U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
| TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION TO NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARKS
III. NHL THEME STUDIES
IV. HOW TO EVALUATE AND DOCUMENT NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE FOR
POTENTIAL NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARKS
V. PREPARATION OF NHL NOMINATIONS
NHL Form Section 1. "Name of Property"
NHL Form Section 2. "Location"
VII. HOW NHL NOMINATIONS ARE PROCESSED
Boundary and Documentation Improvement Studies
IX. USING NHL DOCUMENTATION
X. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
A. The National Park Service's Thematic Framework
In the last several years, National Historic Landmark
theme studies in the areas of women's history, early contact
between Native Americans and Europeans, and the Underground
Railroad have produced numerous new Landmarks while fostering
a better understanding of these important trends in our diverse
history. Examples of the range of properties recently recognized
for their important linkages to our past include: the Holland
Tunnel, New York/New Jersey, significant for Engineering; Jackson
Pollock's Studio, Long Island, New York, significant for Art;
Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California, a significant Ethnic
neighborhood, Bentonville Battlefield, North Carolina, a significant
Civil War battlefield; Greenbelt, Maryland, an early suburban
development; Philip Johnson's Glass House, Connecticut, significant
for Architecture; Titan 11 Missile Complex, Arizona, a Cold
War military site; Mapleleaf Shipwreck, Florida, significant
in Maritime history; Brown Chapel AME Church, Alabama, a pivotal
place in the Civil Rights movement; Brooks River District, Alaska,
a significant archeological district; and Dealey Plaza, Texas,
the location of the Kennedy Assassination
Although its legislative history stretches back
to the Historic Sites Act of 1935, the current National Historic
Landmarks program, as the Department of the Interior's way of
recognizing nationally significant sites, is soon approaching
its 40th anniversary The National Historic Landmarks Survey
is unique in that it provides a nationally comparative perspective
for the significance of individual historic places and requires
that these places retain a high level of integrity that communicates
an association with important events or trends. The requirements
for designation as a National Historic Landmark have always
been and will continue to be high.
The National Historic Landmarks program is also
about people, our citizens who care enough about the history
of the nation to seek designation as a nationally significant
site. It is my hope that this publication will encourage individuals,
organizations, government agencies and Indian tribes to work
with us to recognize the very best in American history through
designation as National Historic Landmarks.
Robert G. Stanton
This bulletin was prepared by Patty Henry, Historian,
National Historic Landmarks Survey. Barbara Little, Archeologist,
National Register of Historic Places, wrote the section on the
revised thematic framework; Susan Kline, National Conference
of State Historic Preservation Officers, prepared the section
on multiple property nominations; and Marilyn Harper, Architectural
Historian, National Register of Historic Places, contributed
the section on boundary and documentation studies.
This bulletin drew heavily upon National
Register Bulletin: How to Complete the National Register Registration
Form by Linda McClelland, Architectural Historian, National
Register of Historic Places, and National
Register Bulletin: How to Apply the National Register Criteria
for Evaluation by staff of the National Register of Historic
Places and revised into final form by Patrick Andrus, Historian,
National Register of Historic Places. The author gratefully
acknowledges these two previous works and the strong foundation
they prepared for this bulletin.
The bulletin also reflects the comments and suggestions
of many individuals from State Historic Preservation Offices,
Federal agencies, and National Park Service staff. Special appreciation
is extended to Antoinette Lee, Special Projects Director, Heritage
Preservation Services; Robie Lange, Historian, and Carolyn Pitts,
Architectural Historian, National Historic Landmarks Survey;
and Kira Badamo, Historian, and Robert Sandoval, Historian,
National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers,
for their assistance during the preparation of the bulletin.
I. INTRODUCTION TO NATIONAL
WHAT ARE NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARKS?
National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) are cultural
properties designated by the Secretary of the Interior as being
nationally significant. Acknowledged as among the nation's most
significant historic places, these buildings, sites, districts,
structures, and objects possess exceptional value or quality
in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States
in history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.
