National Historic Landmarks Program
The National Register of Historic Places lists nearly 78,000 sites. Only 2,300, or 3-percent, of these sites have been designated National Historic Landmarks. These properties make tangible the American experience. They are places where significant historical events occurred or where prominent Americans worked or lived. They represent ideas that shaped the nation, provide important information about our past, or are outstanding examples of design and construction. Mount Vernon, Pearl Harbor, the Apollo Mission Control Center, Alcatraz, and the Martin Luther King Birthplace are only a few examples.
How are National Historic Landmarks different from other historic properties listed in the National Register? National Historic Landmarks have been determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be nationally significant to American history and culture. They illustrate a nationwide contribution to an understanding of the history and development of America as we know it today and as it may be in the future.
Painted Desert Inn was designated one of these elite properties on May 28, 1987. In the National Historic Landmarks nomination, Painted Desert Inn is described as possessing national significance for its "masterful combination of architecture and design resulting from the fine architectural skills of the National Park Service architect Lyle E. Bennet and enhanced by the artistic skills of Hopi artist Fred Kabotie." The nomination goes on to say that regional significance is a "product and symbol of the work relief program of the New Deal," the Civilian Conservation Corps.
National Historic Landmarks are exceptional places that form a common bond between all Americans. They can be found in our national parks and in communities within every state. Through the National Historic Landmarks Program, the National Park Service oversees the designation of these special places and helps to preserve them for future generations.
Do you have any historic sites in your hometown that are National Historic Landmarks?
Did You Know?
Standing on the edge of a vast badlands landscape, a Spanish explorer is rumored to have named the area "El Desierto Pintado" (The Painted Desert) because the hills looked like they were painted with the colors of the sunset.