Frequently Asked Questions

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.
The National Park Service administers the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the official Federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. National Register properties have significance to the history of their community state, or the nation. Nominations for listing historic properties come from State Historic Preservation Officers, from Federal Preservation Officers for properties owned or controlled by the United States Government, and from Tribal Historic Preservation Officers for properties on Tribal lands. Private individuals and organizations, local governments, and American Indian tribes often initiate this process and prepare the necessary documentation. A professional review board in each state considers each property proposed for listing and makes a recommendation on its eligibility. National Historic Landmarks are a separate designation, but upon designation, NHLs are listed in the National Register of Historic Places if not already listed.
You can find more information in our What is the National Register of Historic Places section. You can find more information on the National Historic Landmarks program at their website.
In addition to honorific recognition, listing in the National Register has the following results for historic properties:
  • Consideration in planning for Federal, Federally licensed, and Federally assisted projects: -- Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires that Federal agencies allow the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation an opportunity to comment on all projects affecting historic properties either listed in or determined eligible for listing in the National Register. The Advisory Council oversees and ensures the consideration of historic properties in the Federal Planning process.
  • Eligibility for certain tax provisions -- Owners of properties listed in the National Register may be eligible for a 20% investment tax credit for the certified rehabilitation of income-producing certified historic structures such as commercial, industrial, or rental residential buildings. This credit can be combined with a straight-line depreciation period of 27.5 years for residential property and 31.5 years for nonresidential property for the depreciable basis of the rehabilitated building reduced by the amount of the tax credit claimed. Federal tax deductions are also available for charitable contributions for conservation purposes of partial interests in historically important land areas or structures.
  • Consideration of historic values in the decision to issue a surface mining permit where coal is located in accordance with the Surface Mining Control Act of 1977; and
  • Qualification for Federal grants for historic preservation, when funds are available.
In addition to honorific recognition, listing in the National Register has the following results for historic properties:
Under Federal Law, the listing of a property in the National Register places no restrictions on what a non-federal owner may do with their property up to and including destruction, unless the property is involved in a project that receives Federal assistance, usually funding or licensing/permitting.
http://www.nps.gov/nr/regulations.htm

There may be state or local preservation laws that a property owner should be aware of before they undertake a project with a historic property. We recommend you, or the property owner contact the State historic preservation office (SHPO) before an action with a listed property is taken. The SHPO is the state agency that oversees historic preservation efforts in their state.
You can find contact information for the SHPOs at:

If Federal monies are attached to the property then any changes to the property have to allow the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (www.achp.gov) to comment on the project.

You can also read a copy of the National Register of Historic Places code of Federal regulations at: http://www.nps.gov/nr/regulations.htm
You can also find general information for owners here.
Under Federal Law, the listing of a property in the National Register places no restrictions on what a non-federal owner may do with their property up to and including destruction, unless the property is involved in a project that receives Federal assistance, usually funding or licensing/permitting.

However, before this occurs, you can, or the property owner should contact the State historic preservation office (SHPO.) The SHPO is the state agency that oversees historic preservation efforts in their state. There may be state or local preservation laws that the owner should be aware of before they undertake a project with a historic property.
Contact information for the SHPOs

If Federal monies are attached to the property then any changes to the property have to allow the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (www.achp.gov) to comment on the project.

You can also read a copy of the National Register of Historic Places code of Federal regulations at: http://www.nps.gov/nr/regulations.htm
You can also find general information for owners
The National Register of Historic Places does not have a grant program ourselves. However, Technical Preservation Services (a different program within the National Park Service) does have a tax credit program that may be of assistance to you. The website for the tax credit program is: https://www.nps.gov/tps/tax-incentives.htm
Additionally, sometimes State historic preservation offices may have state run programs that could help. You can find contact information for the SHPOs here.
Listing in the National Register places neither restrictions nor requirements on a private property owner. You may do with the property as you wish, within the framework of local laws or ordinances. You are not required to maintain the property in any specific way; you may demolish the property without federal permission. Should the property be demolished through accident (fire, storm, or other cause), you are not required to have insurance that mandates “replications” of the historic property; in fact, this would be discouraged. A replacement copy of the historic house is not historic—it is merely a new house that looks like a historic house. The historic property should be treated like any other house for insurance purposes.

We have also directed property owners to contact their state’s insurance commissioners for any policy or position paper regarding insuring National Register-listed properties. We have seen nothing from any state insurance commission that indicates refusal to underwrite properties listed in the National Register.
Many sites listed in the National Register arrange for a commemorative plaque. Unfortunately the National Register of Historic Places does not issue plaques as a result of listing; rather we leave it up to the individual owners if they are interested in having one. If you do not have a local trophy/plaque store that you prefer, we know of several companies that advertise in Preservation Magazine that offer the type of plaques that you may be interested in. We recommend that you contact your State historic preservation office to see if they have a preferred plaque style or wording. We are not endorsing, authorizing, recommending, or implying any connection to any one company over another, including any company not listed here. We are merely aware that these companies sell plaques. Properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places are not required to have plaques.