NHL designation is an official recognition by the federal government
of the national significance of historic properties. By 1999,
almost 2300 properties had been designated as National Historic
Authorized by the Historic Sites Act of 1935 (Public
Law 74-292) and administered by the National Park Service, the
NHL program focuses attention on places of exceptional value
to the nation as a whole, by recognizing and promoting the preservation
efforts of private organizations, individuals, and government
agencies. While some NHLs are units, or are included within
units of the National Park System, the NHL program is important
to the preservation of many outstanding historic places that
are not included in the National Park System. Designation of
NHLs also furthers the educational objective of the Historic
Sites Act, because it leads to increased public attention to
and interest in a property. The program also serves as one of
Albert Kahn designed this fifteen-story structure with its clearly
defined base, shaft and attic story. Completed in 1923, the
tripartite vertical arrangement was typical of tall building
design at that time. the tools used to screen proposed additions
to the National Park System and to select properties for nomination
to the World Heritage List. Regulations for the program are
contained in 36
CFR Part 65.
WHAT IS THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES?
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS BULLETIN?
One nomination form is completed for each property
nominated for designation. This property may be a single resource,
such as a historic house or bridge, or it may be a historic
district containing multiple buildings, structures, sites, and
objects. Information on the nomination form identifies, locates,
and describes the historic property in order to determine its
integrity; explains how the property meets one or more of the
NHL criteria; and makes the case for the national significance
of the property.
WHO PREPARES NHL NOMINATIONS?
HOW ARE NHLs DESIGNATED?
WHAT ARE THE NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARKS CRITERIA?
See Figure 1 for a complete listing of National Historic Landmarks Criteria.
II. BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NHL PROGRAM
The Historic Sites Act of 1935 directed the Secretary of the Interior, through the NPS, to "make a survey of historic and archaeologic sites, buildings, and objects for the purpose of determining which possess exceptional value as commemorating or illustrating the history of the United States." The framers of the act envisioned that most of those places found from the survey to possess national significance would be acquired by the NPS. Initially then, the survey was viewed as a means of expanding the National Park System and improving its representation of the nation's past.
In supporting the act in his testimony before the House Public Lands Committee, Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes also said that such a survey "would make it possible to call to the attention of States, municipalities and local historical organizations, the presence of historical sites in their particular regions which the National Government cannot preserve, but which need attention and rehabilitation." Thus, from the beginning of the survey, education and encouraging preservation by non-NPS entities were major goals as well.
The Historic Sites Act also established the Secretary of the Interior's Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings, and Monuments (today the National Park System Advisory Board). Survey activity under the act was formally inaugurated in July 1936. Although the Advisory Board disclaimed any government commitment to acquire properties found nationally significant, survey recommendations were kept confidential to forestall public concern about government intentions.
America's entry into World War II brought a virtual end to survey activity. It was not until 1956, in the course of planning for Mission 66? a ten-year development program to improve facilities throughout the National Park System for the 50th anniversary of the NPS?that the survey was reactivated. The intention was to contribute to planning for the "orderly rounding out of the National Park System." The revival of the survey also was viewed as important to historic preservation efforts nationwide in the face of massive highway construction, river basin projects, and urban renewal.
Beginning in 1960, historic properties found nationally significant by the Secretary of the Interior received a new designation: National Historic Landmark. Publicizing the list of such properties would make their history and significance known to the public. NHL designation also was seen as a way to encourage private owners to preserve their important properties. The NPS regarded NHL designation as an attractive alternative to federal acquisition of historic properties?in effect, a supplement to the National Park System.
Passage of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in 1966 greatly expanded the federal government's role in historic preservation. The act established the National Register of Historic Places, which included properties of state and local significance, as well as NHLs and historic units of the National Park System. Historic preservation grants were made available to assist the preservation of properties listed in the National Register, including NHLs. In addition, Section 106 of the NHPA requires federal agencies to consider properties included in or eligible for the National Register in federal project planning and allows the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation an opportunity to comment before funding, licensing, or assisting projects that would affect them.
In the 1980 amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act, National Historic Landmarks were given explicit recognition in law. In 1983, regulations (36 CFR Part 65) were published that defined the National Historic Landmarks criteria and the procedures for considering new properties for inclusion as NHLs.
