U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
VII. HOW TO APPLY THE CRITERIA CONSIDERATIONS
Certain kinds of properties are not usually considered for listing in the National Register: religious properties, moved properties, birthplaces or graves, cemeteries, reconstructed properties, commemorative properties, and properties achieving significance within the past fifty years. These properties can be eligible for listing, however, if they meet special requirements, called Criteria Considerations, in addition to meeting the regular requirements (that is, being eligible under one or more of the four Criteria and possessing integrity). Part VII provides guidelines for determining which properties must meet these special requirements and for applying each Criteria Consideration.
The Criteria Considerations need to be applied only to individual properties. Components of eligible districts do not have to meet the special requirements unless they make up the majority of the district or are the focal point of the district. These are the general steps to follow when applying the Criteria Considerations to your property:
Ordinarily cemeteries, birthplaces, or graves of historical figures, properties owned by religious institutions or used for religious purposes, structures that have been moved from their original locations, reconstructed historic buildings, properties primarily commemorative in nature, and properties that have achieved significance within the past fifty years shall not be considered eligible for the National Register. However, such properties will qualify if they are integral parts of districts that do meet the criteria or if they fall within the following categories:
*The Criteria Considerations are taken from the Criteria for Evaluation, found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Part 60.
A religious property is eligible if it derives its primary significance from architectural or artistic distinction or historical importance.
Understanding Criteria Consideration A: Religious Properties
A religious property requires justification on architectural, artistic, or historic grounds to avoid any appearance of judgment by government about the validity of any religion or belief. Historic significance for a religious property cannot be established on the merits of a religious doctrine, but rather, for architectural or artistic values or for important historic or cultural forces that the property represents. A religious property's significance under Criterion A, B, C, or D must be judged in purely secular terms. A religious group may, in some cases, be considered a cultural group whose activities are significant in areas broader than religious history.
Examples of Properties that MUST Meet Criteria Consideration A: Religious Properties
Example of Properties that DO NOT Need to Meet Criteria Consideration A: Religious Properties
Criteria Consideration for Religious Properties applies:
Applying Criteria Consideration A: Religious Properties
Eligibility for Historic Events
A religious property can be eligible under Criterion A for any of three reasons:
A religious property can be eligible if it is directly associated with either a specific event or a broad pattern in the history of religion.
Other Historical Themes
A religious property can be eligible if it is directly associated with either a specific event or a broad pattern that is significant in another historic context. A religious property would also qualify if it were significant for its associations that illustrate the importance of a particular religious group in the social, cultural, economic, or political history of the area. Eligibility depends on the importance of the event or broad pattern and the role of the specific property.
Traditional Cultural Values
When evaluating properties associated with traditional cultures, it is important to recognize that often these cultures do not make clear distinctions between what is secular and what is sacred. Criteria Consideration A is not intended to exclude traditional cultural resources merely because they have religious uses or are considered sacred. A property or natural feature important to a traditional culture's religion and mythology is eligible if its importance has been ethnohistorically documented and if the site can be clearly defined. It is critical, however, that the activities be documented and that the associations not be so diffuse that the physical resource cannot be adequately defined. (For more information on applying Criteria Consideration A to traditional cultural properties, refer to National Register Bulletin: Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting Traditional Cultural Properties.)
Eligibility for Historic Persons
A religious property can be eligible for association with a person important in religious history, if that significance has scholarly, secular recognition or is important in other historic contexts. Individuals who would likely be considered significant are those who formed or significantly influenced an important religious institution or movement, or who were important in the social, economic, or political history of the area. Properties associated with individuals important only within the context of a single congregation and lacking importance in any other historic context would not be eligible under Criterion B.
Eligibility for Architectural or Artistic Distinction
A religious property significant for its architectural design or construction should be evaluated as are other properties under Criterion C; that is, it should be evaluated within an established architectural context and, if necessary, compared to other properties of its type, period, or method of construction. (See "Comparing Related Properties" in Part V: How to Evaluate a Property Within Its Historic Context.)
Eligibility for Information Potential
A religious property, whether a district, site, building, structure, or object, is eligible if it can yield important information about the religious practices of a cultural group or other historic themes. This kind of property should be evaluated as are other properties under Criterion D, in relation to similar properties, other information sources, and existing data gaps.
