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 [graphic] National Register Bulletin Guidelines for Evaluating and Nominating Properties that Have Achieved Significance Within the Past Fifty Years

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


The following properties, whose period of significance extends to less than 50 years ago, have been listed in or determined eligible for the National Register. The list is not exhaustive, but is intended to illustrate the range of such National Register properties. The thematic approach, that is, studying all or most of the properties related to a historic theme in a given area may be used in nominating groups of historic properties associated with the post-World War II era. The Multiple Property Documentation Form is an excellent way to evaluate and nominate groups of properties. While all properties must meet at least one of the National Register Criteria, many qualify for more than one. Criterion A recognizes properties that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history. Criterion B allows the listing of properties that are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past. Criterion C recognizes properties that are architecturally significant. And Criterion D applies to properties that have yielded or may be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history. (See section XIII. National Register Criteria for Evaluation.)

Titan II ICBM Missile Site 8 The Titan II ICBM Missile Site 8 (571- 7) in Pima County, Arizona, was listed in the National Register in 1992. This view shows a simulated vapor detection check by propellant transfer technicians. (David K. Stumpf, 1992)
Under National Register Criterion A, properties associated with a variety of exceptionally important historic events have been listed. For example, the inception of the American space program can now be viewed in a historic perspective. Properties in the National Register associated with the space program include research centers, such as the Propulsion and Structural Test Facility at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and the Zero Gravity Research Facility at the Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio; launch sites, including Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and Space Launch Complex 10 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California; flight control facilities, such as the Apollo Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas; and space vehicles such as the Saturn V in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Fleischmann Atmospherium Planetarium in Reno, Nevada is exceptionally important under Criterion A for its role in scientific research and education in Nevada. It was the first planetarium in the nation to feature a 360-degree projector capable of providing horizon-to-horizon images, and through time-lapse photography, show an entire day's weather in a few minutes. In another example, the Student Center of Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska, served as the site of the 1971 Alaska Federation of Natives conference, which led to the momentous Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. This act represented the largest compensation ever paid to Native settlement claims. This property was evaluated as exceptionally important under Criterion A.

In Topeka, Kansas, the Monroe School, now known as the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, is significant as the property associated with the 1954 landmark United States Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education. In that decision, a state's action in maintaining segregation by providing "separate but equal" public facilities was found unconstitutional. As a result, the 21 States with segregated public schools were forced to desegregate them. In 1994, the property was added to the National Park System.

Under National Register Criterion B, the homes of exceptionally important persons, representing many fields of endeavor have been recognized. The Charlie Parker House in New York City is significant as the home of Charlie "Bird" Parker, creator of a jazz genre known as "be-bop," between 1950 and 1954. During his residency at the house, his career as a jazz master and prominent recording artist was established. The Silver Spring, Maryland home of Rachel Carson was designated a National Historic Landmark. Occupied by her from 1956 to her death in 1964, the house is where she wrote Silent Spring which drew public attention to the poisoning of the earth and catapulted her to the forefront of the environmental protection movement. Carson designed and oversaw the construction of the house to provide the domestic environment she needed for writing.

Under National Register Criterion C, properties of recent vintage have been shown to have an exceptional impact at a variety of scales. The Lever House building in New York City, constructed between 1950-1952, is architecturally significant as one of the country's first corporate expressions of the International style in post-World War II America. The Norris and Harriet Coambs "Lustron House" built in Chesterton, Indiana, in 1950 is of exceptional architectural importance at the local level as a rare and intact example of a significant manufactured housing type employing an unusual building material. The Lustron House was constructed with a steel framing system to which porcelain enameled steel panels were attached. The house fits into the prefabricated housing tradition well established by firms such as Alladin and Sears in the early 1900s. The Onondaga County War Memorial, constructed in Syracuse, New York, between 1949 and 1951, is of exceptional architectural importance at the local level as an early example of a "living memorial" erected in the post-World War II era to commemorate duty in the armed services.

Lustron House Completed in the spring of 1950, this pre-fabricated, all-metal Lustron House, Porter County, Indiana, was considered by many at the time to be the house of the future. (Beverly Overmeyer, April, 1992)
Important feats of engineering constructed within the past 50 years also have been recognized in the National Register, such as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, designed in 1947 and constructed between 1963 and 1968, and listed under Criterion C.

The 1956 Solar Building in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was listed in the National Register in the area of engineering because it was an early solar-heated commercial building, the equipment for which survived largely intact. It was constructed when active solar-energy systems were still considered experimental.

It is often challenging to evaluate architectural properties of the post-World War II era one at a time. Several States have effectively used a thematic approach and the Multiple Property Documentation Form to evaluate and nominate groups of properties that usually qualify under Criterion C as examples of particular architectural styles or methods of construction. The National Register listed several residences in North Carolina nominated under the name "Early Modern Architecture Associated with North Carolina State University School of Design." Dating from 1950 to 1968, the nominated buildings employed structural innovations, were publicized widely in national and regional architectural periodicals, and form a distinctive body of work with identifiable traits from the beginning to the end of the period of significance.

In a similar fashion, the State of Iowa prepared the "Iowa Usonian Houses by Frank Lloyd Wright MPS." Constructed between 1948 and 1960, the nominated properties grew out of Wright's second great productive period in his long career. The Usonian house "offered the hope that middle-income families could build affordable homes of great architectural quality during times when Americans faced unprecedented demands for affordable, single-family housing." The properties share the physical qualities of "a rigid geometry, horizontal detailing, warm colors, `natural' materials, and a solid, sheltering character." The Iowa Usonian houses illustrate Wright's creative approaches to cost control through standardization and use of common materials.

Sites nominated to the National Register under Criterion D, because they "have yielded or may be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history," are also very difficult to justify if they are derived from activities of the past 50 years. Scholarly information sufficient to determine the comparative value of recent archeological sites tends to be very limited. It is especially difficult to determine what kinds of information can be derived from site remains as opposed to that available in written records, oral testimony, and photographs. This cautionary point does not constitute a prohibition of all such nominations, but it does illustrate the need for justifying and documenting the exceptional importance of recent archeological sites.


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