins.

When general maintenance of windows becomes a problem and original upper story window sash are unrepairable, in many instances single pane thermal units may be considered an alternative. However, none of the defining character, such as decorative hood moldings, or size and shape of the original opening, may be altered. Introducing new elements such as a false mansard roof, coach lanterns, shake shingle roof, non-operable shutters and small paned windows that cannot be documented historically and/or changing the location of a storefront’s main entrance are not recommended. Removing a storefront to create a recessed arcade is also not recommended.

Repair storefronts by reinforcing historic materials. In instances where the storefronts have been modernized, carefully remove the later alterations and inspect for signs of original features or their former location and dimensions. If original elements are missing, conduct research by investigating old photographs or drawings and examining similar nearby buildings of the same period. Consult with an architect or designer with experience in historic preservation in situations where the original features are missing and a new treatment should be devised.

Sometimes a historic storefront has undergone changes that were of high-quality and have, over the course of time, become historic in their own right. For example, an Italianate commercial building may have a decorative terra cotta trim and Carrera glass added in the early years of the twentieth century. It is not recommended that one simply remove these interesting finishes in order to attempt to highly conjectural restoration of the original appearance. Preserve the terra cotta and Carrera glass.

Structural System

Preserve the structural system and especially the elements which define its historical character, such as post and beam systems, trusses, summer beams, cast iron columns, above grade stone foundation walls or load-bearing stone and brick walls. Protect and maintain the structural system by cleaning the roof gutters and downspouts and by keeping the roof flashing and membrane in good working order. Keep the structural system free from insect infestation. Repair the structural system by augmenting or replacing deteriorated individual parts or features. For example, weakened floor framing can be spliced, braced or otherwise supplemented and reinforced. When replacing defective structural elements, use substitute material that will convey the same form, height, design and overall visual appearance of the historic feature where exposed to view. Most importantly, substitute material should equal or be greater than the original load-bearing capabilities of the original features.

Limit any new excavations adjacent to historic foundations to avoid undermining the structural stability of the building or adjacent buildings. Design and install new mechanical systems, such as heating and cooling, water and sewage, and electric, in a manner which minimizes the number and size of cutouts and holes in structural members. Keep these new systems inconspicuous.

Add new floors when required for the new use if this alteration does not damage or destroy the structural system or obscure, damage or destroy character defining spaces, features or finishes. Create an atrium or light well to provide natural light when required for the new use in a manner that assures the preservation of the structural system, as well as, character defining interior spaces, features or finishes.

Do not remove, cover or otherwise radically change features of structural systems which are important in defining the character of the building. Putting a new use into a building for which it was not designed may harm the structural system of the building. Also installing new mechanical systems in such a manner that they damage the structural members is detrimental to the building. Do not leave known structural problems untreated, such as sagging beams, bowing walls, etc. Do not simply overlook evidence of possible structural damage. Introducing urea-formaldehyde foam insulation into frame walls can damage the wood structure.

New Construction

It is not the purpose of the ordinance to prohibit new construction within the historic district. Neither is it the purpose of this commission to inhibit design creativity for new construction. However, because the historic district has certain architectural features which define the neighborhood, new construction shall be of a quality and character that accentuates the surrounding built environment. Specifically, new construction is to be compatible in scale, building material, color and texture to the distinct architectural features of the historic district. This will be assured by the approval of all new construction designs by the Ravenna Design Review Commission.

