What is the National Register?

National Register

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation, and is maintained by the National Park Service under the Secretary of the Interior.  It includes properties important in the history of communities and states as well as the nation.  The National Register was created by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as part of a larger federal program to coordinate and support efforts to identify and protect significant historic resources.  The program operated in partnership with federal agencies, states, local governments and priate preservationists.  National Register listing is primarily an honor, meaning that a property has been researched and evaluated according to established procedures and determined to be worthy of preservation for its historical value.  The listing in the National Register does not obligate or restrict a private owner in any way unless he seeks a federal benefit such as a grant or tax credit, or applies for certain special permits.  For a private owner, National Register listing translates to eligibility for investment tax credits that can be claimed against the cost of a certified rehabilitation.  The National Register of Historic Places recognizes individual structures as well as districts.  Criteria for evaluation include
The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, and :
  • that are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
  • that are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
  • that embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
  • that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.