Late in 1979 and into 1980, committees were appointed by the Monroe City Council and the Union County Commissioners to study the feasibility of forming a historic properties commission. Since these two bodies were the only ones at that time with zoning jurisdiction, the committees recommended that a joint historic properties commission be formed.
At a meeting on 24 March 1981, a presentation was made concerning the need for a commission and the advantages of having one. Sis Dillon, chairperson of the combined study committee, presided. Present were: Commissioners Joe Hudson, Chairman; V.T. Helms, Jr.; Roger Tice; Harry Myers, County Manager; John Munn, Assistant County Manager; Larry McGinnis; Mayor, Fred Long; Councilmen, Thomas Gordon, Blair Helms, James Barnett, and Duke Parker; City Manager, Jim Hinkel; and County Study committee members, Carolyn Gaddy, Marshall McDowell, Max Parker, and John Dickerson; City Study committee members, Ruth Haigler, Chuck Boyd, and Sis Dillon; Union County Historical Society Board members, Walter B. Love, Jr., Virginia Heath, Don Kerr, and members of the press.
Subsequently, public hearings were held and ordinances were adopted establishing the joint commission. The ordinance states that the purpose of the commission was as follows: “ … By means of listing regulations and acquisition of historic properties, Union County seeks … (1) to safeguard its heritage by preserving any property therein that embodies important elements of its cultural, social, economic, political, or architectural history; and (2) to promote the use and conservations of such property for the education, pleasure, and enrichment of the County and State as a whole.” During the next few years, Marshville, Waxhaw, and Wingate adopted ordinances and became a part of the commission.
The first meeting of the Monroe-Union Historic Properties Commission was held on 3 September 1981. County appointees were: Olin Niven, Sara Lou Collins, and Carolyn Gaddy. City members were: Marion Lee, Mary Murrill, and John Dickerson who was elected the first chairman.
The initial requirement, after the formation of a historic properties commission, is to produce an inventory of historic properties. In 1978 the City of Monroe employed Mary Ann Lee Blackburn to inventory historic properties in the City of Monroe and had the inventory published. County Commissioners hired Joe Schuchman to prepare the inventory of historic properties within the county. It was completed in 1984. The County Commissioners approved and paid for the publication of the two inventories, and in December of 1990, Sweet Union, an Architectural and Historical Survey of Union County, North Carolina arrived from the publisher. This book, which contains an introductory history of Union County, has provided a valuable and enjoyable resource of information and pictures of important historic properties that should be preserved.
A chart listing the properties which have been approved for designation is available. The properties are listed by their historic names, along with their addresses and the year of construction. To date, three of the buildings have been lost.
Due to changes in the state’s enabling legislation, a new ordinance was written with a few changes, including a change in the name of the commission to Union County Historic Preservation Commission. In 1992, the ordinance was adopted by the Town of Marshville, by Union County, and by the Town of Wingate. Monroe City Council adopted the ordinance in 2002, followed by Waxhaw in 2005. The Town of Stallings decided to leave the power of designation to the county, while Weddington has its own preservation commission. Mineral Springs has the ordinance under consideration.
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