Site Planning, Including Landscaping

The permitted and conditionally-permitted uses in Design Review District shall be consistent with the corresponding zoning districts as determined by the official Zoning Map of the City of Ravenna. In addition the following site standards shall be applicable:
  1. All new parking areas shall be constructed in the rear yard when possible. When lot size necessitates other placement, parking shall be screened. Method of screening is to be approved by the Design Review Commission. Driveways shall be constructed of concrete, bituminous material, such as black top, or the equivalent.
  2. Parking areas shall be screened from abutting areas zoned residential by a six foot high obscuring fence built or appropriate materials, or by a green belt.
  3. Fences may be erected of historic materials, such as wood, wrought iron or masonry, in the front yard subject to approval of the Design Review Commission.
  4. No property may have more than one point of ingress or egress, unless a safety or health hazard exists as defined in the Ravenna Zoning Code.
  5. Minimum setbacks (front yard) shall conform to the average established setbacks of existing buildings in the district within three hundred feet of the subject property.
  6. Minimum side yard and rear yard setbacks shall conform to the requirements of the corresponding zoning districts as indicated on the Zoning Map of the City of Ravenna.
  7. Consideration shall be given to historic landscape treatments or sympathetic landscape designs as part of the overall construction project.


All new signage or alterations to signage within the historic district shall be required to receive an approval of Application for Design Review unless otherwise noted in these regulations. No Application for Design Review shall be required for a change of copy on a sign, the customary use of which involves frequent and periodic change of copy. Nor shall an Application for Design Review be required to conduct ordinary maintenance or repair of any sign within the historic district. An Application for Design Review is not required for the following:
  1. Signs of duly constructed governmental bodies, such as legal notices and traffic or similar regulatory devices.
  2. Flags or emblems of political, civic, philanthropic, educational or religious organizations.
  3. Memorial plaques, cornerstones, and historical tablets, markers and the like unless one face exceeds six square feet in surface area.
  4. Signs posted in conjunction with doorbells or mailboxes.
  5. Signs required to be posted or maintained by law or government order, rule or regulation.
  6. Signs displayed strictly for the direction, safety or convenience of the public, such as signs which identify restrooms, parking area entrances or exits, etc.
  7. Address signs showing only the numerical address of the premises upon which they are situated, street names, “no trespass” and other warning signs, unless one face exceeds ninety-six square inches.
  8. Temporary real estate signs not exceeding ten square feet per face area.
  9. Temporary construction site signs erected on the site during the period of construction with the name of the owner or developer, contractor, architect or engineer. Such sign shall not be illuminated.
  10. Temporary signs or displays located on the inside of store windows related to the business conducted within.
  11. Temporary signs promoting charitable or public events will be allowed for a period not to exceed one month prior to and one week after the advertised event.


Before any sign is constructed, erected or altered, it must receive approval of Application for Design Review from the Ravenna Design Review Commission. Each application shall include the following and upon the request of the Ravenna Design Commission, submit any additional material deemed necessary:
  1. The exact location and height of the sign.
  2. The dimensions of the sign.
  3. The color, materials, character and method of illumination, if any.
  4. The method of supporting or fastening the sign.
  5. In the case of a projecting or free standing sign, the vertical distance between such sign and the finished grade and the horizontal distance between such sign and the curb.

