[graphic] National Park Service Arrowhead and link to NPS  [graphic] National Park Service Arrowhead and link to NPS
[graphic] National Park Service Black Bar
[graphic] Link to National Register Publications Home Page
 [graphic] Link to National Register Home Page  [graphic] Link to National Register Research Home Page  [graphic] Link to National Register Travel Home Page  [graphic] Link to National Register Education Home Page  [graphic] National Park Service arrowhead and link to NPS.gov
 [graphic] National Register Bulletin Guidelines for Evaluating and Nominating Properties Associated with Significant Persons

[graphic] Link to Next Page [graphic] Link to Table of Contents [graphic] Link to Previous Page

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

Guidelines for Properties Associated with Significant Persons Discussion and Examples

Significance Guidelines

1. Specific individuals must have made contributions or played a role that can be justified as significant within a defined area of American history or prehistory.

Documentation for every person identified as significant must identify the area of history-commerce, exploration/ settlement, literature, politics, etc.-in which the individual made an important contribution. In order to determine how important the actions of an individual were in the evolution of any area of history in a community, state, or the United States, it is necessary to acquire background information on pertinent aspects of that area's history or prehistory.

The type and amount of documentation in a National Register nomination will vary according to the geographical breadth of a person's influence (local, statewide, or national), the area of history in which a person made an important contribution, and the extent of scholarly or public knowledge about a historic context or theme and the significance of specific people within that context. For example, for a local educator, a nomination should include basic facts on the development of a town's school system or educational policies for a sufficient period of time to permit an understanding of the educator's impact within that system. The nomination for a property associated with a nationally-known figure would likely require a less detailed explanation of historic context. This is not because the Register has less appreciation for local history inherently, but because the specifics are less widely known in these cases, and must be documented as part of the explanation of significance.

For several reasons, determining the local significance of individuals is often more difficult than determining state or national significance. At any level, a person's importance may be determined in either of two ways. Using the perspective of local history: one may begin with the important themes in a community's history, and then seek out those who were instrumental in the development, fluctuations, and major events in those themes. Conversely, one might start with information about certain individuals, and attempt to determine whether or not their activities were important in any aspect of the area's history. In either situation, it is necessary to research both the individuals and the area(s) of history in which they played important roles. Below are only a few examples of persons who would be considered locally significant:

town founder

author/artist whose works "put the town on the map"

philanthropist responsible for major buildings, parks, and institutions in the community

hero in an important local battle

citizen who began a literary club that served as an important precursor to the town library

entrepreneur who developed a local business into one of the community's main economic bases

developer responsible for the establishment, growth, and prosperity of an important subdivision or suburban neighborhood

politician who secured water rights for an area

judge or politician whose exceptional longevity in office, or cumulative roles in several offices, can be shown to have had a major influence on the community's legal or political system

farmer whose business acumen or practical innovations in agronomy established or revived an area's agricultural prosperity

negotiator who played a key role in maintaining peaceful relations between Native Americans and white settlers

reformer whose leadership was a major factor in bringing about important political, social, economic, etc. changes

Associations with one or more individuals in a particular profession, economic or social class, or ethnic group will not automatically qualify a property under Criterion B. The fact that we value certain professions or the contributions of certain groups historically does not mean that every property associated with or used by a member of that group is significant. The important accomplishments of specific individuals whose significance is associated with the property must be demonstrated to justify significance under Criterion B. For example, those who hold elected office are not automatically assumed to be significant in the area of politics/government without an explanation of their significant achievements or influence in the political history of their communities, states, or the nation.

Some properties that are not eligible under Criterion B may be eligible under Criterion A for associations with broad patterns of history, or for Criterion C for representing a type and period of construction.* For example, a district may be eligible under Criterion A as a fashionable residential neighborhood built for and occupied primarily by wealthy business leaders at the turn of the century.

When specific individuals cannot be identified, or the significance of the activities, accomplishments, or influence of specific individuals cannot be identified or explained, significance rests more in a property's representation of a pattern of history, and the appropriate criterion is A rather than B. This is true even when the careers or actions of various individuals are discussed to illustrate these important patterns of history. Certain patterns of development that can be see in the lives of a group of persons linked by origin, class, profession, degree of civic involvement, etc., whose activities influenced a community in a profound way may constitute an important theme in an area. Still, it is important in such cases to be able to define the characteristics by which those contributing to the pattern can be identified and to explain specifically how these people had a significant impact on the area's historical development. Specific individuals should serve as examples, but unless their activities were individually important, the applicable criterion would be A rather than B. If contributions of one or more specific individuals associated with a property can be justified as significant within the broader pattern, then Criteria A and B both will be applicable.

The following are examples of nomination documentation that are acceptable or not acceptable in justifying the significance of one or more individuals under Criterion B.

{*See Appendix B for a list of the National Register Criteria for Evaluation. }

 

[photo]
[photo]
Helme-Worthy Store, Huntington Beach, California, In 1907 and 1986 (1907 photographer unknown; 1986 photograph by Guy Guzzard).

