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 [graphic] National Register Bulletin Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting Rural Historic Landscapes

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

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The 160-acre Kehilbeck Farmstead in Cass County, Nebraska, reflects the standard historic property formed by the United States rectangular land survey. The farm's spatial organization indicates the separation of agricultural activities and many of the improvements, functional and aesthetic, that midwestern farms underwent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Landscape features include a formal alleé and curved entry drive, windbreaks of Eastern Red Cedar and Austrian Pine, a farmyard with orchards and vegetable gardens, pastures with livestock enclosures, and outlying fields of corn, hay or oats. (Nebraska State Historical Society)

This bulletin offers guidance to Federal agencies, State Historic Preservation Offices, Certified Local Governments, preservation professionals, and interested individuals in the successful preparation of nominations to the National Register of Historic Places and requests for determinations of eligibility for historic sites or districts known as rural historic landscapes. In recent years, there has been a growing interest among preservationists in recognizing and protecting the cultural values that centuries of land use and occupation have embodied in rural America. Understanding the forces that have shaped rural properties, interpreting their historical importance, and planning for their protection are current challenges in historic preservation. This bulletin responds to the many questions that have risen out of efforts to apply the National Register criteria to rural properties possessing significant land areas.

This bulletin defines a rural historic landscape, describes its characteristics, and suggests practical methods for survey and research. It also closely examines how the National Register criteria can be applied, significance and integrity evaluated, and boundaries drawn for rural properties having significant acreage. Finally, the bulletin discusses the information needed to register these properties in the National Register.

The bulletin is organized under three general headings: identification, evaluation, and registration. It puts forth a practical approach, not a complete or rigid methodology, that can be applied within a preservation planning framework to both the general development of historic contexts and the evaluation of properties within rural areas. It should be used with National Register Bulletin: Guidelines for Local Surveys: A Basis for Preservation Planning and National Register Bulletin: How to Complete the National Register Registration Form, which provide general guidance on developing historic context, conducting surveys, and completing National Register forms.


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