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Early preservation interest and historic survey work in Saco began in the 1970s, with its current historic preservation efforts dating to 1990.  It was at that time that a significant Main Street house was demolished, that challenged the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and City Council to pass amendments to the historic preservation ordinance supporting a more substantive effort with historic preservation.  Currently, the Historic Preservation Commission reviews exterior renovations on 225 properties on Main, North, Elm, Beach, Cross, School, Middle and Vernon Streets shown as the Historic Preservation District on the City's zoning map.

The State and Federal government recognized the efforts of the HPC in 1991, and awarded the City of Saco its Certified Local Government status.  This has enabled the Commission to obtain grant funding for various historic projects throughout Saco.

Currently, the following sites in Saco listed on the National Register of Places:

  • JG Deering House, 371 Main Street
  • Grant Family House, 72 Grant Road
  • Jacobs Houses and Store, 9-17 Elm Street
  • Saco City Hall, 300 Main Street
  • Old Saco High School, 34 Spring Street
  • A.B. Seavey House, 90 Temple Street
  • Thacher-Goodale House, 121 North Street
  • Way Way General Store, 93 Buxton Road
  • Saco Central Fire Station, 14 Thornton Avenue

Further, the City has two National Historic Districts: the Saco Historic District and the Biddeford-Saco Mills Historic District.

Certificate of Appropriateness 
Most exterior changes to properties within the Historic Preservation District (as defined by the official City of Saco zoning map) are subject to a Certificate of Appropriateness review.