Example #1; Acceptable:

Matthew E. Helme, a member of Huntington Beach's first Board of Trustees and its fourth mayor, played a significant role in the formation and settlement of this sea side town. He moved to Huntington Beach in 1903, living in this house. . . . He contributed much to the formation and incorporation of the community of Huntington Beach. He fought for incorporation, was elected to the town's first Board of Trustees, worked to get that all-important commodity, water, functioning in a city system, helped to set up a modern fire department, helped set up the city manager system which still prevails, authored an ordinance setting up the sale of the city's first gas bonds, and introduced a substantial street paving and lighting program. . . .

Matthew Helme was pro-incorporation and felt strongly about forming a city which would provide adequate municipally-owned services for the safety and well being of the residents. He was one of five persons elected to the first city Board of Trustees. The election was conducted with all write-in votes as there was not time to print ballots. In the election of 1912 and 1916, he received the highest number of votes. On April 19, 1916, he was elected Mayor by a unanimous vote of his fellow Trustees. The Huntington Beach News reported: "the tribute is a fitting one for Trustee Helme, as he has been a member of the board since the city was incorporated and at the election of April 19 received the highest votes cast for any of the candidates for Trustees. He was accorded the same honor in the election four years, [sic] which gives him a standing in the community that any citizen might be elated over." On July 12, 1916, the City Manager system in the city was set up under his guidance and he was Mayor when the new city hall on Fifth Street was built (August 1916). He sponsored the ordinance authorizing the sale of gas bonds. . . . In December of 1916 he formed a committee to set up a municipal water system. He felt strongly about obtaining more modern fire equipment and worked hard toward that end. Gas lights were placed along Main Street to the city limits. That stretch of street was paved.... This act recognized the change in methods of transportation from street car, train, and buggy to automobile.... Mr. Helme resigned as Mayor of Huntington Beach in May of 1917.

Comment: Not only does the nomination identify offices held by Matthew Helme, offices doubtless held by hundreds since 1900, it also explains Helme's distinctive achievements while in office. It is easy to see both that these are important contributions to the development of the community, and that they impart a significance to his political service not automatically incurred through merely having served one or more terms in an elected position.

Example #2; Acceptable:

The district encompasses what remains of the "commercial corridor," lining both sides of Main Street, which began to develop in the 1840s during Racine's earliest days as a Great Lakes port [and] flourished after the 1880s when Racine was growing as a center of manufacture.... It contains buildings which are associated with a number of ..."firsts" in the history of the city....

The earliest commercial development in the district was, of course the establishment of stores and workshops to serve the early settlers... The successful shopkeepers became involved in the economic development and in the government of the Village and of the City of Racine....

Nicholas D. Fratt and his brother Francis built the store at 420 Main (No. 18),.... [and] operated the Washington Market, as their store was called, until 1850. Nicholas was one of the founders of the Racine County Bank and became its president 1858. In 1859 he was the state senator from Racine. He also served as the president of the Racine County Agricultural Society and of the State Agricultural Society. In both 1881 and 1884, he was the Democratic candidate for Governor of Wisconsin....

The first Racine banks were organized in the district, and during the period of the Old Main Street District's commercial importance, they all maintained their offices in the district or very close by. . . . The first bank to succeed seems to have been the Racine County Bank, which was incorporated in January of 1854. . . . In 1864, the bank was reorganized as the First National Bank of Racine, and therefore, it became the oldest national bank in the county.... The building no longer exists, and the First National Bank of Racine is now known as the Marine Bank South.

Comment: The documentation explains the context within which successful merchants expanded their influence, and specifies the important role that Nicholas Fratt played within that context. The nomination clarifies the importance of this particular bank among many others, and although Fratt was only one of the bank's founders, and one of its presidents, the fact that he served as both suggests a more distinctive role than other founders or presidents. His presidency of several organizations involved in the area's commerce, and his election to the state senate and nomination for governor underscore his importance. The bank building is gone, and the store best represents Fratt's significance, which is in the area of commerce. Although Fratt served in the state senate and ran for governor, there is no context or analysis provided on which to evaluate his significance in the area of politics/ government.

Example #3; Not acceptable:

The Wilson House is significant under criterion B for its associations with the emergence of the traveling salesman as an important figure in American economic life. This association with an important historical development arises directly from the association of the property with Robert Cowan Wilson, a prominent Belton citizen, who made his living as a traveling salesman during a large portion of the period when he occupied the house. . . . The life of R. C. Wilson (1856-1942) is somewhat typical of a prosperous businessman of his era.

Comment: The problem is indicated in the last sentence of the paragraph. Although the nomination identifies Wilson's profession, and goes on to summarize the significance of that profession and give details of Wilson's life and professional activities, it does not explain Wilson's individual significance within his profession.

Example #4; Not acceptable:

It was during his farm years that Blair served three times in the state senate. . . . In 1877 he retired from the senate, left the farm to his two youngest sons, and built a large brick house in town. Prior to the time he purchased the farm, Blair had been a village trustee and served three terms as village president. Upon his return to town he re-entered village politics, and he remained active in the bank until his death in 1880....

Because of its associations with the Honorable William Blair, a local political leader and state senator for six years, the farm has local significance in the area of politics and government. After serving three terms as state senator and holding numerous local political offices, it is clear that William Blair was highly respected . . .-Blair School was named after him. The little Greek Revival farm house is most clearly associated with Blair during his years in the state senate, the period of his broadest-reaching political significance.

