Title image for nps.gov, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
40th Anniversary, National Historic Preservation Act Title Rotating Images including two of Gull Rock Lighthouse, the Golden Gate Bridge as viewed from Fort Point in San Francisco, and historic southern row homes


40th Anniversary Home

NPS History & Culture


image of National Historic Preservation Act Anniversary Logo














Preserving America's Historic Places

In response to the destruction of older buildings and neighborhoods in the immediate post-World War II years, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) signaled America 's commitment to preserving its heritage.

The NHPA established the framework that focused local, state, and national efforts on a common goal – preserving the historic fabric of our nation.


  • Conceived the national historic preservation partnership involving federal, tribal, state and local governments and the private sector.
  • Fostered the system by which federal agencies survey and identify districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture, and use this information to plan projects so that, where possible, historic places are preserved.
  • Established the National Register of Historic Places as we know it today. The National Register identifies the significant national patrimony and provides federal recognition to properties of state and local, as well as national, significance.

  • Created the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation – charged with advising the President and the Congress on historic preservation matters and working with federal agencies to address historic resources in the fulfillment of their missions.
  • Authorized matching grants, now called Historic Preservation Fund grants, to states, Certified Local Governments, and Indian tribes for historic preservation surveys, plans, and projects.
2006 marked the 40th anniversary of the NHPA and of the partnership it created. The National Park Service is proud of its role in the partnership, preserving history not only in nearly 400 national parks but working with thousands of communities to help preserve places important to local history.















Image of the Makupuu Point Light Station in Hawaii

Did You Know?
The largest Fresnel lens, called a hyper-radiant, in the United States is installed at the Makapu'u Point Light Station in Hawaii. It measures 12 feet in height and has an inside diameter of 8 feet 9 inches.