III. NHL THEME STUDIES
Some theme studies are mandated by Congress, while others are determined by the NPS, and are generally prepared under cooperative agreements or contracts with other governmental entities or private organizations. In the development of theme studies, partnerships with the academic community, independent scholars, and others knowledgeable about the subject are encouraged. Emphasis is placed on the preparation of theme studies that meet academic and professional standards, that provide a context from which the most appropriate properties within the theme are identified, that can be used to assist in the evaluation of historic properties at all levels, and that can be used to educate the public about the nation's heritage.
A potential NHL nomination preparer should consult with the NHL Survey to obtain information on already prepared NHL theme studies (see Appendix B). The NHL Survey can determine if the proposed theme for the property has had a study prepared in the past, if the proposed property itself has been under review or consideration at any time in the past, or if comparable properties have been designated.
If no theme study exists, or if the theme study is incomplete or outdated, the applicant must document the context within the individual nomination form. In order to have a successful nomination, the preparer should research, outline, synthesize, and interpret the historical record on one or more nationally significant historical themes to which the property relates through its historic uses, activities, associations, and physical characteristics. The nomination should discuss how the property reflects an important aspect of the history of the nation as a whole, has contributed in an exceptional way to the diverse geographical and cultural character of the nation, or is illustrative of a national trend, issue, or movement. One way to do this is by citing judgments of national significance from scholarly professional literature. The nomination should provide a compelling justification for national significance based on sound reasoning which establishes why this property is worthy of this exceptional consideration. The preparer should also explain how the property relates to other properties nationwide having similar associations.
In developing the appropriate historic context for the property, nomination preparers should refer to the National Park Service's Thematic Framework. This framework provides for eight categories, each representing a significant aspect of the human experience.
Evaluation of historic sites for NHL designation is a professional process that involves analysis based on the best current scholarship. Given the broad, conceptual nature of the framework, it will need to be supplemented, on a case by case basis, by more detailed outlines as particular topics are addressed.
The revised thematic framework makes it easier to incorporate the insights of social and cultural history, which seek to tell the stories of broad social trends and ordinary people. Unique and notable events are still included in the framework's goals, but they are more likely to be placed firmly within the broader contexts of their time. Studies of properties may be on specific topics (jazz history, for example) but should consider the holistic framework.
In using the thematic framework, it is important to remember that it covers human history in what is now the United States whether it occurred 10,000 or 50 years ago. "American" refers to both precontact history and history. Also note that history can be informed from many sources including archeology, oral tradition, and documentary history.
This thematic framework is intended to make the lives of the majority of Americans more visible and to enhance one?s understanding of the connections between people through time and place. The contexts of People, Place, and Time are settings in which the themes are suspended. It is vital to consider each of these elements in researching and interpreting the history of the American people.
In using the thematic framework, one must recognize that not all history is nationally significant. A holistic overview encourages discussion of all facets of a property?s history, but does not guarantee that all of that history will be recognized as nationally significant.
Preparers of NHL nominations must cite the appropriate themes and subthemes as included in the thematic framework when nominating properties for NHL designation. In addition, preparers should also refer to other NHL theme studies (or historic contexts) already prepared which are relevant for a particular nomination. The NHL Survey will be able to assist the preparers in locating and reviewing past theme studies.
THEME STUDIES AS Multiple Property Submissions
The Multiple Property format, as used by the National Register of Historic Places and explained in National Register Bulletin: How to Complete the National Register Multiple Property Documentation Form (NPS 10-900-b), will be used for National Historic Landmark theme studies.
While NHL theme studies using the Multiple Property format are conducted primarily to identify a related group of nationally significant properties, these studies can, at the same time, provide information that is useful in identifying and evaluating properties of state and local significance for National Register eligibility within the contexts which are documented in the Multiple Property studies. The same general principles will apply to completing most of the sections of the MPS format which follow.