Comment: Although William Blair lived in this house during his six years in the state senate, the nomination does not explain how Blair's role as a state senator had "broad-reaching political significance" within a context of local or state political and governmental history. Also, since his role in local politics occurred while he lived "in town" rather than at the farm, his political achievements at that time would be associated with his residence(s) or office(s) in town, and not with the farm.

2. For properties associated with several community leaders or with a prominent family, it is necessary to identify specific individuals and to explain their significant accomplishments.

[photo]
Home (far left) of Dr. Mckimmon Brown, who was instrumental in establishing a small hospital that was for many years Birmingham's only hospital where black physicians could practice: part of the Smithfield Historic District, Birmingham, Alabama (Paige McWilliams).
Residential districts in which a large number of prominent or influential merchants, professionals, civic leaders, politicians, etc. lived will be eligible under Criterion B only if the significance of one or more specific individuals is explicitly justified. It should be clear which area(s) of significance is represented by each individual. When it is difficult to pinpoint the specific significance of individual residents because significance rests more in the cumulative importance of the collection of many prominent citizens, Criterion A is more appropriate because the district reflects a "broad pattern" of community development by having evolved historically into a neighborhood where this "class" of citizens resided.

For family seats, or other properties associated with a prominent family, it essential to identify the specific accomplishments of individual family members to qualify the property under Criterion B. In cases where a succession of family members have lived in a house and collectively have had a demonstrably significant impact on one or more aspects of the community's development, as a family, the house is more likely to be significant under Criterion A for a pattern of events.

Example #1; Acceptable:

Lumbering was and is one of the most significant industries in the state and region, and lumber company towns, prior to modern highways, played a significant role in that industry.... Potlatch's significance lies ... in its representation of company town planning and building design and its history. Potlatch is the best example of a lumber company town in Idaho, and it was one of the largest and longest-lived of the many Western lumber company towns....

Most of the significant individuals associated with the Potlatch Lumber Company lived in the Nob Hill Historic District, since virtually all the company's managers lived here. The two most significant were William Deary, the company's first general manager for whom the town of Deary, Idaho, is named, and Allison Laird, the first assistant general manager, then general manager upon Deary's death. Laird Park in northern Latah County, Idaho, is named for him. These two men directed the affairs of the company for nearly the first thirty years of its existence. Among other locally significant individuals to live here were A. A. McDonald, general manager of the Potlatch Mercantile; Walter J. Gamble, general manager of the W. I. & M. Railway; Walter Humiston, company assistant general manager after Deary's death; and James J. O'Connell, Potlatch Unit Manager of the Potlatch Forests, Inc. from 1932 to 1951.

Comment: The district is eligible under Criterion A as the residence of most of the managers of an important company, as well as other prominent local businessmen. It is the best resource representing the pattern of collective influence exercised by these men. The district also meets Criterion B because the nomination identifies the two specific individuals who were the most important managers in the company's history.

Example #2; Not acceptable:

The district is associated with the early settlement and growth of Opelika, some of its earliest pioneer families and its most prominent commercial families. Here the families of the town founders built and maintained homes, and here the most prominent bankers and merchants lived....

In 1865 successful Lee County planter John Edwards (b. 1838) and his wife of five years, Sara, built the district's most distinguished residence.... James McNamee was the Vice President and Director of the Bank of Opelika and a charter trustee of the Opelika Seminary... Surveyor William Barnes, Jr. (Born 1848)...was the son of distinguished attorney W. H. Barnes (1824-87) and the brother of two Opelika mayors....Josh C. Condan, a local jeweler, was a founder of the First National Bank and a town alderman.

Comment: Although the documentation may justify the district under Criterion A, because the neighborhood reflects a pattern of history by having developed as a focus of civically-active, prosperous, and well-connected citizens, the information on individuals is not adequate to qualify the district under Criterion B. The nomination either would have to specify how the activities of one or more of the persons discussed had a significant impact or influence on an aspect of the community's history, or would have to clarify how one or more specific individuals were distinguished in a significant way from other business or civic leaders by the number, type, or particular offices or activities in which they were involved. The significant achievements would have to have been accomplished by residents of the district, not by relatives of those living in the district. Additional information on those mentioned in the nomination might supplement the existing documentation sufficiently to show that the district meets Criterion B.

[photo]
Cox-Shoemaker-Parry House, Manti Utah: home of Orville Southerland Cox, a leading Mormon colonizer; Jezreel Shoemaker, an influential church and political official; and Edward Parry, the Welsh master mason of the Manti Temple (Tom Carter).
Example #3; Acceptable: The Exchange Bank of Golden is significant historically in that it represents an important step in the evolution of a business complex begun by a pioneer immigrant Illinois prairie family. The progression of business interests of the Emminga family from Germany served as the wellspring of development of the town of Golden and its surrounding rural community. Beginning with a county windmilling operation, the family entrepreneurship in turn included grain elevator and shipping businesses, flour processing and export, banking on a local and regional scale, sponsorship of the local newspaper, and through its banking functions, real estate development and underwriting of a myriad of local commercial and public enterprises. Collectively the Emminga interests accounted for a major portion of local employment....

