The Ely Historic Preservation Commission, an arm of city
government, was created by the City Council in the autumn of 1999. Its mission is to preserve the
historically significant buildings of the City by means of identification,
public education, fundraising, and helping to implement such legal protections
as are appropriate. The Commission spearheaded the formation of the Ely Community History Society, Inc.
The Commission received Certified Local Government status from
the State Historical Society of Iowa in March of 2000 and received a certified
Local Government grant in 2001 to aid in the nomination of Ely's Dows Street
Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places. The application was approved by the
State Historical Society in 2002.
Through the efforts of the Commission, the Dows
Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic
Places November 14, 2003, and the Ely School House, now the Ely
Community Center was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as of
September 20, 2006.
It is believed that Ely will benefit from the continued presence of the
past in our built environment. The buildings of the Dows Street Historic
District create a harmonious visual style lending quality and character which
should act as the backbone for future development unique to Ely. A listing
on the National Register does not limit the actions of property owners in any
way. Only changes in the zoning ordinances at the level of city government
can accomplish design review regulations.