National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places was established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and amended in 1980. It is the Nation's official listing of prehistoric and historic properties worthy of preservation. It affords recognition and protection for districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture. This significance can be at the local, state, or national level. The National Register serves both as a planning tool and as a means of identifying buildings, sites, and districts that are of special significance to a community and worthy of preservation.

What the National Register Does

  • Listing of a building, site, or district affords it a certain prestige. This can enhance the value of the property and raise community awareness and pride.
  • Income-producing (depreciable) properties which are listed in the National Register may be aided by the tax incentive provisions of the Tax Reform Act of 1976 and Economic Recovery Act of 1981 which encourage rehabilitation and discourage demolition.
  • In Arizona the Arizona State Historic Preservation Act of 1982 authorizes a reduction in property tax assessment for non-income-producing properties listed on the National Register. There is also a property tax incentive program for rehabilitations of listed income-producing properties.
  • Listing in the National Register provides a measure of protection from demolition or other negative effects by federally funded or licensed projects through comment by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as stated in Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and Executive Order 11593. A stewardship and management program of state owned properties outlined in the Arizona State Historic Preservation Act of 1982 has established a similar review process for state agencies. This review procedure is part of the planning process for all federal and state assisted projects.

What the National Register Does Not Do

  • It does not prevent the owner of a listed property from remodeling, repairing, altering, selling, or even demolishing a building listed in the National Register with other than federal or state funds. It also does not obligate an owner to make any repairs or improvements to the property. Owners of income-producing (depreciable) property may not be able to deduct the cost of demolition.
  • It does not prevent the use of city or private funds for demolition or other adverse effects to a property on the National Register.
  • It does not provide assurance that a federal or state project cannot adversely affect a listed property under any circumstance. It only assures a federal/state-level review of all federal/state funded or licensed projects that may have an adverse effect.

 
Information about National Register of Historic Places

  1. What is the National Register of Historic Places?
  2. How are National Historic Landmarks different from other National Register properties?
  3. What qualifies a property for listing on the National Register of Historic Places?
  4. What is the Arizona Register of Historic Places?
  5. How do I nominate a property to the National and/or Arizona Register of Historic Places?
  6. What are the benefits of having a property listed?
  7. How does listing on the National or State Register of Historic Places protect and preserve a property?
  8. If my home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will I be prohibited from making changes to my property?
  9. What are the sources of assistance available to assist me with my National Register property?
  10. How are properties worthy of nomination to the National and State Registers identified?
  11. Who maintains the list of eligible properties and those listed in the National and State Registers of Historic Places?

 
1.  What is the National Register of Historic Places?
The National Register of Historic Places is the official federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture. Properties eligible for listing in the National Register contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the nation. The National Register includes: all prehistoric and historic properties within the National Park Service System, National Historic Landmarks, and properties significant in national, state, or local prehistory and history.

 
2.  How are National Historic Landmarks different from other National Register properties?
National Historic Landmarks are properties recognized by the Secretary of the Interior as possessing extraordinary national significance. The National Historic Landmark program was established as a result of the Historic Site Act of 1935 (Public Law 74-292). The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (Public Law 89-665) authorized the National Register of Historic Places.  This Act expanded federal recognition to properties of local and state significance. The U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service administers both programs. State Historic Preservation Offices in each state are authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act to nominate properties to the National Register of Historic Places.

 
3.  What qualifies a property for listing on the National Register of Historic Places?
Properties eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places generally must be fifty years or older and must meet the following criteria of significance and integrity.

Criteria of Significance: Properties are evaluated in relationship to major historic and prehistoric themes in a community, state, or the nation. A property may be significant if it relates to any one or more of the following four aspects of American history:

(A) Association with historic events or activities,
(B) Association with an important person in history,
(C) Distinctive design or physical character, or
(D) Potential to provide important information about prehistory or history.

Criteria of Integrity: A property must also maintain enough of the original qualities that make it significant. These qualities of integrity include: location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.

 
4.  What is the Arizona Register of Historic Places?
The Arizona Register of Historic Places is the state's list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects worthy of preservation. Arizona has adopted the National Register criteria for evaluating eligibility for the State Register.

 
5.  How do I nominate a property to the National and/or Arizona Register of Historic Places?
Any individual, organization, government office, consultant, or public entity may prepare and submit a National Register Nomination. Nomination forms and instruction booklets have been prepared by the Department of the Interior, National Park Service and are available through the State Historic Preservation Office.

The National Register Coordinator and other staff at the State Historic Preservation Office are available to provide technical assistance. Completed forms are submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office for review and referral to the Arizona Historic Sites Review Committee.

The Arizona Historic Sites Review Committee: HSRC is Arizona's official State and National Register of Historic Places review board as mandated by state law and federal regulations. Its nine members represent the fields of history, archaeology, architecture and related fields. The committee typically holds public meetings three times a year to review nominations and advise the State Historic Preservation Officer on properties that should be placed in the National and Arizona Registers of Historic Places. Once a nomination has been reviewed and approved by the Arizona Historic Sites Review Committee, the property is placed in the Arizona Register of Historic Places and forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register for a final review and listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

 
6.  What are the benefits of having a property listed?
Local communities, states and the nation benefit from having tangible links to the past events, people, and artistic expressions that have molded the character of our nation.

