Preservation Primer: The National Register of Historic Places

03/30/2021
By Preservation Maryland

Perhaps nothing in preservation causes as much confusion as the National Register of Historic Places. Does it prevent demolition? Does it protect buildings? Can you change your paint color? Do you get tax breaks? Can you get a grant? This preservation primer will answer those and many more of the most frequently asked National Register questions.

 

The History & Scope of 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. The program was created in 1966 with the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act. The National Park Service is the official Keeper of the register – and in partnership with state historic preservation offices the Park Service decides what properties will be listed on the register. 

Since 1966, more than 93,000 individual properties and groups of properties, known as districts, have been listed – representing a total of over 1.8 million resources. Resources listed on the National Register include buildings, archaeological sites, districts, structures, and objects. Nearly every county in the nation has at least one resource listed on the National Register. 

Commonly Asked Questions about the National Register of Historic Places

How to List a Property on the National Register

Application forms and documentation go to the State Historic Preservation Office of the state where the property is located. In Maryland, that’s the Maryland Historical Trust. The State Historic Preservation Office can take one of several options: reject the property, ask for more information, list the property just with the state, or send the forms to us for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. More information on listing can be found at the link HERE.

Finding Properties on the National Register

The National Park Service maintains the National Register of Historic Places and maintains a fully searchable online database HERE.

The Maryland Historic Trust also maintains a map of historic properties within the boundaries of the state – including those listed on the National Register as well as the Maryland Inventory of Historic Places. Find the Trust’s online map HERE.

National Register of Historic Places Interactive Map

National Register of Historic Places Interactive Map.

DISCLAIMER: Preservation Maryland and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should always consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Preservation Maryland

Preservation Maryland is Maryland’s first and largest organization dedicated to preserving the state’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archaeological sites.

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