By 1891 the bustle, noise, and dust of the milling operations created the need for a new mill office removed from the mill itself. For this purpose, Harm [Emminga] built a new commercial block just across the railroad tracks from the mill elevator complex.... In planning the office complex Harm had included a large walk-in vault as well as a free-standing safe. It was common practice for the mill office to hold sums of money for clients and frequently to make short term loans against grain receipts. It was natural, then, that the Exchange Bank would evolve at the opening of the new business block and in the same room as the mill office. While at first some of the mill personnel conducted bank business, as bank operators grew more sophisticated tellers, cashiers, and accountants were added to the bank payroll.

As loans were made not only for farming operations but also for varied business ventures, the commerce of the bank impacted significantly on the employment and business development of the Golden community. During these increasingly rapid growth years Harm Emminga was also developing real estate tracts in Golden and building some homes for some of his key personnel. The influence of Harm Emminga . . . was now felt in every aspect of community life.... The bank and the Emmingas so prospered that by 1921 they had become partners in all of the banks in Quincy, a regional center 35 miles west.

Comment: In addition to discussing the evolution of the family's business enterprises and their impact on the community (most of which documentation is not quoted above), the nomination explains the significant activities of a specific individual in the family, Harm Emminga. Therefore, the Exchange Bank meets National Register Criteria A and B.

Example #4; Acceptable:

Miller Brothers [Department Store] was founded in 1889 by Frank Miller, Sr. , and Gustavius H. Miller.... The original Miller Brothers store was located at 510 Market Street; . . . upon completion of the [current] Miller Brothers building [in 1898], company ads boasted "the greatest display of merchandise that has ever been shown in a Southern store....The new location was highly successful for the firm; . . . several other department stores provided competition but Miller Brothers overshadowed all rivals with their number of customers and sales volume....

In addition to their interest in the department store, each of the Miller brothers played a role in other commercial development in Chattanooga. Frank Miller, Sr. helped to found and manage the United Hosiery Mills Company and was active in banking and land investments. His brother Gus Miller served as Vice-president of the Hamilton National Bank. He also helped found the United Hosiery Mill and the Miller-Smith Mill. By the early 1920s the Miller brothers had helped to make Chattanooga the nation's second leading manufacturer of women's hosiery...

Both Gus and Frank were innovators in providing services to Chattanooga. Their store became a landmark in the city.... A 1972 newspaper article stated that Millers was regarded by many as a "Chattanooga institution" for its role in commerce and merchandising.

Comment: It is sometimes difficult to separate the degree of contribution by individual siblings or partners who simultaneously ran a significant business or other enterprise. If the documentation identifies specific important individuals, justifies the significance of their endeavor, and provides enough information to show that each person played an important role in rendering the endeavor significant, then the associated resource will be considered eligible under Criterion B for associations with both partners, even if it is not always clear which partner made a particular decision or conducted a specific activity. In the case of the Miller Brothers Department Store, the nomination supports the claims about the success and influence of the store in the city's commercial history with several pages of detailed documentation. All references to the store's management, including those quoted above, discuss the brothers as a pair. Additional activities of each brother indicate that both possessed business sense and ability.

This principle does not apply to cases where a business or homestead is associated with several generations of a family over the course of time, or with a large board of directors, in which cases the specific significant contributions of individual family or other members must be documented (see the next example).

Example # 5; Not acceptable:

The Jarman Farm . . . derives historical significance from the Jarman Family who were prominent early settlers in the northeast corner of Rutherford County....

Robert H. Jarman emigrated . ..from North Carolina in 1796. At an unknown date, he built a house off Cainsville Pike.... It is likely that he was one of the earliest settlers in the area. He appeared in the Wilson County Census as aged 50-60 with a wife and seven children. Jarman was apparently a successful farmer as is indicated by the fact that he owned twelve slaves. By 1850, Robert H. Jarman must have died since the census lists only his wife, Susan (Age-64), his son, Robert Hall (Age-27), and his daughter, Christianna (Age-20). Susan was born in Virginia but both children were born in Tennessee.

Between 1850 and 1860, Jarman's son, Robert Hall Jarman (1822-1884) built a house just south of his parent's [sic] home across the county line in Rutherford County. His farm prospered and by 1860, he owned nineteen slaves and had three slave houses on his property. After his death in 1884, the property passed to his son, Rufus E. Jarman. Rufus and his wife had been living in a small house just south of his father's house which had been built expressly for them a year earlier. Rufus and his wife moved into his father's home in 1884. Rufus Jarman was heavily involved in community affairs and helped build both the Lascassas School and the Lascassas Baptist Church. Records reveal that in 1882, he helped erect a house for the church to meet in and in 1922, he served as a committee member involved in building the church which stands today.

The house remains today in the Jarman family.

Comment: There is not enough information on any individual member of the Jarman family to explain how he was "significant in our past." The information on the early settler Robert H. Jarman is very sketchy and does not explain how his success was significantly distinctive from other prosperous early farmers. Moreover, the house that is nominated is not associated with him, since it was built after his death by his son, Robert Hall Jarman. The statement of significance does not address Robert Hall Jarman's significance, stating only that he prospered. Finally, although Rufus Jarman was "heavily involved in community affairs" and "helped build" a school and several church structures, the nomination does not explain his significance within the context of all those who were civically-active in the community.

3. Contributions of individuals must be compared to those of others who were active, successful, prosperous, or influential in the same field.

