Designated Historic Districts and Maps
Since the adoption of a Historic Preservation Commission by the City Council in 1997, three areas have been designated as Historic Districts encompassing 535 properties on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Northside Historic District (map) was designated in 2000. Its boundaries are North on 7th Avenue, East to 3rd Street, South to 3rd Avenue, and West to 11th Street. At the end of the nineteenth century, the town leaders of Opelika resided in homes south of Railroad Avenue. The turn of the century brought growth to the northern portion of the city; and those of means elected to build homes reflecting their status ad wealth in the ascending Northside neighborhood. Among these properties are some select examples of Victorians, Neoclassical, and Mission Revivals, dating from the 1880's and continuing through the late 1940's. The Northside neighborhood was occupied by statesmen, local political and civic leaders, and store owners. Also represented in this district are design representation of Tudor Revivals, Colonial Revivals, Minimal Traditional, and massed plan Cottages. These houses feature such stylistic embellishments as brackets, spindle work friezes, turned posts, bay windows, turret, towers, exposed timberwork, wood posts on stone or brick piers, and classical columns.
The Downtown Historic District (map) was designated in 2001. Its boundaries are North on 2nd Avenue, East to N. 3rd and 6th Street, South on Avenue C, and West on 10th Street. The Railroad Avenue district has historically been the city's business center, an area equally distant from all city boundaries. One of its focal points is the Lee County Courthouse. The courthouse, whose tower-and those of nearby churches-command the skyline of the city, faces East. Descriptions of the original appearance of the district indicate that it was a collection of small wooden buildings, with warehouses concentrated on both sides of the railroad. After the 1868 fire, one and two story brick buildings, usually massed in solid blocks, replaced the earlier structures. The districts major building phase occurred from the 1880's to the 1920's; the architectural character of the buildings is representative of the plain style of that period. Building forms are simple, with flat roofs and projecting cornices. The materials are typically brick, with brick or stone articulation. Structures have flat arched windows or openings, terra cotta ornamentation, and Eastlake and Victorian wood work.
The Geneva Historic District (map) was designated in 2007. Its irregular boundaries are North on Avenue C, East on 7th and Glenn Street, South to Stowe Avenue, and East on Glenn and 10th Street. The Geneva Historic District is located just south of the Downtown Historic District and consists primarily of residential properties dating from the 1809's through the 1920's. This district contains Opelika's finest collection of domestic architecture and features some of the city's earliest and best examples of Carpenter Gothic, Queen Ann influenced houses and cottages, and Arts and Crafts bungalows. A significant number of Opelika's leading businessmen and professionals selected the area encompassing the Geneva Street district for their home sites. In addition to affording its residents convenience to local churches, schools and the important East Alabama commercial trade center, the neighborhood offered a pleasant setting with large lots, paved streets (the first of local residential areas) and sporadically placed triangular park areas-a distinction of the Geneva Street area not found elsewhere in the city.