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Local historic preservation group encouraging buyers to choose West Hill Historic District

Local historic preservation group encouraging buyers to choose West Hill Historic District

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Your next house might be in the West Hill Historic District.

That's what the Friends of Muscatine Historic Preservation hopes, anyway.

May is National Historic Preservation Month, and the Friends of Muscatine Historic Preservation (FMHP) is encouraging sales of historic homes in the West Hill Historic District, which is located between Iowa Avenue and Ash Street and West Second to West Fourth streets.

To that end, FMHP has partnered with local realtors and downtown business owners to offer incentives to encourage sales of historic homes in the district. Currently, there are eight homes for sale in that district.

“Given the City of Muscatine’s investment in the creation of the only residential historic district currently in town, we feel a duty to work towards its success. Having families filling up the beautiful historic homes on the market will definitely move toward that goal,” FMHP President Michael Maharry said in a release.

Maharry said what makes the West Hill neighborhood so historically significant is the amount of time it has spent as a significant residential area for people in Muscatine. Currently, the area boasts homes that were built anywhere from the 1840s to the 1930s, displaying not only the history of one architectural period, but several periods.

"It encompasses a lot of history," Maharry said.

As part of the program, local realtors will help with closing costs, and FMHP will match this amount. Also, gift certificates from downtown businesses, with an emphasis on items often used by new homeowners, will be matched by Friends of Muscatine Historic Preservation. Closing on the home must be between May 1 and September 30, 2014. Homes must be purchased for single-family use and remain single-family use.

“Spring and summer are typically busy months in the real estate market," Steve Armstrong, a broker with Re/Max real estate which is participating in the program, said in the release. "This program shows buyers that there are neighbors and business owners who are really invested in the heritage of Muscatine.”

In additions to Re/Max, real estate agencies and businesses participating in the program include Iowa Realty, Ruhl & Ruhl, Feather Your Nest, River’s Edge Gallery, Carriage House/Carpet One, Under the Bed Antiques and Hills Paint Store. Maharry is hopeful that this program will lead to other similar ones in the future.

"We want to put our money where our mouths are," he said.

Those interested in purchasing one of the homes in question should contact the realtor for the property, and those interested in becoming involved with FMHP should contact Maharry at

mmaharry@yahoo.com or like the group's page on Facebook.

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A year ago, we were in a very different place: The COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning, but the real estate market had been running hot. With interest rates and housing inventory near historic lows, most areas of the country were in a solid seller’s market, and most homeowners were enjoying watching their home values appreciate, with their home equity growing (in some locations) by leaps and bounds.

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