Part of establishing the historic context for evaluating a person's significance is discussing others who were involved in the same type of interests or activities. Many, many people have held positions of alderman, mayor, school trustee, bank president, union leader, hospital board member, business founder, and the like over the course of an average community's history. Some of them undoubtedly played important roles in the town's development, but it is unlikely that they all could be considered truly significant by having had a major individual impact or influence on the life of the community. Therefore, it is important to distinguish those whose activities, initiatives, or conduct in elected offices or other prominent positions made a significant difference in an area's history.

Nominations of properties for associations with leading local citizens must explain how selected individuals have been defined as leaders among their fellow citizens. It is not enough to show that an individual has acquired wealth, run a successful business, or held public office, unless any of these accomplishments, or their number or combination, is a significant achievement in the community in comparison with the activities and accomplishments of others. Otherwise, any property associated with any citizen who has attained the same level of success would meet National Register criteria. Unless that level can be demonstrated to have been distinctive, the concepts of leadership and significance have been lost. This does not mean that only the most prominent person in any given field can be considered important enough to be recognized with a National Register nomination, but each person must be shown to have played a distinctively significant role in comparison with others to qualify a property under Criterion B.

In some cases, the context for evaluating an individual's contributions may be provided by establishing the significance of a historic theme to a community, and then explaining the types of contributions that would qualify an individual as significant within that theme. Consider, for example, a community whose economic base during a specific period is linked to a particular industry such as flour-milling. If the nomination justifies the significance of the industry, and if the documentation adequately explains the types and degrees of accomplishments required of an individual to have played a significant role in the industry's history, then a property may be eligible for associations with an individual shown to meet those requirements. This would be true even if there are many other individuals and surviving properties associated with flour-milling. The key factors are specifying and adequately justifying within the community's (state's, or nation's) historical development, the activities or contributions defined as significant, and then documenting that a particular individual has made these contributions.

If a person's important contributions are unique, it is unnecessary to compare them with others. It is essential, however, to adequately document that the accomplishments are both unique and significant.

If a person is very well-known on a national scale for his or her accomplishments in an area of history, then it is not necessary to explain that significance in detail. However, the nomination should provide a general summary of that significance, such as "James J. Hill, later known as the 'Empire Builder,' was to fashion from this beginning the largest rail system in the nation." The nomination must also demonstrate the relationship and the significance of the nominated property to the individual's acknowledged significance. For people who are less well known, including most of those having local significance, it is necessary to provide context in sufficient detail to understand why the person was important.

One test of whether an individual's national significance is sufficiently acknowledged to preclude a detailed justification would be to ask if that person is included in the Dictionary of American Biography, the bibliographical section of the Encyclopedia of American History, or other reference works of similar recognized authority, or if (s)he is highlighted in college American history survey courses. Examples of individuals who meet this test are Cotton Mather, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, J.P. Morgan, Georgia O'Keefe, Norman Thomas, and others of similar stature.

If a property is being nominated for associations with a well-known figure of national importance for reasons other than those for which (s)he is widely famous, then the context and justification for that area of significance must explained.

Example #1; Acceptable:

The community's platting coincided with the arrival of the Port Huron and Lake Michigan Railroad in 1870, and growth followed swiftly. In only three years, the community was incorporated as a village. . . . In the 1870s, lumbering and agriculture were the key industries. Imlay City was developing rapidly as a wood products and agricultural center and, by 1883, . . . the village had a population of 1000 people, . . farm produce for shipping, and a second rail connection.... By 1887, the village had even grown bold enough to challenge Lapeer for the county seat. . . .

The town did not become the county seat, but continued to grow slowly in the 1880s, 90s, and early twentieth century, with agriculture the mainstay of the economy once the short-lived lumber boom ended....

The construction of the railroad line opened up a previously only very thinly settled area and provided markets for locally produced lumber and agricultural goods. Farming in Imlay City and other southern Michigan towns was not of the subsistence type, but involved the raising of cash crops, such as wheat, which were processed near the source. The resulting products were shipped to markets-often in the east or northeast-by rail. The provision of elevators and other storage facilities on the railroad line and at a conventional central point for the area was also a necessary prerequisite for commercial-scale farming. The location of the elevators and other storage and shipping facilities at the central site formed the nucleus of a market town/ agricultural service center.

Imlay City had one elevator when Walter Walker (1850-1923) and his younger brother Robert settled in 1873, Jacob Lamb . . . had erected a grain elevator in 1870-71. During Lamb's first two years of operation, he disbursed half-a-million dollars to farmers in return for their wheat. County histories of the period proclaimed the Lamb elevator to be the largest one standing between Port Huron, Michigan and Chicago.

In spite of the competition from Jacob Lamb, however, the Walker Brothers elevator also prospered and reflected the strength of Imlay City's economy. Beginning in 1874 with the construction of a second grain elevator and a storehouse for the storage for shipping of other local agricultural produce, the Walkers quickly became the larger of the two local firms engaged in the elevator/ storage/agricultural supply business. By 1887 Walter Walker & Co. . . had two of the three grain elevator's in town with a total capacity of 60,000 bushels. The firm continued on as the leading agricultural products-storage and agricultural supply business in town until Walter Walker's death in 1923 and remained in operation until the 1930s. Of the Walter Walker & Co. buildings, only a single warehouse survives today.