All-Craft Wellman Products, Inc.
4839 East 345th Street
Willoughby, OH 44094
www.all-craftwellman.com
Phone: 800-340-3899
Fax: 440-946-9648

American Sign Letters
8140 Evernia St, Unit 1
Micco, FL 32976
https://americansignletters.com
Phone: 877-704-5170

Arista Trophies & Awards
25 Portland Avenue
Bergenfield, NJ 07621
p 201 387-2165
f 201 387-0955
http://www.aristatrophies.com/

Atlas Signs and Plaques
Enterprise Drive
Lake Mills, WI 53551
920-648-5647
http://www.atlassignsandplaques.com

Artistic Bronze
13867 NORTHWEST 19TH AVENUE
MIAMI, FLORIDA 33054
800.330.PLAK (7525) 305.681.2876 FAX
http://www.artisticbronze.com/

Blue Pond Signs
4460 Redwood Hwy #9
San Rafael, CA 94903
Phone: (415) 507-0447
Fax: (415) 507-0451
http://www.bluepondsigns.com/custom-plaques.html

Cerametallics a divison of Meridian Tile Products
101 S. 30th Street Phoenix AZ 85034
602-237-6401
www.cerametallics.com


Classic Bronze Resources, LLC
4628 Whispering Oak Trail
Cincinnati, OH 45247
Phone: 513-600-9048
www.classicbronzeresources.com


Eagle Sign & Design Inc.
901 E. Liberty St.
Louisville, KY 40204
888-561-0007
http://www.eaglesign.com/


Equestrian Forge
222 S King St
Leesburg , VA 22075
703-777-2110


Erie Landmark Company
637 Hempfield Hill Road
Columbia, PA 17512
1-800-874-7848
http://www.erielandmark.com


Franklin Bronze Plaques
191 Howard Street Franklin, PA 16323
Toll Free: 866-405-6623
Ph: 814-346-7205 Fax: 814-346-7047
http://www.franklinbronzeplaques.com/


Healy Plaques
P.O. Box 4
60 New River Road
Manville , RI 02838
1-800-995-0981
http://www.healyplaques.com/


Iagulli Signs
2404 43rd Ave. West
Bradenton, FL 34205
941-753-4549
www.buythesign.com


Impact! Signs
26 E Burlington St
La Grange, IL 60525
708-469-7178
www.impactsigns.com/bronze-plaque
sales@impactsigns.com

Lake Shore Industries, Inc.
1817 Poplar Street
P.O. Box 3427
Erie, PA 16508-0427
(800) 458-0463
http://www.lsisigns.com
info@lsisigns.com


MASSILLON PLAQUE
5757 MAYFAIR RD
PO BOX 2539
NORTH CANTON,OHIO 44720
Phone 330-494-4199 ext 240 800-854-8404
http://www.massillonplaque.com/

Metallic Arts
914 North Lake Road
Spokane Valley, Washington 99212
Ph: 1-800-541-3200
Fx: 1-509-483-1759
http://www.metallicarts.com

Southern California Bronze Co.
337 W. Cerritos Ave.
Glendale, CA 91204
818-550-9132
www.socalbronze.com

US Bronze 811 Second Avenue
New Hyde Park, NY 11040
PH: (800) 872-5155
FX: (516) 253-2328
http://www.usbronze.com/plaques-and-seals/plaques/national-register-plaques/

(If your company sells these types of plaques, contact us and let us know.)

As far as phrasing is concerned, the National Register has no formal requirements or suggestions, but here are a few typical and accurate examples:
This property has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.
or
(Historic name of your house) has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.
You may want to indicate that the property is part of the historic district. In that case you may prefer:
This property is part of the Cool Spring Park Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.
or
The (historic name) House, part of the Cool Spring Park Historic District, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.
See our Reseach page

For properties that have not been digitized and put into the database you can request a copy bye-mailing us. Please be sure to include your name, mailing address, the historic name of the property, its location, including the State and County. If the property is in a historic district, please include the name of the district.

Depending upon our work schedules and how many requests we receive our turnaround time for copy requests is about 3 weeks.
The way a property gets listed in the National Register of Historic Places is that the forms and documentation go to the State historic preservation office (SHPO) of the state where the property is located. The SHPO can take one of several options: reject the property, ask for more information, list the property just with the state, or send the forms to us for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Once we receive the forms, we conduct a similar review process.
You can read our page on How to List a Property

Contact information for the SHPOs
In order to update information in our file on a historic property the new information first has to go to the SHPO, and then from them to us. This process helps to ensure that the State and the National Register of Historic Places have the same information. So, if you feel that the information in the file needs to be updated, you should contact the SHPO to see what needs to be done there.
Contact information for the SHPOs
The property could be within a historic district. A historic district is: a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, or objects united historically or aesthetically by plan or physical development.
Unfortunately, our database does not include every address within historic districts. You can do an address search in our rudimentaryGIS map of National Register listed properties.

If you know the name of a historic district that the property is in, you can look in the file and verify that it is a contributing resource in the district. You can also contact the State historic preservation office (SHPO) of the state where the property is listed. The SHPO is the state run agency that oversees historic preservation efforts in the state. More information is on our Database/Research page.
Generally, properties eligible for listing in the National Register are at least 50 years old. Properties less than 50 years of age must be exceptionally important to be considered eligible for listing.
Our Research/Database page has information on how to look up properties.
Nothing that we wouldn't do for anyone else. The National Register of Historic Places is not the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We have worked together on various projects in the past, but we are completely separate organizations. We are a Federal agency, supported by tax dollars, we do not have any membership fees, etc. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately funded nonprofit organization with more than 270,000 members dedicated to saving America's historic places. You can visit their homepage for more information at: http://www.savingplaces.org
Bulletin 16A "How to Complete the National Register Registration Form" includes a glossary of terms that the National Register of Historic Places uses to evaluate historic properties.
National Register of Historic Places, property name, town, county, state, reference number.
Example:
National Register of Historic Places, Lamesa Farm Workers Community Historic District, Los Ybanez, Dawson County, Texas, National Register #93000771.

Another acceptable format:

Straw, Elizabeth A. "Cumberland Homesteads Historic District." National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination Form. Tennessee Historic Commission, Nashville, September 20, 1988.

(Elizabeth A. Straw wrote the nomination; she worked for the Tennessee Historical Commission; and the date is the date the property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.)

Last updated: September 21, 2018