Homes in Mount Vernon's Ash Park Historic District serve as monuments

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MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (KCRG) - Our Town Mount Vernon's Ash Park Historic District has a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

"Mount Vernon's been very successful and very fortunate in having people really wanting to respect the older homes and keep them up," said Mount Vernon Attorney Guy Booth.

Preserving these homes helps them serve as real monuments to the history of Our Town. Booth is one of the people who live there.

"There's usually a great tradition of people wanting to live in an older home and then wanting to maintain it and bring it back to what it was in the past."

The neighborhood is named for Reuben Ash, one of Mount Vernon's early settlers. He lived in this brick home that dates back to 1853. He owned the land that today makes up most of the northeast corner of Mount Vernon.

Thirty-six of the 42 homes in the Ash Park Historic District were built between 1895 and 1919.

Being on the National Register of Historic Places means the district has restrictions on what owners can do to the exteriors of the homes.

"If someone wants to change a porch, take a porch off, or do work like that, they need a building permit, and before a building permit can be issued they have to come to the Historic Preservation Commission with their plans, and they have to be approved," said Booth.

The process sounds difficult, but there really is a purpose to it.

"There's that check to see that there isn't some drastic exterior change that would somewhat change the tone and atmosphere of the district," he said.

History is important in Our Town, and it's especially important to the people living in the Ash Park District.

"It's been wonderful to have a community that's so supportive of maintaining the historic integrity.," he said. "That drew us here. It kept us here. And so we're very happy with that."