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Preservation 101

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Preservation 101

What is Historic Preservation?

Historic preservation is often defined as the process of identifying, protecting and enhancing significant historical and cultural resources:  buildings, places and objects.  This process includes survey and evaluation of resources; development of planning and legal measures to protect resources; identification of funding sources for preservation projects; restoration, rehabilitation, and/or adaptive use of resources; and their maintenance.

Historic preservation aims to protect historic resources which give a unique sense of place and time to a location. A property can be designated as historic by national, state, or local government. Designated properties are subject to requirements and benefits that preserve the historic character of a district.

What is the National Historic Preservation Act?

The National Historic Preservation Act (P.L. 89-665, 80 stat. 915), enacted in 1966, established the U.S. policy of preserving history, balancing concerns for future use of the property. Considered by many to be the most important historic preservation legislation passed by Congress, the act responded to public concern that many historic resources were unaccounted for and rapidly being lost as a result of public works projects. 

The act set a framework for national historic preservation policy, including establishing the National Register of Historic Places, State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) and locally regulated historic districts. The NHPA has been strengthened and expanded by several subsequent amendments.

What is the Historic Preservation Fund?

The HPF was established by Congress in 1976 and provides funds authorized annually to support the programs and activities identified in the National Historic Preservation Act. Read more.

What is the National Register of Historic Places?

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Read more.

What does "Section 106 Review" mean?

Section 106 refers directly to a particular part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 that requires every federal agency to take into account how each of its undertakings could affect historic properties. Read more.

Local Preservation Law

Local historic preservation commissions promote sustained historic preservation initiatives in both towns and counties. Read more.

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