Ability to Reflect Historic Associations
As with all eligible properties, religious properties must physically represent the period of time for which they are significance. For instance, a recent building that houses an older congregation cannot qualify based on the historic activities of the group because the current building does not convey the earlier history. Likewise, an older building that housed the historic activities of the congregation is eligible if it still physically represents the period of the congregation's significance. However, if an older building has been remodeled to the extent that its appearance dates from the time of the remodeling, it can only be eligible if the period of significance corresponds with the period of the alterations.
A property removed from its original or historically significant location can be eligible if it is significant primarily for architectural value or it is the surviving property most importantly associated with a historic person or event.
Understanding Criteria Consideration B: Moved Properties
The National Register criteria limit the consideration of moved properties because significance is embodied in locations and settings as well as in the properties themselves. Moving a property destroys the relationships between the property and its surroundings and destroys associations with historic events and persons. A move may also cause the loss of historic features such as landscaping, foundations, and chimneys, as well as loss of the potential for associated archeological deposits. Properties that were moved before their period of significance do not need to meet the special requirements of Criteria Consideration B.
One of the basic purposes of the National Register is to encourage the preservation of historic properties as living parts of their communities. In keeping with this purpose, it is not usual to list artificial groupings of buildings that have been created for purposes of interpretation, protection, or maintenance. Moving buildings to such a grouping destroys the integrity of location and setting, and can create a false sense of historic development.
Applying Criteria Consideration B: Moved Properties
Eligibility for Architectural Value
A moved property significant under Criterion C must retain enough historic features to convey its architectural values and retain integrity of design, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.
Examples of Properties that MUST Meet Criteria Consideration B: Moved Properties
Examples of Properties that DO NOT Need to Meet Criteria Consideration B: Moved Properties
Eligibility for Historic Associations
A moved property significant under Criteria A or B must be demonstrated to be the surviving property most importantly associated with a particular historic event or an important aspect of a historic person's life. The phrase "most importantly associated" means that it must be the single surviving property that is most closely associated with the event or with the part of the person's life for which he or she is significant.
Setting and Environment
In addition to the requirements above, moved properties must still have an orientation, setting, and general environment that are comparable to those of the historic location and that are compatible with the property's significance.
Association Dependent on the Site
For a property whose design values or historical associations are directly dependent on its location, any move will cause the property to lose its integrity and prevent it from conveying its significance.
Properties Designed to Be Moved
A property designed to move or a property frequently moved during its historic use must be located in a historically appropriate setting in order to qualify, retaining its integrity of setting, design, feeling, and association. Such properties include automobiles, railroad cars and engines, and ships.
Artificially Created Groupings
An artificially created grouping of buildings, structures, or objects is not eligible unless it has achieved significance since the time of its assemblage. It cannot be considered as a reflection of the time period when the individual buildings were constructed.
Portions of Properties
A moved portion of a building, structure, or object is not eligible because, as a fragment of a larger resource, it has lost integrity of design, setting, materials, workmanship, and location.
A birthplace or grave of a historical figure is eligible if the person is of outstanding importance and if there is no other appropriate site or building directly associated with his or her productive life.
Understanding Criteria Consideration C: Birthplaces or Graves
Birthplaces or graves often attain importance as reflections of the origins of important persons or as lasting memorials to them. The lives of persons significant in our past normally are recognized by the National Register through listing of properties illustrative of or associated with that person's productive life's work. Birthplaces or graves, as properties that represent the beginning and the end of the life of distinguished individuals, may be temporally and geographically far removed from the person's significant activities, and therefore are not usually considered eligible.
Examples of Properties that MUST Meet Criteria Consideration C: Birthplaces or Graves
Examples of Properties that DO NOT Need to Meet Criteria Consideration C: Birthplaces or Graves
Applying Criteria Consideration C: Birthplaces and Graves
Persons of Outstanding Importance
The phrase "a historical figure of outstanding importance" means that in order for a birthplace or grave to qualify, it cannot be simply the birthplace or grave of a person significant in our past (Criterion B). It must be the birthplace or grave of an individual who was of outstanding importance in the history of the local area, State, or nation. The birthplace or grave of an individual who was one of several people active in some aspect of the history of a community, a state, or the Nation would not be eligible.
Last Surviving Property Associated with a Person
When an geographical area strongly associated with a person of outstanding importance has lost all other properties directly associated with his or her formative years or productive life, a birthplace or grave may be eligible.