MPS FORM Section A. "Name of Multiple Property Listing"
MPS FORM SECTION B. "Associated Historic
MPS FORM SECTION C. "Form Prepared By"
MPS FORM SECTION D. "Certification"
MPS FORM SECTION E. "Developing Statement
of Historic Contexts for NHL Theme Studies"
Well-documented subjects (a renowned architect) or events (the Lewis and Clark Expedition) require a historical description that can be used to specifically evaluate the properties within the broader historical context. The description may be strengthened by citing published sources and conclusions from scholars in the subject area as to the specific significance of the theme and the properties within the theme.
For subjects that command fewer published sources, it may be necessary to conduct considerable research in the course of preparing a Multiple Property Submission. Scholars and others knowledgeable about the subject should be contacted for their views on the significance of the theme and properties related to it. The subject matter must be presented in a concise manner and must demonstrate its relationship to the properties discussed within the Multiple Property Submission.
The theme must be presented in the context of national significance. Occasionally the theme is regional, but in such cases, the national importance of the regional phenomena must be clear.
National Register Bulletin: How to Complete the National Register Multiple Property Documentation Form goes into considerable detail for completing Statements of Historic Contexts. This bulletin can be used as a guide for developing historic contexts related to the various NHL criteria with the understanding that the test of national significance must be established in the context.
MPS FORM SECTION F. "Associated Properties
and Registration Requirement"
The discussion of properties within the Multiple Property Submission should focus not just on specific property types such as schools, train depots, or residences, but rather on the nationally significant topics or subtopics that have been identified in the historic context with which properties may be most closely associated. The topics can be based on both associative and physical attributes. Evaluating properties within their appropriate historic contexts and comparing the individual properties with other properties in their appropriate topic provides the basis for determining which have nationally significant historical associations or attributes with the highest level of integrity and are therefore potential candidates for NHL designation.
MPS FORM SECTION G. "Geographical Data"
MPS FORM SECTION H. "Summary of Identification
and Evaluation Methods"
This section also should include descriptions of properties considered for inclusion in the Multiple Property Submission that were later rejected as not meeting the applicable criteria. A discussion of why these properties were excluded must be included.
MPS FORM SECTION I. "Major Bibliographical
The Multiple Property nomination cover form includes the historic context, the necessary requirements needed to be considered under the theme, the discussion of properties which may or have been considered, the geographical data, the methodology used in preparing the theme study, and the general bibliography. The nominations of individual properties related to the Multiple Property Submission are prepared on individual National Historic Landmark Nomination forms. (This form is a slightly modified National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. See Section V: Preparation of NHL Nominations.) The individual nomination form need not repeat all of the history common to the theme. However, each individual nomination must be able to stand on its own, and national significance must be demonstrated for each property individually. The Multiple Property nomination cover form provides the historic context of the theme being studied and allows interested parties to determine if their properties may meet the requirements for designation under this particular theme. The individual nominations are still the official documentation for properties.
Preparers of NHL Multiple Property Submissions are urged to work closely with the NHL Survey in developing historic contexts, evaluating associated properties, creating registration requirements, outlining the methodology, and finalizing any other aspects associated with the cover document and related individual NHL nominations.
IV. HOW TO EVALUATE AND DOCUMENT NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE FOR POTENTIAL NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARKS
Potential NHLs are evaluated for their national significance according to a set of criteria that is different from the more familiar National Register criteria. In preparing a nomination of a property for National Historic Landmark designation, the following guidelines should be considered. Claims for national significance should be supported by presenting a historical summary and reasoned comparison of the property to themes of national importance and to similar properties nationwide. In order to establish the relative merit of the proposed property, it generally should be compared not only to properties already identified as nationally significant in the same theme (i.e., existing NHLs or units of the National Park System), but also should take into consideration all similar properties not yet recognized by NHL designation or NPS authorization.
Establishing national significance requires the
examination of the theme in which the property is significant
to the extent necessary to document that the property represents
an important aspect of the theme on a national level and is
outstanding in its representation. A property should also
be exceptionally important compared to similar properties within
that theme. Not every residence of a nationally prominent
person is a strong candidate; only the one with the strongest
association is likely to be designated. Similarly, only the
finest or the most influential works by a master American architect
are likely to be designated NHLs.
