The National Park Service conducts the National Historic Landmarks Program to identify, designate, recognize, and protect buildings, structures, sites, and objects of national significance. These properties commemorate and illustrate the history and culture of the United States. This section explains how the secretary of the interior selects these properties, how they are recognized and protected, and includes a list of the national historic landmarks found in the Lower Mississippi Delta Region study area.
Landmark designation offers advantages to owners who wish to preserve their properties. It aids planning by government agencies, private organizations, and individuals because it is the primary federal means of weighing the national significance of historic properties.
The National Park Service conducts the program for the secretary of the interior. It is a cooperative endeavor of government agencies, professionals, and independent organizations sharing knowledge with the National Park Service and working jointly to identify and preserve national historic landmarks. The Park Service also offers advice and assistance to owners of landmarks. The program is an important aid to the preservation of many outstanding historic places that are not in the national park system.
Designation of National Historic Landmarks
Landmarks are identified by theme and special studies prepared or overseen by NPS professionals. Nominations for designation are then evaluated by the national park system advisory board, a committee of scholars and other citizens. The advisory board recommends properties that should be designated tot he secretary; however, decisions on designations rest with the secretary.
Criteria of National Significance
The following criteria are prescribed for evaluating properties for designation as national historic landmarks. The national park system advisory board applies them in reviewing nominations and in preparing recommendations to the secretary. Studies leading to designation are prepared by historians, archeologists, and anthropologists familiar with the broad range of the nation’s historic and prehistoric sites and themes. The criteria establish the qualitative framework in which comparative analysis of historic properties takes place.
Specific Criteria of National Significance
The quality of national significance is ascribed to districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States in history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. They are properties that possess a high degree of integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, and:
(1) That area 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; or
(2) That are associated importantly with the lives of persons nationally significant in the history of the United States; or
(3) That represent some great idea or ideal of the American people; or
(4) That embody the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural type specimen exceptionally valuable for the study of a period, style or method of construction, or that represent a significant, distinctive and exceptional entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
(5) That are composed of integral parts of the environment not sufficiently significant by reason of historical association or artistic ment to warrant individual recognition but collectively compose and entity of exceptional historical or artistic significance, or outstandingly commemorate or illustrate a way of life or culture; or
(6) That have yielded or may be likely to yield information of major scientific importance by revealing new cultures, or by shedding light on 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.
Following is a table of national historic landmarks and a table of historic districts found in the Lower Mississippi Delta Region study area.