Eligibility for Other Associations
A birthplace or grave can also be eligible if it is significant for reasons other than association with the productive life of the person in question. It can be eligible for significance under Criterion A for association with important events, under Criterion B for association with the productive lives of other important persons, or under Criterion C for architectural significance. A birthplace or grave can also be eligible in rare cases if, after the passage of time, it is significant for its commemorative value. (See Criteria Consideration F for a discussion of commemorative properties.) A birthplace or grave can also be eligible under Criterion D if it contains important information on research, e.g., demography, pathology, mortuary practices, or socioeconomic status differentiation.
A cemetery is eligible if it derives its primary significance from graves of persons of transcendent importance, from age, from distinctive design features, or from association with historic events.
Understanding Criteria Consideration D: Cemeteries
A cemetery is a collection of graves that is marked by stones or other artifacts or that is unmarked but recognizable by features such as fencing or depressions, or through maps, or by means of testing. Cemeteries serve as a primary means of an individual's recognition of family history and as expressions of collective religious and/or ethnic identity. Because cemeteries may embody values beyond personal or family-specific emotions, the National Register criteria allow for listing of cemeteries under certain conditions.
Examples of Properties that MUST Meet Criteria Consideration D: Cemeteries
Examples of Properties that DO NOT Need to Meet Criteria Consideration D: Cemeteries
Applying Criteria Consideration D: Cemeteries
Persons of Transcendent Importance
A cemetery containing the graves of persons of transcendent importance may be eligible. To be of transcendent importance the persons must have been of great eminence in their fields of endeavor or had a great impact upon the history of their community, State, or nation. (A single grave that is the burial place of an important person and is located in a larger cemetery that does not qualify under this Criteria Consideration should be treated under Criteria Consideration C: Birthplaces and Graves.)
Eligibility on the Basis of Age
Cemeteries can be eligible if they have achieved historic significance for their relative great age in a particular geographic or cultural context.
Eligibility for Design
Cemeteries can qualify on the basis of distinctive design values. These values refer to the same design values addressed in Criterion C and can include aesthetic or technological achievement in the fields of city planning, architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, mortuary art, and sculpture. As for all other nominated properties, a cemetery must clearly express its design values and be able to convey its historic appearance.
Eligibility for Association with Events
Cemeteries may be associated with historic events including specific important events or general events that illustrate broad patterns.
Eligibility for Information Potential
Cemeteries, both historic and prehistoric, can be eligible if they have the potential to yield important information. The information must be important within a specific context and the potential to yield information must be demonstrated.
A cemetery can qualify if it has potential to yield important information provided that the information it contains is not available in extant documentary evidence.
Assessing the integrity of a historic cemetery entails evaluating principal design features such as plan, grave markers, and any related elements (such as fencing). Only that portion of a historic cemetery that retains its historic integrity can be eligible. If the overall integrity has been lost because of the number and size of recent grave markers, some features such as buildings, structures, or objects that retain integrity may be considered as individual properties if they are of such historic or artistic importance that they individually meet one or more of the requirements listed above.
National Cemeteries administered by the Veterans Administration are eligible because they have been designated by Congress as primary memorials to the military history of the United States. Those areas within a designated national cemetery that have been used or prepared for the reception of the remains of veterans and their dependents, as well as any landscaped areas that immediately surround the graves may qualify. Because these cemeteries draw their significance from the presence of the remains of military personnel who have served the country throughout its history, the age of the cemetery is not a factor in judging eligibility, although integrity must be present.
A national cemetery or a portion of a national cemetery that has
only been set aside for use in the future is not eligible.
A reconstructed property is eligible when it is accurately executed in a suitable environment and presented in a dignified manner as part of a restoration master plan and when no other building or structure with the same associations has survived. All three of these requirements must be met.
Understanding Criteria Consideration E: Reconstructed Properties
"Reconstruction" is defined as the reproduction of the exact form and detail of a vanished building, structure, object, or a part thereof, as it appeared at a specific period of time. Reconstructed buildings fall into two categories: buildings wholly constructed of new materials and buildings reassembled from some historic and some new materials. Both categories of properties present problems in meeting the integrity requirements of the National Register criteria.
Examples of Properties that MUST Meet Criteria Consideration E: Reconstructed Properties
Examples of Properties that DO NOT Need to Meet Criteria Consideration E: Reconstructed Properties
Applying Criteria Consideration E: Reconstructed Properties
Accuracy of the Reconstruction
The phrase "accurately executed" means that the reconstruction must be based upon sound archeological, architectural, and historic data concerning the historic construction and appearance of the resource. That documentation should include both analysis of any above or below ground material and research in written and other records.