Comment: Despite Jacob Lamb's earlier, also highly successful, and possibly larger, grain elevator, the context makes clear that Walker's business also was important to the city's agriculturally-based economy.

Example #2; Acceptable:

The St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway Company Shops . . . are historically significant as the oldest existing Railroad Shops Complex in the state, and as the railroad facility which provides the most concrete historical link to the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, Minnesota's first successful railroad company, and to James J. Hill, the state's most powerful and influential railroad magnate....

Despite . . . early success, the company suffered financially, and in 1879, it was purchased by James J. Hill and three other St. Paul investors who organized the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway Company. James J. Hill, later known as the "Empire Builder," was to fashion from this beginning the largest rail system in the nation. To construct this vast network, Hill needed a railroad shop complex larger than the original St. Paul and Pacific shops in downtown St. Paul. In 1882 he began to supervise the construction of the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway Company Shops on a thirty-six acre site south of Oakland Cemetery. . . .

James J. Hill spent much of his time at the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway Company Shops, overseeing the development of new technology and supervising work.

Comment: James J. Hill is well-known as one of the major railroad magnates of the late nineteenth-early twentieth centuries, and his significance need not be justified in the nomination in any detail, as long as it is summarized, as it is in the above excerpt. The way in which the nominated resource represents his significance does need to be justified, and since his empire grew from his takeover of the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, and since the nomination states that Hill spent a considerable amount of time in those shops overseeing work, the resource meets Criterion B.

 

[photo]
St. Paul Minneapolis, and Manitoba Railway Company Shops, St. Paul, Minnesota (Miller F. Dunwiddie).
Example #3; Not acceptable:

The Richard Murphy-Walter Walker House is significant for its associations with business people who helped establish the economic foundations of Imlay City. Richard Murphy, who built the home in 1896, was an early Imlay City carriage and wagon maker. . . .

In 1874, Richard Murphy . . . immigrated to Imlay City from Canada. Murphy opened a cabinet and woodworking shop on the corner of Third Street and Almont Avenue and, over the next five years, expanded his business to include the production of carriages and wagons and began to invest in real estate. The operations must have met with success because on October 28, 1879, Richard and Arabella Murphy purchased property from Jonathan Hunt for $500 and on August 2, 1883, The Lapeer Democrat reported that "Richard Murphy intends building, at once, a fine residence on his five-acre lot on Almont Avenue."

Comment: This example is taken from the same nomination as that which included the discussion of Walter Walker (see Example #1), but in the case of Richard Murphy, the context does not provide any information that would help us evaluate the significance of Murphy's success as a businessman. Although Murphy "must have met with [financial] success," in his cabinet/woodworking business, carriage construction, and real estate dealings, the documentation does not explain the significance of Murphy's business or of his individual accomplishments, either within the context these professions, or in comparison with other successful and prosperous businessmen of the period.

[photo]
David T. and Nan Wood Honeyman House, Portland, Oregon, ca. 1909: home of progressive leader and reformer Nan Wood Honeyman, the first woman from Oregon to serve in the U.S. Congress (from the collection of the Oregon Historical Society, Neg. No 35935, #1822).
4. Properties that were constructed within the last fifty years, or that are associated with individuals whose significant accomplishments date from the last fifty years, must possess exceptional significance to be listed in the National Register.

To ensure professionalism and objectivity in assessing our history, the National Register criteria require that a property have acquired significance at least fifty years ago, or that more recent characteristics or associations possess exceptional significance. This requirement helps protect against transitory interest in recent persons and events that may not withstand the test of time, and allows a sufficient passage of time for scholars to have developed an interest in, conducted research on, and made critical judgments about past events, themes, and people.

Because it is important to be able to evaluate the accomplishments of an individual objectively, with the benefit of historical perspective, the function of the Register would be substantially changed if the National Register were to become a means of honoring living figures. The impossibility of maintaining historical perspective in the listing process ultimately would have the effect of devaluing the recognition afforded by listing in the National Register. Therefore, properties associated with living persons generally are not considered eligible for inclusion in the National Register.

 

[photo]
Portrait of U.S. Representative Nan Wood Honeyman, 1939 (Harris & Ewing; from the collection of the Oregon Historical Society, Neg. No. 011397).
If a person has ceased making contributions in a field of achievement for sufficient length of time to allow a scholarly and objective assessment of his or her role within that field, the National Register will consider listing a property that represents the person's assessed significance. The National Register criteria define a sufficient passage of time as fifty years unless the individual's accomplishments can be documented as having been exceptionally significant. Exceptional significance must be clearly established and broadly recognized in scholarly literature and public consciousness.

A person does not have to be nationally known and recognized to have made an exceptionally significant contribution to our history. The standards for evaluating exceptional significance are the same whether a resource is important to a community, state, or the nation. *

{*Additional guidance on this issue appears in National Register bulletins "How to Evaluate and Nominate Properties Less than Fifty Years Old" and "How to Apply National Register Criteria for Evaluation." }

Example #1; Acceptable:

The Elijah Pierce Properties are significant for their affiliation with Elijah Pierce, the internationally recognized wood carver/folk artist, who is considered to have made a significant contribution to the black American folk tradition. The basis of this legacy was established in the 1920's and 1930's. The two properties included in this nomination are 1) his former residence . . . and 2) his former barbershop . . . . Both properties are associated with Elijah Pierce's productive life as a wood carver.

