Benefits for Properties Designated as National Historic Landmarks
Designation of NHLs helps recognize, preserve, and protect important locations in American history. Designating a property as an NHL may provide it with additional protections from development, and may also make the property eligible for preservation grants and technical preservation assistance. Most NHLs are privately-owned and are governed by local preservation laws.
Preservation issues fall under the domain of regional NHL offices. Contact your regional office if you have questions about the preservation services they offer.
Please click on the questions below, or one of the items in the menu to the left, to learn more.
What are the benefits of being an NHL in terms of preservation?
Access to grants
Public and private organizations provide various grant opportunities. Grants are available through the Historic Preservation Fund and often state and local governments have grant and loan programs available for historic preservation. Property owners should check with their State Historic Preservation Office to learn about the availability of federal and state funds. Some funding sources prioritize National Historic Landmarks, such as the Save America's Treasures Grant Program. This program is administered by the National Park Service. Please be aware, however, that no new grant funding has been appropriated for the SAT Program since 2010.
Assistance with preservation
Technical Preservation Services (TPS), a program of the National Park Service, is the nation's leading provider of technical information and guidance on the care of historic buildings. Questions regarding preservation issues are answered by phone, letters, or e-mails. TPS also publishes bulletins dealing with a wide range of preservation topics, as well as advice on Historic Preservation Tax Incentives.
The Section 106 process requires that all development projects or other actions funded, licensed, or initiated by Federal agencies, are thoroughly reviewed. The review may result in modifications to the project to avoid, minimize, or mitigate possible harm to the historic property. Examples of undertakings that would receive Section 106 review might include levee construction and other flood control measures that could destroy archeological sites; construction of a new four-lane highway through a rural historic district; and demolition, alteration, repair, or rehabilitation of deteriorated homes in a historic neighborhood.
Each year, a limited number of NHL buildings may be selected to receive in-depth site inspections funded and coordinated by the National Park Service regional offices. These inspections analyze the condition of the Landmark, identify and prioritize recommended work treatments, and estimate the costs of this work. Information derived from the in-depth inspection may be compiled in a building condition assessment report.
What are the benefits of being an NHL in terms of tourism and education?
Please note: NHL designation does not require a property’s owner to make the site open to the public. Please check that a site is open to the public before you visit. The NHL Program does not manage or own NHLs; please direct your inquiries regarding visitor information to the Landmark itself or to the local visitors bureau.
Numerous travel publications feature NHLs. Publicly accessible NHLs may benefit from increased visitation through heritage tourism. National Historic Landmark properties are often featured in the National Park Service's Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itineraries, a resource used by many travelers.
Institutions and organizations feature NHLs in their educational materials. National Historic Landmark properties are often featured in the National Park Service's Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) Lesson Plan program, a resource used by K-12 educators, colleges, and universities to teach history through historic places.
Are there Federal funds available to preserve or protect National Historic Landmarks?
Yes. Limited Federal grants through the Historic Preservation Fund are available; Landmark owners should check with their State Historic Preservation Officer to find out about the availability of Federal and State funds. Often State and local governments have grant and loan programs available for historic preservation; these funds tend to be for small amounts. National Register listing is a condition for receiving grants and loans from many State and local governments as well as private sources. Some funding sources give National Historic Landmarks higher priority for funding than other National Register properties. There are also Federal income tax incentives available for donating easements and for rehabilitating income-generating historic buildings.
What other benefits are there from National Historic Landmark designation?
The National Park Service provides technical preservation advice to owners of National Historic Landmarks. Questions regarding preservation issues are routinely answered by phone or letters, or during on-site visits by NPS staff. The following are other forms of assistance the NPS provides to owners:
(1) The National Park Service publishes and distributes information on a variety of historical subjects. Many of these NPS history publications are available online.
(2) From time to time, the National Park Service contacts Landmark owners about the condition of their properties and may ask for permission to visit. NPS is responsible by law for monitoring the condition of National Historic Landmarks. Information on the condition of Landmarks and potential threats to them is aggregated in an update published in the NHL database. This update and individual downloadable information sheets on each NHL are valuable tools for stewards to use in fundraising and influencing policy affecting their Landmarks. The information is also used by the National Park Service to plan its assistance programs, and helps in grant-making decisions.
(3) Each year, as funding permits, a limited number of Landmark buildings may be selected to receive in-depth site inspections funded and coordinated by the National Park Service regional offices. The purpose of these inspections is to analyze the specific condition of the Landmark, identify and prioritize recommended work treatments, and estimate the costs for carrying out this work. If funding permits, information derived from the in-depth inspection may be compiled in a building condition assessment report which may be made available to owners, preservation organizations, and interested public and private groups.
How will people know that this property is an NHL?
NHL owners are invited to accept a bronze plaque to publicly display at the landmark site. Plaques identify the property’s name and year of designation. These are available at no cost to the owner.
|National Historic Landmark plaque at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee (2007).
Photograph courtesy of Caridad de la Vega.
National Historic Landmark plaque at the Nathaniel Russell House in Charleston, South Carolina (2012).
What other programs could help preserve and protect my property?
Preservation programs operate at the local, state, and national levels.
On the Federal level, you may want to consider pursuing listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Continue to the next section: overview of preservation programs