Allowable Sign Types

  1. Flat Signs: Any sign painted or affixed to an exterior wall of a building having the face of the sign parallel to the building.
    1. One sign per establishment per street frontage.
    2. Shall not extend horizontally more than three inches from the building face.
    3. May appear without illumination or may be illuminated. Lighting source, design and placement must be unobtrusive as possible. Proposed method of lighting is subject to approval.
    4. May only carry a message related to a business or profession conducted, or a commodity or service sold or offered upon the premises where such sign is located.
  2. Dimensional Surface Signs: This sign type is also affixed to an exterior wall of a building with the face of the sign parallel to the building. It may consist in part, or in whole, of three dimensional letter forms applied directly to the building surface, or applied to a separate flat background. The message may be in relief or depressed by means of carving, etching, routing, positive or negative cutout, etc. special three dimensional signs, such as a figure, barber pole, clocks, etc., are generally acceptable provided these symbols meet appropriate guidelines.
    1. One sign per establishment per street frontage.
    2. Shall not extend horizontally more than twelve inches from the building face.
    3. May appear without illumination or may be illuminated. Lighting source, design and placement must be as unobtrusive as possible, and must be approved by the Ravenna Design Review Commission.
    4. May carry only a message related to a business or profession conducted, or a commodity or service sold or offered upon the premises where such sign is located.
    5. The sign shall be contained in a three-dimensional rectangle whose top does not exceed the second story window sills and shall have a minimum clearance of ten feet above the sidewalk.
  3. Projecting Signs: any sign projecting horizontally more than twelve inches from the building face.
    1. One sign per each pedestrian level tenant per street frontage, and one sign for each upper floor tenant.
    2. Shall not exceed sixteen square feet in surface area.
    3. Shall not exceed horizontally more than one-half the distance of the width of the sidewalk from the property line to the curb.
    4. May appear without illumination or may be illuminated. Lighting source, design and placement must be as unobtrusive as possible, and is subject to approval.
    5. May only carry a message related to a business or profession conducted, or a commodity or service sold or offered upon the premises where such sign is located.
    6. For pedestrian level establishments the sign shall be contained in a rectangle whose top edge does not exceed the second story window sill. The bottom edge shall have a minimum clearance of ten feet above the sidewalk.
    7. For establishments wholly contained on upper floors, the sign shall be contained within a rectangle whose top edge does not exceed the next higher story level window sills. For establishments contained on the top floor level, the sign shall be contained within a rectangle whose top edge does not exceed the roof line.
  4. Window Signs: Any permanent sign painted, gold leafed or attached onto the glass area or installed behind a window or in a showcase intended for viewing through the window from the outside of the premises.
    1. One per window.
    2. The area of permanent window signs will be limited to 20% of the window area, except in the case of a door sign when the sign’s area may be 50% of the glass area. In some instances window signs totaling more than 20% may be approved at the discretion of the Ravenna Design Review Commission.
    3. The sign area will be calculated for each window.
    4. May only carry a message related to a business or profession conducted, or a commodity or service sold or offered upon the premises where such sign is located.
  5. Free Standing Signs: Any sign having its own support system which is independent of a building (including bulleting boars, A-shaped sandwich signs for sidewalk use, etc.)
    1. One sign per pedestrian street level frontage.
    2. A-shaped sandwich signs may be up to four feet in height and up to ten feet per face area.
    3. May be located anywhere within the front yard or side yard of the establishment. Free standing signs, except A-shaped sandwich signs, cannot be located on the sidewalk. A-shaped sandwich signs may be located anywhere on the sidewalk directly in front of the establishment provided that the unobstructed sidewalk width is at least eight feet.
    4. Free standing signs may not exceed a height of 25 feet and must be visually compatible to the historic district. Surrounding signs, structures and proposed sign height will be considered in determining the sign area which would be appropriate.
    5. May only carry a message related to a business or profession conducted, or a commodity or service offered upon the premises where such sign is located.
    6. Free standing signs will not exceed sixteen square feet per face.
  6. Awning Signs: Any sign painted or sewn onto an awning. Awnings shall only be made of canvas or other cloth fabric. Metal, plastic and other rigid materials are prohibited.
    1. One sign per front and at each end cap of awning, if desired.
    2. The maximum height of lettering on awnings shall be twenty four inches. Symbols will be permitted provided the total area of any symbol and any lettering comprises no more than one-third of the awning area.
    3. The bottom of any awning shall be at least seven feet above the sidewalk.
  7. Temporary Signs: Any sign not permanently attached to a building, the ground or other structure. Mobile signs: Any sign originally constructed or designed for mobility, either self-propelled or non-self-propelled, shall be considered mobile and not a permanent sign, although the means or devices for mobility have been removed and their function replaced by a permanent type of foundation or anchorage to the ground.
    1. Shall not remain on display for a period exceeding four weeks.
    2. One sign per pedestrian level tenant, or one sign for each upper floor tenant.
    3. May appear without illumination or may be illuminated subject to approval by the Ravenna Design Review Commission.
    4. May only carry a message related to a business or profession conducted, or a commodity or service sold or offered upon the premises.
    5. May be located anywhere within the front yard of the establishment.
    6. May not exceed the height of eight feet from the ground level.