The Elijah Pierce Properties have achieved significance within the last fifty years. They are exceptionally significant. . . . Past performance (the demolition of eleven other structures associated with Elijah Pierce) has illustrated the need for additional means to foster awareness, promotion, respect and preservation of these resources. . . .

Elijah Pierce (b.1892) . . . arrived in Columbus, Ohio in 1924. He worked and lived in as many as fourteen different locations in the near eastside neighborhood of Columbus. The residence and barbershop being nominated are two of only three such structures still standing. . . . [The third is] not included in this nomination because of its more recent association with Elijah. . .

In all types of wood Elijah's untrained hand has carved out the images and then embellished them with brightly colored house paints, varnish, glitter and rhinestones. "Unlike many other carvers and painters of the twentieth century who are described as 'folk artists' but whose work reflects an individual as opposed to communal aesthetic, Mr. Pierce merits the title 'folk artist' in the strict academic sense . . . ." (Robert T. Teske, Arts Specialist, Folk Arts Program, National Endowment for the Arts)(4)

Elijah Pierce's works consist of both free standing figures and bas reliefs. "He has taken traditional craft techniques, shared by African-American and Anglo-American practitioners, and used them in combination with a particularly powerful personal religious vision to create a body of work that is simply unparalleled in the field." (Timothy Lloyd, Traditional Arts Program, Ohio Arts Council)5 "The religious aspect of Pierce's work reached an apogee with two works, the monumental Crucifixion and The Book of Wood. The former was carved in numerous small pieces in 1933 and only later mounted in its present form. The Book of Wood was completed over about a six month period in 1932...(Livingston, 1982)(6) . . .

Folk artists were not considered within the mainstream of art criticism until fairly recently, but well qualified individuals have evaluated Pierce's work and their conclusions have established his prominent place in American art. The fact that Pierce's national [sic] has been evaluated in a national context in such primary folk art references as American Folk Art by Robert Bishop and Twentieth Century Folk Art and Artists by Hemphill and Weissman evidences that art historians believe sufficient time has passed to evaluate his work in an historical context. Since the early 1970's art galleries and museums which have recognized Elijah Pierce include the Museum of Modern Art, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, The Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art. The Corcoran Gallery and the International Meeting of Native Art in Zagreb, Yugoslavia where he took his first prize. Although much of this attention to Elijah Pierce and to folk art in general has been of late, it is important to recognize that many of Pierce's most noteworthy carvings date back more than fifty years ago ....

Elijah Pierce's barbershop ... was built in 1954. It was the first and only shop he had built for himself.... The shop was more than just a place where Elijah practiced his trade and art, but the special arrangements of carvings hanging on the walls, and selection of colors for the decor, or instance, are all extensions of Pierce's creativity. The barbershop is essentially unchanged from when it was an active barbershop. Significant features include the barber chair, sink and the table and chair where Elijah had whittled away between customers....

Elijah Pierce's residence ... served as his home from 1946 until 1970. It was his primary place of residence in the city of Columbus, having served him for 24 years (the longest he ever lived at one location). It too is significant for its integral role with the creative spirit of Elijah Pierce. He carved both at home and at his shop whenever he had a spare moment.

Comment: The use of footnotes and other references to specific sources demonstrate that Pierce's work has been the subject of scholarly assessment for some time, and has been evaluated as significant by numerous experts. The National Register does not require footnotes, but referencing sources in the statement of significance often strengthens a case by showing that various materials listed in the bibliography have been cited as more than general reference works in the field, and that they actually discuss the person or property under consideration. A comprehensive bibliography, copies of or excerpts from articles on the significant person, and letters from scholars and other experts assessing the person's significance also can help support exceptional significance. Evidence of prizes, awards, and recognition such as gallery exhibits by individuals and organizations with expertise also help strengthen the case.

The critical acclaim accorded many of Pierce's early carvings provides some evidence that sufficient time has elapsed to allow his work to be assessed with historic perspective. Nevertheless, his significance also rests in the accumulated body of work over the course of his career, which appears to have extended at least until his retirement in 1980. Although no properties exist that represent his early career, the two nominated buildings are directly associated with the creation and display of Pierce's works, and possess exceptional significance as rare surviving properties associated with the career of this renowned artist. These buildings meet Criterion B rather than Criterion C because they are significant for associations with the career of the artist rather than as examples of his work.

Example #2; Acceptable:

Clarence Chamberlain was one of that generation of aviators, including Charles A. Lindbergh, who contributed to the exciting and spectacular development of American aviation after W.W. I. Chamberlain is best known for his June 4-6, 1927 flight across the Atlantic which, by reaching Germany, broke Lindbergh's 2-week old distance record...

In less spectacular, but perhaps more valuable ways, Chamberlain before and after his flight contributed to the growth of American aviation. He was a test pilot for Giuseppe Bellanca, a pioneer designer of aircraft who also built the "Columbia" [the plane in which Chamberlain made his historic June, 1927, trans-Atlantic flight], flying all of Bellanca's early planes to test their speed, mileage, handling, and safety. In August, 1927, he made the first trans-Atlantic airmail flight. In later years, he continued to test aircraft for a variety of companies, and served as chairman of the New York City aviation commission.

Chamberlain has been elected to the Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio.

