Chestertown is often thought of as “a little bit of Williamsburg,” its colonial charm, a significant part of the town’s identity that reflects elements of its cultural, social, economic, political, and architectural history.
To preserve an 18th-century town takes some doing, and if you live in the historic district and want to change the exterior of your home, you will be quickly introduced to the Historic District Commission.
Professor of History at Delaware State University and 7-year member and Chair of the Commission, now retired, Alexa Silver talked to the Spy about how the Commission applies its mission: to safeguard the sites, structures, and districts that reflect the town’s history. To this end, seven members of the Commission interpret the Chestertown Code of Ordinances to any requested changes.
Silver notes that, for some, preserving a historic property can be burdensome. For instance, she says, if you want to replace the windows in a historically designated property, you can be in for a financial shock. Instead, she suggests that how owners maintain the ones they have using local craftspeople for repairs.
The Commission is not without “wiggle room,” Silver says, but any compromise hews toward the established codes that have worked to maintain respect for the town’s historical legacy.
The video is approximately six minutes in length. For more about the Historic District Commission, go here.