Prohibited Sign Types

  1. Roof Signs: Any sign placed on, over or above the roof or parapet of a building.
  2. Billboards And Other Off Premises Signs: Any sign which advertises goods, services, facilities, events or activities not related to its location or which directs persons to different premises from those on which the sign is located if such sign is attached to the outside surface of a building or structure, or to trees, fence posts, telephone posts, or is free standing.
  3. Flashing Signs: Generally, signs which flash, blink, revolve or otherwise convey motion will not be permitted. However, some of these sign types may be appropriate in a particular circumstance, such as the traditional rotating barber’s pole.

Other Provisions

  1. No sign, awning, canopy or other apparatus pertaining to signs shall be kept or maintained by supports of permanent posts or poles between the property line and curb.
  2. The method of attachment should respect the architectural integrity of the structure and relate to or become an extension of the architecture. No sign shall conceal architectural details.
  3. No sign shall be erected or constructed that is unsafe, insecure, a fire hazard, a wind hazard, a barrier to needed light or air, or is in any way a menace to public safety and welfare.
  4. The color and materials of any sign shall be harmonious with the color and materials of the building identified by the sign. Materials such as wood, wrought iron, steel, metal grill work and so forth, which were used in the nineteenth century, are encouraged. Non-historic materials, such as extruded aluminum or plastics, are not recommended.

Non-Conforming Signs

Signs of non-conforming nature which were legally installed at the date of this ordinance may continue to exist in accordance with the Ravenna Zoning Code.


In planning work on a historic building, it is important to develop a systematic approach to the project which will yield the desired results. The following are some terms used to describe processes in historic preservation. Some terms are recommended over others in guiding a preservation project. For instance, rehabilitation is preferable to remodeling in most situations, while reconstruction is rarely done because of its great cost.

Preservation is the process of sustaining the form and extent of a structure essentially as it now exists. It aims at halting further deterioration and providing structural stability where required, but does not involve significant rebuilding. Local examples of this are numerous and would include virtually any historic building which has been well maintained and whose owners are continuing to keep the building in good repair. The Immaculate Conception Church is a good example of preservation.

Restoration is the process of accurately recovering the form and details of a property as it appeared in a particular time by means of removal of later work and the replacement of missing original work. There are very few examples of this approach because it is often very expensive. The Etna House is, perhaps the best local example of restoration of an exterior façade.

Reconstruction is the process of reproducing by new construction the exact form and detail of a vanished structure, or part thereof, as it appeared at a specific period in time. According to federal guidelines reconstruction should only be undertaken when the property to be reconstructed is essential for understanding and interpreting the value of a historic district, and sufficient documentation exists to ensure an exact reproduction of the original. No local examples of reconstruction exist.

Replication is the process whereby an original structure is duplicated on another site, often with changes made for the sake of convenience. A wide variation in the quality of replicas exist. Sometimes they are useful when an important part of a group of buildings is no longer standing, but in many instances they can give a false impression of the original object.

Rehabilitation (or adaptive re-use) is the process of returning a property to a state or utility, through repair or alteration, which makes possible an efficient contemporary use. In a rehabilitation those portions of the property which are important in illustrating historic, architectural and cultural values are preserved or restored. This process is the most generally usable and respected technique in dealing with historic buildings today. Ravenna has a number of older houses where the historic exteriors and significant interior spaces have been restored, but the kitchens, bathrooms and mechanical systems have been updated for modern living.

Remodeling is the process of changing or adapting an old building to a new use, but without regard to the effect of these changes or modernizations on the building’s original character. This process can often damage a historic building as its essential architectural elements are lost through remodeling. Many of Ravenna’s commercial buildings in the downtown area have undergone remodeling, especially on their storefronts. This produces a lower level which is out of harmony with the historic upper floors and can create an appearance which is timely when completed, but soon becomes outdated and worn. One of the biggest problems with remodeling, or “remuddling” as preservationists refer to it, is that the building’s appearance not only is changed, but often the materials used are of inferior quality and contract with the more substantial materials of the original construction.