U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
The National Register is the nation's inventory of historic places and the national repository of documentation on the variety of historic property types, significance, abundance, condition, ownership, needs, and other information. It is the beginning of a national census of historic properties. The National Register Criteria for Evaluation define the scope of the National Register of Historic Places; they identify the range of resources and kinds of significance that will qualify properties for listing in the National Register. The Criteria are written broadly to recognize the wide variety of historic properties associated with our prehistory and history.
Decisions concerning the significance, historic integrity, documentation, and treatment of properties can be made reliably only when the resource is evaluated within its historic context. The historic context serves as the framework within which the National Register Criteria are applied to specific properties or property types. (SeePart V for a brief discussion of historic contexts. Detailed guidance for developing and applying historic contexts is contained in National Register Bulletin How to Complete the National Register Registration Form and National Register Bulletin: How to Complete the National Register Multiple Property Documentation Form)
The guidelines provided here are intended to help you understand the National Park Service's use of the Criteria for Evaluation, historic contexts, integrity, and Criteria Considerations, and how they apply to properties under consideration for listing in the National Register. Examples are provided throughout, illustrating specific circumstances in which properties are and are not eligible for the National Register. This bulletin should be used by anyone who is:
This bulletin also contains a summary of the National Historic Landmarks Criteria for Evaluation (seePart IX). National Historic Landmarks are those districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects designated by the Secretary of the Interior as possessing national significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. Although National Register documentation includes a recommendation about whether a property is significant at the local, State, or national level, the only official designation of national significance is as a result of National Historic Landmark designation by the Secretary of the Interior, National Monument designation by the President of the United States, or establishment as a unit of the National Park System by Congress. These properties are automatically listed in the National Register.
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