The areas of national significance for a property may differ from those of local and state significance. For example, a hospital may be important nationally, statewide, and locally in the history of medicine, but only have local architectural significance.
Explanation of NHL Criteria
The following discussion is arranged by each NHL criterion and explains each criterion in more detail.
NHL Criterion 1:
Properties that are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to, and are identified with, or that outstandingly represent, the broad national patterns of United States history and from which an understanding and appreciation of those patterns may be gained.
The events associated with the property must be outstandingly represented by that property and the events be related to the broad national patterns of U.S. history. Thus, the property?s ability to convey and interpret its meaning must be strong and definitive and must relate to national themes. The property can be associated with either a specific event marking an important moment in American history or with a pattern of events or a historic movement that made a significant contribution to the development of the United States.
The property that is being evaluated must be documented, through accepted means of historical or archeological research, to have existed at the time of the event or pattern of events and to have been strongly associated with those events. A property is not eligible if its associations are merely speculative. Mere association with historic events or trends is not enough to qualify under this criterion. The property's specific association must be considered of the highest importance.
NHL Criterion 2:
Properties that are associated importantly with the lives of persons nationally significant in the history of the United States.
This criterion relates to properties associated with individuals whose specific contributions to American history can be identified and documented. The person(s) associated with the property must be individually exceptionally significant within a national historic context. The association must be with the person's productive life, reflecting the time period when he or she achieved significance. Properties that pre- or post-date an individual's significant accomplishments are usually not eligible. The individual's association with the property must be documented by accepted methods of historical or archeological research.
Generally, each property associated with an important individual must be compared to other associated properties to identify the one that best represents the person's nationally historic contributions, and those comparisons must be documented. The length of association is often an important factor when assessing several properties with similar historically important associations.
NHL Criterion 3:
Properties that represent some great idea or ideal of the American people.
This criterion relates to properties that express some great overarching concept or image held by the population of the United States. It could be a general historical belief, principle, or goal. The application of this criterion clearly requires the most careful scrutiny and would apply only in rare instances involving ideas and ideals of the highest order in the history of the United States. For example, the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, in Selma, Alabama, was designated under this criterion because of the role it played in the events that led to the adoption of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the ideal of democratic, representative government in the United States.
NHL Criterion 4:
Properties that embody the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural type specimen exceptionally valuable for a study of a period, style, or method of construction, or that represent a significant, distinctive and exceptional entity whose components may lack individual distinction.
This criterion's intent is to qualify exceptionally important works of design or collective elements of design extraordinarily significant as an ensemble, such as a historic district. It applies to properties significant for their physical design or construction, including such elements as architecture, landscape architecture, and engineering. The property must clearly illustrate the physical features or traits that commonly recur in individual types, periods or methods of construction. A property also must clearly contain enough of those characteristics to be considered one of the best representatives of a particular type, period, or method of construction. (Characteristics can be expressed in terms such as form, proportion, structure, plan, style, or materials.) A building or structure is a specimen of its type or period of construction if it is an exceptionally important example (within its context) of design or building practices of a particular time in history. The language is restrictive in requiring that a candidate be "a specimen exceptionally valuable for the study of a period, style, or method of construction" rather than simply embodying distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction. With regard to historic districts, an entity must be distinctive and exceptional. This criterion will not qualify all of the works of a master, per se, but only such works that are exceptional or extraordinary. Artistic value is considered only in the context of history's judgment in order to avoid current conflicts of taste.
NHL Criterion 5:
Properties that are composed of integral parts of the environment not sufficiently significant by reason of historical association or artistic merit to warrant individual recognition but collectively compose an entity of exceptional historical or artistic significance, or outstandingly commemorate or illustrate a way of life or culture.
This criterion is meant to cover historic districts such as Williamsburg, Virginia; New Bedford, Massachusetts; or Virginia City, Nevada, which qualify for their collective association with a nationally significant event, movement, or broad pattern of national development. Most historic districts that are nationally significant for their extraordinary historic importance, rather than for their architectural significance, are recognized by this criterion.
