How to Register a Historical Landmark

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How to Register a Historical Landmark. Register historical landmarks with individual states, counties and towns or with the National Historic Landmarks Program under the U.S. National Park Service. Landmark designation has advantages such as protecting the building or site itself, limiting development in the surrounding area and eligibility for funding to make improvements, enhancements or do maintenance.

Things You'll Need

  • Geographic background
  • Historical information
  • Nomination form and instruction booklet for federal, state, county or town designation

Gather all the historical background on the property. This helps you decide whether to apply for local, state or national designation. You need dates of construction, uses, unusual aspects of the property, significance of architecture or use and ownership information. Checklists are available from government landmarks programs.

Obtain the necessary certifications. Nomination guides, such as the "National Register Bulletin: How to Prepare National Historic Landmark Designations," tell you it prepares such certifications.

Check criteria and exceptions. There's a lot of detail involved in preparing a designation nomination, so make sure the property meets criteria and exceptions before getting too far into the process.

Solicit assistance and local support. A local designation committee with support from historical societies, town councils and other community leaders helps spread the work around and helps the application.

Publicize the effort. Communicating a designation effort builds community spirit and support you may need later.

Ensure the application is complete. You may need maps, photographs, drawings, corroboration and letters of support.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be patient when you register your landmark. The process can take time, not only to gather information but also for review by the appropriate agency.
  • Get your elected representatives involved in the effort to help with publicity and to secure future financial resources, if necessary.
  • Not everyone supports historical designation, especially if there are disputes over land use.

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