Established under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register of Historic Places is the Nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation, administered by the National Park Service (NPS), Department of the Interior. The New York State Historic Preservation Act of 1980 established the State Register program. In New York, the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), who is also the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), administers these programs. The same eligibility criteria are used for both the State and National Registers. Owners of National Register-listed properties may be able to obtain Federal historic preservation funding, when funds are available. In addition, Federal investment tax credits for rehabilitation and other provisions may apply.
Generally, properties eligible for listing in the State and National Register must be at least fifty (50) years old. Criteria for evaluation is also based on the quality of significance of a property in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture that is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects and that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, association, and:
A. That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history, or
B. That are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past (this can be on the local, state, or national level), or
C. That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction, or
D. That yield or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.
Ordinarily, cemeteries, birthplaces, or graves of historical figures, properties owned by religious institutions or used for religious purposes, structures that have been moved from their original locations, reconstructed historic buildings, properties primarily commemorative in nature, and properties that have achieved significance within the past fifty (50) years shall not be considered eligible for the State and National Registers. However, such properties will qualify if they are integral parts of districts that do meet the criteria or if they fall within the following categories:
a. a religious property deriving primary significance from architectural or artistic distinction or historical importance, or
b. a building or structure removed from its original location but which is significantly primarily for architectural value, or which is the surviving structure most importantly associated with a historic person or event, or
c. a birthplace or grave of a historical figure of outstanding importance if there is no other appropriate site or building directly associated with his/her productive life, or
d. a cemetery that derives its primary significance from graves of persons of transcendent importance, from age, from distinctive design features, or from association with historic events, or
e. a reconstructed building when accurately executed in a suitable environment and presented as part of a restoration master plan, and when no other building or structure with the same association has survived, or
f. a property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own historical significance, or
g. a property achieving significance within the past fifty (50) years if it is of exceptional importance
The National Register does:
1. Identify historically significant buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts, according to the National Register Criteria for Evaluation.
2. Encourage the preservation of historic properties by documenting the significance of historic properties and by lending support to local preservation activities.
3. Enable federal, state, and local agencies to consider historic properties in the early stages of planning projects.
4. Provide for review of federally funded, licensed, or sponsored projects which may affect historic properties.
5. Make owners of historic properties eligible to apply for federal grants-in-aid for preservation activities.
6. Encourage the rehabilitation of income-producing historic properties which meet preservation standards through tax incentives; discourage the demolition of income-producing properties through tax incentives.
The National Register does not:
1. Restrict the rights of private property owners in the use, development, or sale of private historic property.
2. Lead automatically to historic district zoning.
3. Force federal, state, local or private projects to be stopped.
4. Provide for review of state, local, or privately funded projects which may affect historic properties.
5. Guarantee that grant funds will be available for all significant historic properties.
6. Provide tax benefits to owners of residential historic properties, unless those properties are rental and treated as income-producing by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The nomination process for the State and National Registers is a collaborative effort between the property owner, sponsors, preservation consultants, and the staff of the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and is designed to encourage accurate documentation according to the professional standards set forth by the National Park Service (NPS).
The first step in the process requires the sponsor to submit a request, and complete and return the State and National Registers Program Applicant Forms and a Historic Resource Inventory Form, also known as a “Blue Form” to the SHPO. Materials submitted are then reviewed and evaluated by the staff of the Survey and National Register Unit using the National Register of Historic Places Criteria for Evaluation. Proposals that appear to meet the criteria for listing are then further developed.
In most cases a site visit by OPRHP staff is required prior to filing the National Register Nomination form. The nomination form consists of the registration form, a narrative description (“Section 7”), a statement of significance (“Section 8”), bibliographical references, maps, floor- plans, photographs, and any additional supporting materials. If the draft nomination is deemed satisfactory by OPRHP staff, it is then reviewed by the New York State Board for Historic Preservation, also known as the State Review Board, which meets quarterly. Once approved by the State Review Board, the nomination is then submitted to the National Park Service for final review.
Anyone may prepare a nomination to the National Register, including property owners, local governments, historic societies, a State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), Federal Preservation Officer (FPO), or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO). For further information on writing a national register nomination, contact AARCH at: (518) 834-9328; visit the National Park Service website: www.nps.gov; the Historic Preservation Field Services at: (518) 237-8634; or, log onto the OPRHP website at: www.nysparks.state.ny.us
View National Register sample nominations
Download National Register Nominations forms
Guidelines for completing the National Register Nomination forms
Available funding sources for National Register-listed properties
State Historic Preservation Office
Peebles Island State Park
P.O. Box 189
Waterford, New York 12188-0189
Ruth Pierpont, Director – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3269
Mark Peckham, National Register Unit Coordinator – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3258
John A. Bonafide, Historic Preservation Services Coordinator (Archeology, Tech. Units) – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3263
Julian W. Adams, Community Liason Coordinator (Certified Local Government Program) – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3271
National Register and Survey Unit:
Travis Bowman – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3259 (Fulton, Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, and Saratoga counties)
Lynn Garofalini – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3267 (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, and Warren counties)
William Krattinger – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3265 (Washington county)
Sloane D. Bullough – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3252 (NYS Rehabilitation Tax Credit, including Historic Home and Commercial)
Anne Marie Davis – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3105 (Fulton county)
James Warren (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties)
Christine Capella-Peters – (315) 492-1756 (Clinton, Franklin, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, and St. Lawrence counties)
Stacey Matson-Zuvic – (845) 786-2701, ext. 220 (Essex, Fulton, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties)
Nancy Herter – (518) 237-8643, ext. 3280 (Oneida county)
Philip A. Perazio – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3276 (Saratoga county)
Michael Schifferli – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3281 (Archeology Assessments state-wide, and Geographic Information Systems)
Cynthia Blakemore – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3288 (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Washington counties)