The phrase "suitable environment" refers to: 1) the physical context provided by the historic district and 2) any interpretive scheme, if the historic district is used for interpretive purposes. This means that the reconstructed property must be located at the same site as the original. It must also be situated in its original grouping of buildings, structures, and objects (as many as are extant), and that grouping must retain integrity. In addition, the reconstruction must not be misrepresented as an authentic historic property.
Restoration Master Plans
Being presented "as part of a restoration master plan" means that: 1) a reconstructed property is an essential component in a historic district and 2) the reconstruction is part of an overall restoration plan for an entire district. "Restoration" is defined as accurately recovering the form and details of a property and its setting as it appeared at a particular period by removing later work or by replacing missing earlier work (as opposed to completely rebuilding the property). The master plan for the entire property must emphasize restoration, not reconstruction. In other words, the master plan for the entire resource would not be acceptable under this consideration if it called for reconstruction of a majority of the resource.
Last Surviving Property of a Type
This consideration also stipulates that a reconstruction can qualify if, in addition to the other requirements, no other building, object, or structure with the same association has survived. A reconstruction that is part of a restoration master plan is appropriate only if: 1) the property is the only one in the district with which a particular important activity or event has been historically associated or 2) no other property with the same associative values has survived.
Reconstructions Older than Fifty Years
After the passage of fifty years, a reconstruction may its own attain significance for what it reveals about the period in which it was built, rather than the historic period it was intended to depict. On that basis, a reconstruction can possibly qualify under any of the Criteria.
A property primarily commemorative in intent can be eligible if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own historical significance.
Understanding Criteria Consideration F: Commemorative Properties
Commemorative properties are designed or constructed after the occurrence of an important historic event or after the life of an important person. They are not directly associated with the event or with the person's productive life, but serve as evidence of a later generation's assessment of the past. Their significance comes from their value as cultural expressions at the date of their creation. Therefore, a commemorative property generally must be over fifty years old and must possess significance based on its own value, not on the value of the event or person being memorialized.
Examples of Properties that MUST Meet Criteria Consideration F: Commemorative Properties
Examples of Properties that DO NOT Need to Meet Criteria Consideration F: Commemorative Properties
Applying Criteria Consideration F: Commemorative Properties
Eligibility for Design
A commemorative property derives its design from the aesthetic values of the period of its creation. A commemorative property, therefore, may be significant for the architectural, artistic, or other design qualities of its own period in prehistory or history.
Eligibility for Age, Tradition, or Symbolic Value
A commemorative property cannot qualify for association with the event or person it memorializes. A commemorative property may, however, acquire significance after the time of its creation through age, tradition, or symbolic value. This significance must be documented by accepted methods of historical research, including written or oral history, and must meet one or more of the Criteria.
Ineligibility as the Last Representative of an Event or Person
The loss of properties directly associated with a significant event or person does not strengthen the case for consideration of a commemorative property. Unlike birthplaces or graves, a commemorative property usually has no direct historic association. The commemorative property can qualify for historic association only if it is clearly significant in its own right, as stipulated above.
A property achieving significance
within the past fifty years is eligible if it is of exceptional importance.
Understanding Criteria Consideration G: Properties that Have Achieved Significance Within the Past Fifty Years
The National Register Criteria for Evaluation exclude properties that achieved significance within the past fifty years unless they are of exceptional importance. Fifty years is a general estimate of the time needed to develop historical perspective and to evaluate significance. This consideration guards against the listing of properties of passing contemporary interest and ensures that the National Register is a list of truly historic places.
Examples of Properties that MUST Meet Criteria Consideration G: Properties that Have Achieved Significance Within the Past Fifty Years
Examples of Properties that DO NOT Need to Meet Criteria Consideration G: Properties that Have Achieved Significance Within the Past Fifty Years
Applying Criteria Consideration G: Properties That Have Achieved Significance Within The Last Fifty Years
Eligibility for Exceptional Importance
The phrase "exceptional importance" may be applied to the extraordinary importance of an event or to an entire category of resources so fragile that survivors of any age are unusual. Properties listed that had attained significance in less than fifty years include: the launch pad at Cape Canaveral from which men first traveled to the moon, the home of nationally prominent playwright Eugene O'Neill, and the Chrysler Building (New York) significant as the epitome of the "Style Moderne" architecture.
