<photo>Detail of preserved exterior wood; Link to National Park Service
<photo>character of a historic town center

Identify    Stabilize    Protect    Repair    Replace in Kind  

Identify, Retain and Preserve

Identifying retaining, and preserving building and landscape features which are important in defining the historic character of the setting. Such features can include roads and streets, furnishings such as lights or benches, vegetation, gardens and yards, adjacent open space such as fields, parks, commons or woodlands, and important views or visual relationships.

Retaining the historic relationship between buildings and landscape features of the setting. For example, preserving the relationship between a town common and its adjacent historic houses, municipal buildings, historic roads, and landscape features.

photo of 1820s bank barn enlarged in 1898 and 1914, and in use today

The goal of Preservation is to retain the historic form, materials, and features of the building and its setting as they have changed--or evolved--over time. This bank barn was built in the 1820s, then enlarged in 1898 and again in 1914. Today, it continues its role as a working farm structure as a result of sensitive preservation work. This included foundation re-grading; a new gutter system; structural strengthening; and replacement of a severely deteriorated metal roof. Photo: Jack E. Boucher, HABS.

Not Recommended
Altering those features of the setting which are important in defining the historic character.

Altering the relationship between the buildings and landscape features within the setting by widening existing streets, changing landscape materials, or constructing inappropriately located new streets or parking.

Removing or relocating historic buildings or landscape features, thus destroying their historic relationship within the setting.


Stabilizing deteriorated or damaged building and landscape features of the setting as a preliminary measure, when necessary, prior to undertaking appropriate preservation work.

Not Recommended
Failing to stabilize a deteriorated or damaged building or landscape feature of the setting until additional work is undertaken, thus allowing further damage to the setting to occur.

Protect and Maintain

Protecting and maintaining historic building materials and plant features through appropriate cleaning, rust removal, limited paint removal, and reapplication of protective coating systems; and pruning and vegetation management.

photo of continuing use of land at Calistoga, CA

Patterns on the land have been preserved through the continuation of traditional uses, such as the grape fields at the Sterling Vineyards in Calistoga, California. Photo: NPS files.

Protecting building and landscape features against arson and vandalism before preservation work begins by erecting protective fencing and installing alarm systems that are keyed into local preservation agencies.

Evaluating the existing condition of the building and landscape features to determine whether more than protection and maintenance are required, that is, if repairs to features will be necessary.

Not Recommended
Failing to provide adequate protection of materials on a cyclical basis which results in the deterioration of building and landscape features.

Permitting the building and setting to remain unprotected so that interior or exterior features are damaged.

Stripping or removing features from buildings or the setting such as wood siding, iron fencing, terra cotta balusters, or plant material.

Failing to undertake adequate measures to assure the protection of building and landscape features.


Repairing features of the building and landscape using recognized preservation methods. The new work should be unobtrusively dated to guide future research and treatment.

Not Recommended
Removing material that could be repaired, using improper repair techniques, or failing to document the new work.

The following work is highlighted to indicate that it represents the greatest degree of intervention generally recommended within the treatment Preservation, and should only be considered after protection, stabilization, and repair concerns have been addressed.

Limited Replacement in Kind

Replacing in kind extensively deteriorated or missing parts of building and landscape features where there are surviving prototypes such as porch balustrades or paving materials.

Not Recommended
Replacing an entire feature of the building or landscape when limited replacement of deteriorated and missing parts is appropriate.

Using replacement material that does not match the building or landscape feature; or failing to properly document the new work.




The Approach

Exterior Materials
Architectural Metals

Exterior Features
Entrances + Porches

Interior Features
Structural System Spaces/Features/Finishes
Mechanical Systems



Special Requirements
Energy Efficiency
Health + Safety

The Standards



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Historical Overview