How To Add a Property to the National Register of Historic Places
December 23, 2020
Historic buildings are among the primary components of a town’s soul. They represent an area’s past and signify the potential of its future. As such, owning a historic property can be an enormous responsibility. One way to live up to that position of importance is to add the property to the National Register of Historic Places, which can qualify you for federal grants and various tax incentives. If you don’t know how to add your historic building to the list, here is a quick overview of the process.
Before you do anything else, be sure to research the history of your property. One of the primary criteria to qualify for the National Register of Historic Places is significance. Did your building play a prominent role in an important event or in the life of a historic figure? The more you can learn about why your property matters in a historical sense, the stronger you can make your case for its significance.
Aside from significance, your property must also meet certain age and integrity criteria. In order to qualify for these terms, the building must be about 50 or more years old and be a close match to its historic appearance. If the property has noticeably changed over time, it’s probably a good idea to put it through a historic preservation and rehabilitation process to restore it to its former glory. This can potentially increase your chances of getting approved.
Just about anyone can submit a nomination to your State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). If you want to nominate your property, you can find forms on your local SHPO website. From there, the SHPO and your state’s National Register Review Board will review the proposed nomination in a process that usually takes three months or more. If they approve, they will send the proposal to the National Park Service to make the final decision.
If the National Park Service approves your property’s addition to the National Register of Historic Places, you stand to gain a whole host of benefits. Included among these are access to federal grants to help pay for further historic preservation, federal and state tax credits, and a plaque to commemorate the historic significance of your property. Additionally, historic status is likely to increase the resale value of your property should you ever choose to list it.
Adding your property to the National Register of Historic Places may take a little bit of work, but the value, both monetary and otherwise, it can bring to you and your community makes it well worth the effort.