NHL Criterion 6:
Properties that have yielded or may be likely to yield information of major scientific importance by revealing new cultures, or by shedding light upon periods of occupation over large areas of the United States. Such sites are those which have yielded, or which may reasonably be expected to yield, data affecting theories, concepts and ideas to a major degree.
Criterion 6 was developed specifically to recognize archeological properties, all of which must be evaluated under this criterion. Properties being considered under this criterion must address two questions:
1) what nationally significant information is
the site likely to yield? and
Answers to both questions must be well documented
and logically organized. In order to establish the national
significance of an archeological resource, it must be demonstrated
how the data has made or will make a major contribution to the
existing corpus of information. This criterion requires that
potentially recoverable data are likely to substantially modify
a major historic concept, resolve a substantial historical or
anthropological debate, or close a serious gap in a major theme
of American history. It is necessary to be explicit in demonstrating
the connection between the important information and a specific
property. The discussion of the property must include the development
of specific important research questions which may be answered
by the data contained in the property. Research questions can
be related to property-specific issues, to broader questions
about a large geographic area, or to theoretical issues independent
of any particular geographic location.
The current existence of appropriate physical remains must be ascertained in considering a property?s ability to yield important information. Properties that have been partly excavated or otherwise disturbed and that are being considered for their potential to yield additional important information must be shown to retain that potential in their remaining portions.
Properties that have yielded important information in the past and that no longer retain additional research potential (such as completely excavated archeological sites) must be assessed essentially as historic sites under Criterion 1. Such sites must be significant for associative values related to:
The following discussion is arranged by each NHL criteria exception and explains each exception in more detail.
NHL Exception 1:
A property owned by a religious institution or used for religious purposes would qualify if the property derives its primary national significance from architectural or artistic distinction or historical importance.
A religious property requires justification on architectural, artistic, or historical grounds to avoid any appearance or judgment by the government about the endorsement of any religion or belief. If the property is nationally significant for its architectural design or construction, it should be evaluated within an established architectural context, and compared to other properties of its type, period, or method of construction. A religious property can also be eligible if it is directly associated with either a specific event or a broad pattern that is nationally significant in another historic context, or a specific event or a broad pattern in the history of religion. Individuals who were nationally significant by virtue of their formation of or significant influence on an important religious institution or movement, or who were important in the social, economic, or political history of the nation may also qualify a religious property for designation. This exception must be considered if:
NHL Exception 2:
A building or structure that has been moved from its original location, but which is nationally significant primarily for its architectural merit, or for its association with persons or events of transcendent importance in the nation's history and the association is consequential, would qualify for designation.
Because national significance is embodied in locations and settings as well as in the properties themselves, moving a property usually destroys the relationships between the property and its surroundings and usually destroys associations with historic events and persons. If the moved property is nationally significant for its architectural merit, it must retain enough historic features to convey its architectural values and retain integrity of design, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. If the moved property is nationally significant for its associations with persons or events of transcendent importance, it must be demonstrated that this property is the only surviving property most importantly associated with a particular nationally significant historic event or an important aspect of a nationally significant person's life. However, the use of the word transcendent indicates that the person or event must have a level of national significance which is greater than that which would ordinarily qualify a person or event to be nationally significant. In addition, the property must be the single surviving property that is most closely associated with the event or with the part of the person's life for which he or she is nationally significant.
Moved properties must still have an orientation, setting, and general environment that are comparable to those of the historic location and that are compatible with the property's significance. A rural house that is moved into an urban area or an urban property moved into a rural setting or a bridge, originally built over water, that is no longer situated over a waterway would not meet this exclusion.
NHL Exception 3:
A site of a building or structure no longer standing would qualify if the person or event associated with it is of transcendent importance in the nation's history and the association is consequential.
The nomination must demonstrate that the person or event associated with the site of a building or structure no longer standing is of a level of national significance greater than that which would ordinarily qualify a person or event to be nationally significant. In addition, that association to the property must be demonstrated to have been consequential rather than a connection that was incidental and of little impact on either the event or the reason for the person to be considered of exceptional national significance. This exception is rarely met.
NHL Exception 4:
A birthplace, grave, or burial would be considered for designation if it is for a historical figure of transcendent national significance and no other appropriate site, building or structure directly associated with the productive life of that person exists.
