U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
VIII. PROPERTIES IN HISTORIC DISTRICTS
Under the National Register Criteria there are two ways that a property that has achieved significance within the past 50 years can be eligible for the National Register. First, as discussed above, a property can be individually listed if it is exceptionally important. Properties can also qualify if they are an "integral part" of a historic district that qualifies for National Register listing.
Properties that are integral parts of a district do not need to be individually eligible for the National Register or of individual exceptional importance. An explicit explanation must, however, be given as to how they qualify as integral parts of the district. This is demonstrated by documenting that the property dates from within the district's defined period of significance and that it is associated with one or more of the district's defined areas of significance.
Properties less than 50 years old may be integral parts of a district when there is sufficient perspective to consider the properties as historic. This is accomplished by demonstrating that: (a) the district's period of significance is justified as a discrete period with a defined beginning and end; (b) the character of the district's historic resources is clearly defined and assessed; (c) specific resources in the district are demonstrated to date from that discrete era; and, (d) the majority of district properties are over 50 years old. In these instances it is not necessary to prove exceptional importance of either the district itself or of the less-than-50-year-old properties. Exceptional importance still must be demonstrated for districts where the majority of properties or the major period of significance is less than 50 years old, and for less-than 50-year-old properties that are nominated individually.
Historic districts with less-than-50 year-old properties that share elements of historical and architectural significance of the districts illustrate the policy discussed above. For example, some historic districts represent planned communities whose plan, layout of the streets and lots, and original construction of homes all began more than 50 years ago. Frequently, construction of buildings continued into the less-than-50-year period, with the later resources resulting from identical historical patterns as the earlier buildings and representing a continuation of the planned community design. In instances where these later buildings make up only a small part of the district, and reflect the architectural and historic significance of the district, they can be considered integral parts of the district (and contributing resources) without showing exceptional importance of either the district or the less-than-50-year-old buildings.
While some districts have a unified historic and/or architectural development, it is important to recognize that integral does not mean that a district must have homogeneous resources or significance. Districts can also include diverse resources that represent the area's development over time. A commercial or residential area, for example, may form a unified whole, but have resources built in a variety of styles over a long period of time. In such a context, a post-World War II movie theater or recreation facility may have increased significance because these are important buildings and represent that period of the district's history. Thus such buildings often are integral parts of districts in which they are located.
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