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Your Property & the National Register
Listing Your Property on the National Register of Historic Places

Listing in the National Register provides recognition that a property is of significance to the nation, the state, or the community; consideration in the planning for federal or federally assisted projects; eligibility for federal tax benefits; and qualification for federal assistance for historic preservation, when funds are available. Listing properties in the National Register also often changes the way communities perceive their historic resources and gives credibility to efforts of private citizens and public officials to preserve these resources as living parts of our communities. National Register status does not, however, interfere with a private property owner's right to alter, manage, or dispose of property. Historical commissions, design review committees, or special zoning ordinances are established by state legislation or local ordinances; they are not a part of the National Register program.

Historic places are nominated to the National Register by the State Historic Preservation officer (SHPO) of the State in which the property is located, by the Federal Preservation Officer (FPO) for properties under Federal ownership or control, or by the Tribal Preservation Officer (TPO) if the property is on tribal lands. Anyone can prepare a nomination to the National Register; generally nomination forms are documented by property owners, local governments, citizens or SHPO staff. Nomination forms are submitted to a State review board, composed of professionals in the fields of American history, architectural history, architecture, prehistoric and historic archeology, and other related disciplines. The review board makes a recommendation to the SHPO either to approve the nomination if, in the board's opinion, it meets the National Register criteria, or to disapprove the nomination if it does not.

During the time the proposed nomination is reviewed by the SHPO, property owners and local officials are notified of the intent to nominate and public comment is solicited. Owners of private property are given an opportunity to concur in or object to the nomination. If the owner of a private property, or the majority of private property owners for a property or district with multiple owners, objects to the nomination, the historic property cannot be listed in the National Register. In that case, the SHPO may forward the nomination to the National Park Service only for a determination of eligibility. If the historic property is listed or determined eligible for listing, then the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation must be afforded the opportunity to comment on any Federal project that may affect it. (See the Results of Listing page and the publication entitled My Property's Important to America's Heritage, What Does That Mean: Answers to Questions for Owners of Historic Properties for further information about the meaning of National Register listing.)

The SHPO forwards nominations to the National Park Service to be considered for registration if a majority of private property owners has not objected to listing. During the National Register's evaluation of nomination documentation, another opportunity for public comment is provided by the publication of pending nominations in the Federal Register.

For further information on discussing a property's eligibility or pursuing the nomination of a historic place, follow these links for the address and phone number of your:


What Are the Criteria for Listing ?

The National Register's standards for evaluating the significance of properties were developed to recognize the accomplishments of all peoples who have made a significant contribution to our country's history and heritage. The criteria are designed to guide State and local governments, Federal agencies, and others in evaluating potential entries in the National Register.

Criteria for Evaluation

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:
A. That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
B. That are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
C. 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
D. That have yielded or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.

Criteria Considerations

Ordinarily cemeteries, birthplaces, graves of historical figures, properties owned by religious institutions or used for religious purposes, structures that have been moved from their original locations, reconstructed historic buildings, properties primarily commemorative in nature, and properties that have achieved significance within the past 50 years shall not be considered eligible for the National Register. However, such properties will qualify if they are integral parts of districts that do meet the criteria or if they fall within the following categories:
a. A religious property deriving primary significance from architectural or artistic distinction or historical importance; or
b. A building or structure removed from its original location but which is primarily significant for architectural value, or which is the surviving structure most importantly associated with a historic person or event; or
e. A reconstructed building when accurately executed in a suitable environment and presented in a dignified manner as part of a restoration master plan, and when no other building or structure with the same association has survived; or
f. A property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own exceptional significance; or

How Old Does the Property Have to Be ?

Generally, properties eligible for listing in the National Register are at least 50 years old. Properties less than 50 years of age must be exceptionally important to be considered eligible for listing.

How Long Does the Nominations Process Take ?

The process varies from State to State depending on State workload, planning, and registration priorities, and the schedule of the review board. The process takes a minimum of 90 days to fulfill all of the review and notification requirements provided that a complete and fully documented nomination form has been completed for the property.
Upon submission to the National Park Service, a decision on whether to list the property is made within 45 days.
See also:
(A video on the multiple property approach is also available; request one by email.)




Norfolk Town Hall, One Liberty Lane, Norfolk MA 02056  Phone: 508-528-1408
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