Properties less than fifty years old that qualify as exceptional because the entire category of resources is fragile include a recent example of a traditional sailing canoe in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, where because of rapid deterioration of materials, no working Micronesian canoes exist that are more than twenty years old. Properties that by their nature can last more than fifty years cannot be considered exceptionally important because of the fragility of the class of resources.
The phrase "exceptional importance" does not require that the property be of national significance. It is a measure of a property's importance within the appropriate historic context, whether the scale of that context is local, State, or national.
A property that has achieved significance within the past fifty years can be evaluated only when sufficient historical perspective exists to determine that the property is exceptionally important. The necessary perspective can be provided by scholarly research and evaluation, and must consider both the historic context and the specific property's role in that context.
In many communities, properties such as apartment buildings built in the 1950s cannot be evaluated because there is no scholarly research available to provide an overview of the nature, role, and impact of that building type within the context of historical and architectural developments of the 1950s.
National Park Service Rustic Architecture
Properties such as structures built in a rustic style by the National Park Service during the 1930s and 1940s can now be evaluated because a broad study, National Park Service Rustic Architecture (1977), provides the context for evaluating properties of this type and style. Specific examples were listed in the National Register prior to reaching fifty years of age when documentation concerning the individual properties established their significance within the historical and architectural context of the type and style.
Veterans Administration Hospitals
Hospitals less than fifty years old that were constructed by the Veterans Bureau and Veterans Administration can be evaluated because the collection of forty-eight facilities built between 1920 and 1946 has been analyzed in a study prepared by the agency. The study provided a historic and architectural context for development of veteran's car within which hospitals could be evaluated. The exceptional importance of specific individual facilities constructed within the past fifty years could therefore be determined based on their role and their present integrity.
Comparison with Related Properties
In justifying exceptional importance, it is necessary to identify other properties within the geographical area that reflect the same significance or historic associations and to determine which properties best represent the historic context in question. Several properties in the area could become eligible with the passage of time, but few will qualify now as exceptionally important.
Post-World War II Properties
Properties associated with the post-World War II era must be identified and evaluated to determine which ones in an area could be judged exceptionally important. For example, a public housing complex may be eligible as an outstanding expression of the nation's post-war urban policy. A miliatry installation could be judged exceptionally important because of its contribution to the Cold War arms race. A church building in a Southern city may have served as a pivotal rallying point for the city's most famous civil rights protest. A post-war suburban subdivision may be the best reflection of contemporary siting and design tents in a metropolitan area. In each case, the nomination preparer must justify the exceptional importance of the property relative to similar properties in the community, State, or nation.
Eligibility for Information Potential
A property that has achieved significance within the past fifty years can qualify under Criterion D only if it can be demonstrated that the information is of exceptional importance within the appropriate context and that the property contains data superior to or different from those obtainable from other sources, including other culturally related sites. An archeological site less than fifty years old may be eligible if the former inhabitants are so poorly documented that information about their lifeways is best obtained from examination of the material remains.
Properties which have achieved significance within the past fifty years can be eligible for the National Register if they are an integral part of a district which qualifies for National Register listing. This is demonstrated by documenting that the property dates from within the district's defined Period of Significance and that it is associated with one or more of the district's defined Areas of Significance.
Properties less than fifty years old may be an integral part of a district when there is sufficient perspective to consider the properties as historic. This is accomplished by demonstrating that: 1) the district's Period of Significance is justified as a discrete period with a defined beginning and end, 2) the character of the district's historic resources is clearly defined and assessed, 3) specific resources in the district are demonstrated to date from that discrete era, and 4) the majority of district properties are over fifty years old. In these instances, it is not necessary to prove exceptional importance of either the district itself or the less-than-fifty-year-old properties. Exceptional importance still must be demonstrated for district where the majority of properties or the major Period of Significance is less than fifty years old, and for less-than-fifty-year-old properties which are nominated individually.
Properties More Than Fifty Years in Age, Less Than Fifty Years in Significance
Properties that are more than fifty years old, but whose significant associations or qualities are less than fifty years old, must be treated under the fifty year consideration.
Requirement to Meet the Criteria, Regardless of Age
Properties that are less than fifty years old and are not exceptionally important will not automatically qualify for the National Register once they are fifty years old. In order to be listed in the National Register, all properties, regardless of age, must be demonstrated to meet the Criteria for Evaluation.
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