Waseca’s history has been shaped by innovative, visionary civic leaders, whose individual efforts crafted and shaped the community. In many ways, the city’s efforts in historic preservation have mirrored that history, with key buildings initially saved by prominent individuals who realized the importance of the sites to the city and its history, and who privately acquired and redeveloped the buildings.
Founded in 1938, the Waseca County Historical Society (WCHS) has also been an integral preservation resource, seeking to keep the area’s history “alive and accessible.” More recently, the city leadership has seen the importance of preservation to Waseca’s community development and tourism. In 2009, the city became a Certified Local Government (CLG), and a newly-empowered Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) began work on a number of preservation priorities. Today, residents and city planners alike are eager to see the community better incorporate historic preservation into everyday life. Homeowners and business people are ready to restore their properties, schoolchildren are excited to learn about their city’s history, and the city itself plans to use past development to inform future planning activities.
With this historic context study, the city takes the next big important step of tying preservation to planning, ensuring a vibrant future for the community by building on the resources of its past. Historic contexts will allow the city to evaluate its resources and plan for future development, while continuing to secure the unique character and spirit inherent in Waseca’s history.