The lives of persons nationally significant in the nation's past normally are recognized by the designation of properties illustrative of or associated with their productive lives. Birthplaces and graves, as properties that represent the beginning and the end of the life of important individuals, may be temporally and geographically far removed from their nationally significant activities, and therefore are not usually considered eligible. To qualify, the birthplace or grave must be the birthplace or grave of a person with a level of national significance greater than that which would ordinarily qualify a person to be nationally significant. In addition to the person being of outstanding national significance, the site must be the last surviving property associated with the person. When all other properties directly associated with his or her productive life are gone or have lost integrity, a birthplace or grave may be eligible for designation.
A birthplace or grave may also be eligible if they are nationally significant for reasons other than associations with the person in question. It could be considered for association with important event(s) (Criterion 1) such as the Haymarket Martyrs? Monument in Forest Park, Illinois, or for architectural significance (Criterion 4). In very rare cases, a birthplace or grave could also be eligible if, after the passage of time, it is significant for its commemorative value. (See discussion on Exception 7, Commemorative Properties)
Properties that must meet this criteria exception are birthplaces of nationally significant persons who lived elsewhere during their period of significance, or a grave that is nominated for its association with the significant person buried in it. If the birthplace is the location of the nationally significant person's productive contributions, or if the grave is located on the grounds of a property where the nationally significant person spent his or her productive years, then the property does not need to meet this exception.
NHL Exception 5:
A cemetery would be eligible if it derives its primary national significance from graves of persons of transcendent importance, or from an exceptionally distinctive design or from an exceptionally significant event.
A cemetery is defined as a collection of graves that is marked by stones or other artifacts or that is unmarked but is recognizable by features such as fencing or depressions, or through maps, or by means of archeological testing. A cemetery which contains the graves of persons of a level of national significance greater than that which would ordinarily qualify a person to be nationally significant may be eligible for designation. These persons must have been of great eminence in their fields of endeavor or had a nationally significant impact upon the nation's history.
Cemeteries may also qualify based on distinctive design values. These are the same values which are addressed in Criterion 4 and could include aesthetic or technological achievement in the fields of landscape architecture, city planning, architecture, art, sculpture, or engineering. As for all other properties being considered under Criterion 4, a cemetery must clearly express its design values and be able to convey its historic appearance, such as Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A cemetery associated with nationally significant historic events which could include either a specific important event or general events which illustrate broad patterns could also be considered for designation.
A cemetery that is nominated with its associated church when the church is the main resource nominated does not need to meet this exception. In addition, a cemetery does not need to meet the exception if it is nominated as part of a district but is not the focal point of the district.
NHL Exception 6:
A reconstructed building or ensemble of buildings would qualify if the buildings are of extraordinary national significance and are accurately executed in a suitable environment and presented in a dignified manner as part of a restoration master plan, and when no other buildings or structures with the same association have survived.
A reconstruction is defined as the reproduction of the exact form and detail of a vanished building, structure, or object, or a part thereof, as it appeared at a specific period of time. The reconstruction may be wholly constructed of new materials or may be reassembled from some historic and some new materials.
The event, person, movement, or style that the property is significant for must be of a level of national significance greater than that which would ordinarily qualify a person, event, movement, or style to be nationally significant. When all other properties directly associated with the event or person are gone or have lost integrity, a reconstruction also may be eligible.
In addition, the reconstruction must be based upon sound archeological, architectural, and historic data concerning the historic construction and appearance of the resource. That documentation should include both analysis of any above or below ground material and research in written and other records. The reconstructed property must be located at the same site as the original and must also be situated in its original grouping of buildings, structures, and objects (as many as are extant), and that grouping must retain integrity. In addition, the reconstruction must not be misrepresented as an authentic historic property. The reconstructed property should also be an essential component in a historic district and the reconstruction part of an overall restoration plan for the entire district.
After the passage of fifty years, a reconstruction may on its own attain national significance for what it reveals about the period in which it was built, rather than the historic period it was intended to depict. A reconstruction may then be eligible if it addresses the particular criteria for which it has now attained national significance.
