Edina Preserving Historic Bungalows

The City of Edina wants to ensure that it doesn't lose the bungalows it has left in its Morningside neighborhood. Matching a $5,000 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society, the city will survey the historic bungalows to determine their common architectural features. Then, owners will be able to nominate bungalows as Edina Heritage Landmarks, which will help to guide future remodeling of the homes.

It's a mini-version of what's already been done in the city's historic Country Club neighborhood, where homeowners who want to make significant changes to a house must clear their plans with the Edina Heritage Preservation Board. But instead of designating an entire neighborhood as historic, bungalow preservation would be done house-by-house on a voluntary basis.

Built between 1905 and 1935, the bungalows were homes generally inhabited by working people. These Edina MN homes tend to be less than 1,000 square-feet and are one to one-and-a-half stories tall. Most have low-pitched hip or gable roofs, a porch, and four to six rooms on the main floor. Many have swinging doors between the kitchen and dining room, and built-in buffets and bookcases. The 100 to 125 bungalows make up about 20% of Morningside's 600 houses.

"It's a matter of preserving them," said Joyce Repya, associate Edina city planner. "This identifies the uniqueness of bungalows in Edina. ... It's a charming part of our city, and it's nice to embrace that and not lose it."

Meetings will be held this fall to explain the project. The City of Edina will use the survey to create a list of common characteristics as a guide for homeowners to use if they want to preserve design elements.

The voluntary Edina Heritage Landmark designation means that only homeowners who want to participate will be involved. An individual plan of action would be designed for each historic bungalow. The historic zoning would stay with the house if it were ever sold.

It's important to note that enlisting the home for preservation doesn't completely tie owners hands. The City of Edina has been flexible on issues such as garages, allowing owners to do things like replace single-car garages with doubles to bring homes in line with today's standards.

Robert Vogel, the city's preservation consultant, says the biggest challenge may actually be limiting participation.

"We're constantly getting requests from people asking us to come and look at their house," he said. "We think a lot more people may want their home to be landmarked than we can accommodate."

Read more about Edina Minnesota.


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