U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
Preserving historic properties as important reflections of our American heritage became a national policy through passage of the Antiquities Act of 1906, the Historic Sites Act of 1935, and the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended. The Historic Sites Act authorized the Secretary of the Interior to identify and recognize properties of national significance (National Historic Landmarks) in United States history and archeology. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 authorized the Secretary to expand this recognition to properties of local and State significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture, and worthy of preservation. The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of these recognized properties, and is maintained and expanded by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior.
The National Register of Historic Places documents the appearance and importance of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in our prehistory and history. These properties represent the major patterns of our shared local, State, and national experience. To guide the selection of properties included in the National Register, the National Park Service has developed the National Register Criteria for Evaluation. These criteria are standards by which every property that is nominated to the National Register is judged. In addition, the National Park Service has developed criteria for the recognition of nationally significant properties, which are designated National Historic Landmarks and prehistoric and historic units of the National Park System. Both these sets of criteria were developed to be consistent with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation, which are uniform, national standards for preservation activities.(1)
This publication explains how the National Park Service applies these criteria in evaluating the wide range of properties that may be significant in local, State, and national history. It should be used by anyone who must decide if a particular property qualifies for the National Register of Historic Places. Listing properties in the National Register is an important step in a nationwide preservation process. The responsibility for the identification, initial evaluation, nomination, and treatment of historic resources lies with private individuals, State historic preservation offices, and Federal preservation offices, local governments, and Indian tribes. The final evaluation and listing of properties in the National Register is the responsibility of the Keeper of the National Register. This bulletin was prepared by staff of the National Register Branch, Interagency Resources Division, National Park Service, with the assistance of the History Division. It was originally issued in draft form in 1982. The draft was revised into final form by Patrick W. Andrus, Historian, National Park Service, and edited by Rebecca H. Shrimpton, Consulting Historian. Beth L Savage, National Register and Sarah Dillard Pope, National Register, NCSHPO coordinated the latest revision of this bulletin. Antionette J. Lee, Tanya Gossett, and Kira Badamo coordinated earlier revisions.
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