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 [graphic] National Register Bulletin How to Apply the National Register Criteria to Post Offices

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U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service

I. Introduction

Governmental, civic, and institutional buildings represent an important type of property eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. This type encompasses post offices, hospitals, town halls, schools, and other similar buildings. The institutions housed in these buildings provide important, sometimes essential services, and are found in or near almost every community in the country. They form a part of each community's identity and help determine its values and the course of its history. In addition, their buildings are often architectural focal points of their respective communities. The historic or architectural significance of these properties can be evaluated for National Register eligibility within a national, State, or local context.

Post offices are important examples of this type of property. In order to facilitate the evaluation and nomination of post offices, the National Park Service conducted a study of various factors in the establishment, role, and design of post offices in order to establish a consistent policy for applying the National Register Criteria for Evaluation to these buildings. The study focused on the history of post offices prior to 1939 to accommodate the impact of the major Federal programs of the Depression. The following guidance for evaluating the significance of post offices using the National Register Criteria resulted from this study. This second edition of National Register Bulletin 13 also looks at post offices built after World War II. This publication is intended to assist anyone in the evaluation of the eligibility of post offices for inclusion in the National Register, and to suggest an appropriate approach for evaluating other similar resources.


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