Comment: Although Clarence Chamberlain was still living when the National Register received this nomination, his house was accepted because the "pioneer" era in aviation is clearly over, and contributions to the early development of aircraft and air travel can and have been evaluated.

Example #3; Not acceptable:

The Todd Downing House is a two-story structure that was built in the late 1910s. . . . It is primarily important because Todd Downing (1902-1974) lived there and owned the structure for most of his life. . . . He took his B.A. in 1924 and M.A. in 1929; . . . . Downing made his most important contribution to his region as a writer. By 1973, he had published eleven different books, the first ten of which were mystery novels which had their setting in Old Mexico. . . . Two of Downing's books were selections of the Crime Club which characterized him as "the most promising mystery writer in America." His last book, Mexican Earth, was a non-fiction historical, ethnological and travel book about Mexico; it was named by the National Library of Mexico as one of the best books published in English about Mexico....

Downing made another important contribution to his region as a linguist. In 1970 he completed Chahta Anompa, A Choctaw Grammar. Now in its third edition, this publication stimulated a revival of interest in the Choctaw language.

Comment: Although the house itself is over fifty years old, Downing's achievements took place primarily, possibly entirely, within the last fifty years. The documentation dates only one of his numerous publications, but because of the dates of his degrees, it appears that he did not begin his writing career until 1930 at the earliest, and his most acclaimed works were completed only within the last fifteen-twenty years. The recent nature of much of his work raises the question as to whether there has been sufficient passage of time to allow an objective assessment of the importance of his works. The documentation contains no historic context and no scholarly analysis of his work on which to judge whether or not his contributions to the fields of literature or education can be considered exceptional.

5. A property that is significant as an important example of an individual's skill as an architect or engineer should be nominated under Criterion C rather than Criterion B.

Properties that embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, that represent the work of master, or that possess high artistic values meet National Register Criterion C. A property that illustrates a person's skill as an architect or the development of skill, technique, or design preference through his or her career or body of work is eligible under Criterion C. Properties associated with another aspect of an architect's life or career rather than or in addition to illustrating his or her architectural talent, may meet Criterion B. For example, the home and studio of an important architect, whether or not (s)he designed it, may be eligible for associations with his or her career. A famous architect also may be significant in areas other than architectural design, such as community planning, philanthropy, politics, education, or some other field, and a resource associated with the person's achievements in any of those areas may meet Criterion B.

Example #1; Acceptable:

The Gladding House is particularly significant for its architecture, a fine rendering of the Spanish Pueblo Revival motifs, and for its importance in the Country Club Addition as the home of James Gladding, the developer and primary architect of this handsome neighborhood, now known as Spruce Park. . . . Spruce Park is notable for its fine houses in Mediterranean and Spanish Pueblo Revival styles, and for its beautiful landscaping.

Gladding developed the neighborhood as President of Southwestern Construction Company while maintaining his architectural and engineering firm....

The 1926 Building Permit shows Southwestern Homes as contractor and owner of the $6000 adobe building, which served as the model home for the subdivision until 1928, when Gladding moved in. As the model home, it emphasized the importance of southwestern styles in the new subdivision....

The Gladding House is important as the model home for a subdivision which has become one of Albuquerque's most attractive and coherent neighborhoods. Handsome on its own, it is even more significant as a key building for the Spruce Park neighborhood.

Comment: The Gladding House meets National Register Criterion B as home of the developer and chief architect for one of the city's most architecturally and socially prominent neighborhoods. The significance of association with Gladding rests in the house having served as his home, not as an example of his work, although Gladding's willingness to live in one of his houses may have added to the press of the neighborhood by showing the architect's confidence in his work. Although the house also meets Criterion C as a significant example of a type, period, and method of construction, the nomination neither claims nor documents significance of the house as the work of a master.

 

[photo]
Archbishop Lamy's Chapel, Santa Fe County, New Mexico: chapel used from 1874 to 1909 by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy, whose successes in reviving missions and establishing schools, hospitals, and other social institutions greatly improved community life in his jurisdiction (Karl H. Reichel).
Example #2; Not acceptable:

The Reno County Courthouse (1929-1930) is being nominated to National Register under criteria B and C for its historical association with William Earl Hulse (1882-1943) and for its architectural significance. Designed by Hutchison based architect Hulse, the stepped, five-story brick and limestone Reno County Courthouse is a fine and rare [state] example of the Art Deco style. . . The Art Deco courthouse is Hulse's eighth and last . . . county courthouse [in the state] and is his only example in that style. His other courthouses were built in the 1910s and 1920s in the prevailing Neo-Classical styles. The Reno County Courthouse maintains a very high degree of interior and exterior architectural integrity and is a significant example of the Art Deco style as interpreted in a pre-Depression designed public building.

Comment: As a significant example of Hulse's skill as an architect, or as an unusual stylistic example in the body of work of an architect prominent in the construction of public buildings in the state, which therefore represents something important about Hulse's work and career as an architect, the courthouse would be most appropriately nominated under Criterion C alone (work of a master), and not Criterion B. The courthouse also meets the portion of Criterion C that pertains to a type, period, or method of construction.

 

[graphic] Link to Next Page [graphic] Link to Top of Page [graphic] Link to Previous Page

National Register Home | Publications Home | Previous Page | Next Page
Comments or Questions

JPJ