Weather It Together: Disaster Response & Recovery for Historic Communities
Notice: Hurricane Dorian
Forecasts show Hurricane Dorian passing off the Mid-Atlantic coast September 5 and 6, with heavy surf, beach erosion and overtopping on the Atlantic coast beginning September 4. Southern Maryland, the Upper Eastern Shore, and especially the Lower Eastern Shore may see heavy rains, tropical storm-force winds, and tidal flooding. If your historic property is at risk or affected by the storm, please use the information and resources compiled below.
Like hazard mitigation planning, disaster response and recovery requires a different approach to historic properties. Local governments and partner organizations can prepare ahead and, in responding to an event, ensure that activities are undertaken such as: sorting debris to store historic building components for salvage, requesting assistance from the Maryland Historical Trust to help with post-disaster assessment of historic buildings, and disseminating information on how to properly treat a historic building after a disaster. MHT has outlined its approach to disaster response and recovery in Chapter 2 of its Flood Mitigation Guide: Maryland's Historic Buildings . Additional resources can be found below.
Resources for Historic Properties Impacted by a Natural Disaster
These fact sheets have been developed by the Maryland Historical Trust to assist property owners/occupants dealing with historic resources damaged by a natural disaster.
- Attention: Owners of Historic or Older Properties Affected by a Natural Disaster
- Selecting a Contractor After a Natural Disaster Strikes
- As the Floodwaters Recede – A Checklist of Things to Do
- Tips for Drying Out a Water-Damaged Building
- Additional Helpful Hints for Historic Properties
- Tips for Handling Insurance Claims for Historic Properties Following a Disaster
- Landscape Restoration Following a Natural Disaster
- Emergency Response and Salvage: Wet Books, Documents & Photographs
Maryland Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program
State and federal preservation tax incentives are a tool that may be used to assist owners of certified historic properties as they undertake rehabilitation projects following a natural disaster.
Whether you are planning to rehabilitate your primary or secondary residence or a commercial property, you may have the opportunity to earn a state income tax credit on qualified rehabilitation expenditures. Please note that Rehabilitation Tax Credits are awarded based on the eligible rehabilitation costs of completed projects and therefore do not provide any upfront financial assistance for the project.
While participation in the tax credit program requires prior approval of work, we encourage anyone who has experienced damage to their historic buildings to contact our staff by telephone or email to gain information on ways we might be of assistance in the expedition of approvals or streamlining of our review process for emergency work. Appropriate staff contact information for the programs, depending on property types, may be found in the links below.
In addition, if you have an open tax credit application, but experience damage to your property, you should contact appropriate staff for guidance even if you expect all damage to be covered by insurance.
If your property was impacted by a disaster, you may be eligible to apply for African American Heritage Preservation Program or Maryland Heritage Area funds outside the normal grant cycle. Funds for an eligible project could be available within months of the submission of an application. For more information, please see:
The MHT Capital Grant Program is not offering emergency grants at the present time. Please check the MHT Capital Grants web page for updates on availability of funding.
Links to Other Resources
- Treatment of Flood-Damaged Older and Historic Buildings (National Trust for Historic Preservation)
- Tips for Drying Out a Water-Damaged Building (North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office)
- Video: Drying Out Water Damaged Buildings (North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office)
- Before You Repair Flood Damage: Important information for Historic Building Owners & Municipalities (Vermont Department of Economic Housing and Community Development Department of Environmental Conservation)
- Saving Your Flood Damaged Older and Historic Buildings: A Guide for Property Owners in North Dakota
- Brief Guide to Understanding Repairs to Historic Homes Damaged by Hurricane Katrina and Other Related Floods (Mike Logan)
- Flood Damage in Historic Buildings (Tim Hutton and Christopher Marsh)
- Historic Scotland's Flood Damage to Traditional Buildings
- American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works – Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT)
- Repairing Your Flooded Home (American Red Cross, FEMA)
- After the Flood: Rehabilitating Historic Resources (Georgia State Historic Preservation Office)
- Cemetery Disaster Planning (Chicora Foundation, Inc.)
- What to Do When Disaster Strikes Historic Cemeteries (National Center for Preservation Technology and Training)
- Emergency Drying Procedures for Water Damaged Collections (Library of Congress)
- Salvage Operations for Water Damaged Collections (Betty Walsh)
- Salvage Operations for Water Damaged Archival Collections: A Second Glance (Betty Walsh)