National Park Service, Department of Interior Image with Arrowhead ParknetLinks to Pastcontact Title Image entitled Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, Preserving America's Heritage
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Route 66 and the National Register of Historic Places

(Released: May, 2002)

Even though many historic properties that were associated with Route 66 are no longer with us, there are numerous ways to assist in preserving the remaining properties that are the most representative and significant along the historic corridor. One of the ways is to assess whether or not a given property is eligible to be placed in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the official list of the nation's historic and archaeological properties worthy of preservation. The Register is a national inventory to which public agencies and private citizens may refer. It contains buildings, districts, historic and prehistoric archaeological sites, structures and objects that are significant as part of America's heritage.

Along the entire length of Route 66, all of the State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOS) in each of the eight states through which the route passes have had, or are currently updating, historic building inventories. These inventories provide the base line for helping us determine what preservation priorities exist and which properties are eligible for placement in the National Register. There are currently efforts underway in many states to nominate properties to the Register, either by private property owners or by local or state organizations.

So what does this designation mean? Listing in the National Register honors the property by recognizing its importance to its community, state, or the nation. Listing of a property does not impose any responsibilities upon the private property owner for maintenance or restoration. Private property owners can do anything they wish with their property, provided that no Federal license, permit, or funding is involved. Owners of National Register properties have no obligation to open their properties to the public, to restore them, or even to maintain them, if they choose not to do so.

So what are the benefits? Well, for one thing, it's pretty special to own, or even be able to visit, a National Register site. Registered properties are physical testimonies to what makes this country so great. By nominating significant properties to the Register along Route 66, the rest of the country can see how important this incredible road is to our nation and to our international visitors. Owners of listed properties may be able to obtain Federal historic preservation funding, when funds are available. For example, priorities for receiving cost-share funding currently administered by the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program are given to properties that are currently listed on the National Register. In addition, listed properties may be eligible to take advantage of Federal investment tax credits for rehabilitation, as well state tax credits in select states.

This past year, the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program has funded a combination of historic building surveys and national register nominations where needed, as well as some "brick and mortar" projects. This balance of funding allocation will help greatly in preserving those wonderful properties that make Route 66 a special part of America's heritage.

If you are interested determining whether a property is eligible for National Register status, or for help in nominating your property, contact your state historic preservation office. Contact information can be obtained by accessing the following web page: http://www.sso.org/ncshpo/shpolist.htm

More information about the National Register of Historic Places may be found at the following web address: www.cr.nps.gov/nr/

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