NHL Exception 7:
A property that is primarily commemorative in intent may be eligible if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own national historical significance.
Commemorative properties are designed or constructed after the occurrence of an important historic event or after the life of an important person. They are not directly associated with the event or with the person's productive life, but serve as evidence of a later generation's assessment of the past. Their significance comes from their value as cultural expressions at the date of their creation.
A commemorative property must be over 50 years old and must possess significance based on its own value, not on the value of the event or person being memorialized. The Haymarket Martyrs? Monument is an example of this criterion exception. A commemorative property's design often represents the aesthetic values of the period of its creation. The property, therefore, may be nationally significant for the architectural, artistic, or other design qualities of its own period in history. In this case, the property should be evaluated within an established national architectural, artistic, or construction context, and compared to other properties of its type, period, or method of construction.
A commemorative property may also acquire national significance after the time of its creation through age, tradition, or symbolic value. In this case, the property must be nationally significant under one of the criteria and the national significance must be documented by accepted methods of historical research.
A commemorative marker erected to memorialize a nationally significant person, event, or movement in the nation's history would not be eligible simply for its association with the person, event, or movement it memorialized. Neither is the case strengthened for the consideration of a commemorative property by the loss of other properties directly associated with a significant event or person. The commemorative property does not have direct historical association.
A single marker that is a component of a district does not need to meet this criteria exception.
NHL Exception 8:
A property achieving national significance within the past 50 years may be eligible if it is of extraordinary national importance.
Fifty years is a general estimate of the time needed to develop historical perspective and to evaluate national significance. A property that has achieved national significance within the last 50 years can be evaluated only when sufficient historical perspective exists to determine that the property has a level of national significance greater than that which would ordinarily qualify a person or event to be nationally significant. The necessary perspective can be provided by scholarly research and evaluation, and must consider both the national historic context and the specific property's role in that context.
A property that begins its period of national significance more than fifty years before the nomination but continues to achieve national significance into a period less than fifty years before the nomination must meet this exception. In addition, a property that is more than fifty years old but whose nationally significant associations or qualities are less than fifty years old must also meet the exception.
A historic district in which a few properties are less than fifty years old, but the majority of properties and their nationally significant period of significance are greater than fifty years old, does not need to meet this exception.
Defining a High Degree of Integrity
Integrity is the ability of a property to convey its historical associations or attributes. The evaluation of integrity is somewhat of a subjective judgment, but it must always be grounded in an understanding of a property's physical features and how they relate to its historical associations or attributes. The NHL Survey recognizes the same seven aspects or qualities of integrity as the National Register. These are location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.
For NHL designation, a property should possess these aspects to a high degree. The property must retain the essential physical features that enable it to convey its historical significance. The essential physical features are those features that define both why a property is significant (NHL criteria and themes) and when it was significant (periods of significance). They are features without which a property can no longer be identified as, for instance, a late 19th century dairy barn or an early 20th century commercial building. To assess integrity one must
A property that is significant for its historical association should retain the essential physical features that made up its character or appearance during the period of its association with the important event, historical pattern, or person(s). If the property is a site where there are no material cultural remains, such as a battlefield, the setting must be intact. If the historic building associated with the event, pattern, or person no longer exists, the property has lost its historical integrity.
A property important for illustrating a particular architectural style or construction technique must retain the physical features that constitute that style or technique. A property that has lost some historic materials or details can be considered if it retains the majority of the features that illustrate its style in terms of the massing, spatial relationships, proportion, pattern of windows and doors, texture of materials, and ornamentation. A property should not be considered if it retains some basic features conveying massing but has lost the majority of the features that once characterized its style.
For properties to be considered under Criterion 6, integrity is based upon the property's professionally demonstrated intactness of archeological deposits and features. These are important for identifying whether a site has the potential to yield data that may address nationally significant research questions.
Properties being considered under Criteria 1 through 5 must not only retain the essential physical features, but the features must be visible enough to convey their significance and historic identity. This means that even if a property is physically intact, its integrity is questionable if its significant features are concealed under modern construction. Archeological properties are the exception to this; by nature they may not require visible features to convey their significance.
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