  • Listing is recognition of a properties importance in local, regional, or national history.
  • Property owners are eligible for a number of grant and tax incentives as well as technical assistance in rehabilitation and maintenance of their historic property.
  • Listing properties has financial benefits for communities by contributing to the revitalization of neighborhoods and business districts and by promoting tourism.

 
7.  How does listing on the National or State Register of Historic Places protect and preserve a property?

  • Recognition and appreciation of historic properties and their importance.
  • Consideration in state or federal project planning and in state or federally assisted projects.
  • Eligibility for federal and state tax benefits.
  • Consideration in decisions to issue federal permits.
  • Qualification for federal and state grant assistance.

 
8.  If my home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will I be prohibited from making changes to my property?
No, you are not prohibited from making changes to your home. In order to insure that the changes you make do not negatively affect the historic integrity of your property and cause your property to lose its eligibility for the Register, the National Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Office recommend that you follow the Secretary of Interior's Standards. Contact the State Historic Preservation Office for technical assistance and to request a copy of the Standards.

 
9.  What are the sources of assistance available to assist me with my National Register property?

Grants Programs:

  • Certified Local Government (CLG) grants:  Ten percent of the Historic Preservation Fund Grant allocated annually to the states by Congress is passed through to Certified Local Governments (CLG) for matching grant-in-aid projects. Grants are awarded through a competitive process administered through the State Historic Preservation Office for activities such as: survey, inventory, stabilization, documentation, National Register nomination, rehabilitation, and planning. Depending on the availability of federal funds allocated, survey and planning grants may also be available. Funding for the Historic Preservation Fund Grant Program does not come from taxpayer's money but from fees for offshore mineral leases.
  • Historic Preservation Heritage Fund grants:  An initiative passed by Arizona voters in 1990 established the Arizona Heritage Fund with profits from the Arizona Lottery. Approximately $1.7 million of Heritage Fund money is allocated for historic preservation projects. Eligible applicants include incorporated municipalities, counties, state agencies, tribal governments, public educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations. DUE TO BUDGETARY CONSTRAINTS THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION HERITAGE FUND GRANT PROGRAM WILL NOT BE FUNDED.

Tax Incentive Programs:

  • The State Historic Property Tax Reclassification Program is designed to aid residential and commercial entities that seek to maintain and/or rehabilitate National Register-certified properties. The non-income producing portion of the program offered a reclassification of property effectively reducing up to fifty percent the tax assessment for owners of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The owner of the property enters into a 15-year agreement with the state under which the property must be maintained according to the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and must be used for non-income producing purposes. The non-income producing component aids property owners who are rehabilitating commercial properties by freezing their tax base for ten years. This allows property owners to make improvements that will increase the usage and value of the building without significant property tax increases. Again the owner must maintain the property according to the Secretary of Interior's Standards.
  • The Federal Investment Tax Credit Program authorizes a twenty percent investment tax credit for substantial rehabilitation of commercial historic properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The rehabilitation plans and specifications are reviewed and approved by the State Historic Preservation Office and then are forwarded to the National Park Service for final certification.

 
10.  How are properties worthy of nomination to the National and State Registers identified?
Surveys to identify National Register Properties and the documentation of these properties for the inventory is accomplished in a number of ways including: By the SHPO staff, through grants, by consultants, by Certified Local Governments, by state and federal agencies complying with state and federal legislation, and by neighborhood associations and private property owners. The State Historic Preservation Office provides inventory forms that are used to document pertinent information about the property. The SHPO reviews documentation provided and makes a determination of eligibility for the National and/or State Registers of Historic Places.

 
11.  Who maintains the list of eligible properties and those listed in the National and State Registers of Historic Places?
The State Historic Preservation Office maintains an inventory and documentation for properties listed on the Arizona and National Registers of Historic Places. The office also maintains a listing of properties that have been determined Register-eligible.

Arizona State Historic Preservation Office: SHPO: (602) 542-4009
Arizona National Register Coordinator: Vivia Strang at (602) 542-4662 or vstrang(at)azstateparks.gov 

 
National Register Nomination Forms and Information

AZ SHPO Handbook for Preparing a National Register Nonimation (PDF Document 2 MB PDF)
Arizona Historic Property Inventory Form (AZ SHPO)
(PDF Document 116 KB PDF)
National Register Form (NPS Form 10-900) (PDF Document 169 KB PDF)
National Register Form (NPS Form 10-900-a Continuation) (PDF Document 49 KB PDF)
National Register Form (NPS Form 10-900-b Multiple Properties Documentation Form) (PDF Document 84 KB PDF)
National Register Registration Instruction Bulletin (nrb16a-1) (PDF Document 306 KB PDF)
National Register Photo Policy Factsheet (PDF Document 301 KB PDF)
National Register Brochure Poster 2012 (PDF Document 10 MB PDF)
National Register Related Link Information 2013 (PDF Document 179 KB PDF)
National Register Form Revisions 2013 (PDF Document 85 KB PDF)
National Register Revised GIS Mapping Information 2013 (PDF Document 14 MB PDF)
Secretary of Interior Standards 2013 (PDF Document 45 KB PDF)
Recommendation of Preliminary Eligibility (ROPE) Instructions & Form (PDF Document 132 KB PDF) Word (Word Document 75 KB DOC)

Additional National Register Forms and Information National Register Publications. External Link

Top of Page (Top)     SHPO Home SHPO Home     Survey and Planning Next Section