History of the National Register of Historic Places

The History of the National Register of Historic Places began in 1966 when the United States government passed the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), which created the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Upon its inception, the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) became the lead agency for the Register. The Register has continued to grow through two reorganizations, one in the 1970s and one in 1980s and in 1978 the NRHP was completely transferred away from the National Park Service, it was again transmitted to the NPS in 1981.

Early years

George B. Hartzog Jr
George B. Hartzog, Jr. Director of the National Park Service from January 8, 1964, until December 31, 1972.[1]

In April 1966, six months before the National Register of Historic Places was created, the National Park Service's history research programs had been centralized into the office of Robert M. Utley, NPS chief historian, in Washington, D.C.,[2] as part of an overall plan dubbed "MISSION 66." On October 15, 1966, the Historic Preservation Act created the National Register of Historic Places and the corresponding State Historic Preservation Offices.[3] Initially the National Register consisted of those National Historic Landmarks designated before the Register's creation as well as any other historic sites within the National Park system.[4] The passage of the act, which was amended in 1980, represented the first time the United States had a broad based historic preservation policy. While the National Register did not provide specific protection to listed properties it did require federal agencies to assess the impact of activities on buildings and properties listed or eligible for listing on the NRHP. The 1966 act required those agencies to work in conjunction with the SHPO and an independent federal agency, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) to confront adverse effects of federal activities on historic preservation.[5]

Another Interior agency, the National Park Service, had past experience overseeing the Historic American Buildings Survey (1933) and the Historic Sites Survey authorized in 1935. Because of this, and the fact that the Park Service was already managing numerous historic properties within national parks, the NPS was the logical choice to head up the newly created historic preservation program.[6] To encompass the newly created National Register of Historic Places, the National Park Service, under director George B. Hartzog, Jr., created an administrative division called the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP).[5][7] The division oversaw several existing cultural resources programs, including the Historic Sites Survey, Utley's history division and the Historic American Buildings Survey, as well as the new NRHP and Historic Preservation Fund.[5] Hartzog charged OAHP with creating the National Register program mandated by the 1966 law. Ernest Connally was the Office's first director and it was he who observed that American historic preservation ought be carried out, "with the informed advice and assistance of the professional and scholarly organizations of the disciplines most directly related to the endeavor; namely history, architecture, and archeology."[7] Within OAHP new divisions were created to deal with the National Register.[2] The first official Keeper of the Register was William J. Murtagh, an architectural historian.[4]

In the Register's earliest years, the late 1960s and early 1970s, organization was lax and SHPO were small, understaffed and underfunded.[7] Indeed, money was tight, but funds were still being supplied for the Historic Preservation Fund to provide matching grants-in-aid to listed property owners, first in house museums and institutional buildings but later in commercial structures as well.[5] During this time period, the SHPO had little time to devote to serious planning, even if it wanted to; the demands of saving historic properties and building the organizations from the ground up consumed most of the early state office's resources. As a result, neither the State Historic Preservation Offices nor OAHP really took planning seriously.[7] In 1969 Connally told Charles Lee, a State Historic Preservation Officer from South Carolina, "write a paragraph of two on each of these headings. Call it 'The Preliminary South Carolina Historic Preservation Plan.' If it makes any sense at all, I'll approve, and you can file for your brick-and-mortar projects."[7]

Reorganization

In 1973 the NPS history programs affiliated with both the U.S. National Parks system and the National Register were formally categorized into two "Assistant Directorates." Established were the Assistant Directorate for Archeology and Historic Preservation (ADAHP) and the Assistant Directorate for Park Historic Preservation (ADPHP). The Assistant Directorate for Archeology and Historic Preservation dealt with those cultural resources which were external to the National Parks system. The ADAHP included the Grants, National Register, Historical and Architectural Surveys and the Interagency Services Divisions of the Park Service. The ADPHP, on the other hand, dealt primarily with those resources associated internally with the NPS. The ADPHP included the History, Archeology and Historic Architecture Division.[2]

Incentives program

Until 1976 tax incentives were virtually non-existent for buildings on the National Register. Before 1976 the federal tax code favored new construction over the reuse of existing, sometimes historical, structures.[5] After 1976 the tax code was altered to provide tax incentives which promote preservation of income-producing historic properties. The responsibility of ensuring that only rehabilitations that preserved the historic character of a building would qualify for the federal tax incentives fell to the National Park Service. Properties and sites listed on the Register as well as those considered contributing properties to a local historic district "approved by the Park Service" became eligible for the federal tax benefits.[5]

Owners of properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places can be eligible for a 20% investment tax credit for the "certified rehabilitation of income-producing certified historic structures." The rehabilitation can be as commercial, industrial or residential, for rentals.[8] The tax incentives program is operated by the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program, which is jointly managed by the National Park Service, SHPO, and the Internal Revenue Service.[9] Aside from the 20% tax credit the tax incentive program offers a 10% tax credit for rehabilitation to owners of non-historic, non-residential buildings constructed before 1936.[10]

The 20% tax incentive has very specific clauses indicating when it can be applied.The credit can be used for, "any project that the Secretary of the Interior designates a certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure."[10]

The NHPA made no distinction between properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places and those designated as National Historic Landmarks concerning qualification for tax incentives or grants. This was deliberate on the part of the 1966 act's authors, past experience had shown that categories of significance caused the lowest category to become expendable.[4] Essentially, this reduced the Landmarks to little more than the "honor roll" of the National Register of Historic Places.[4]

Under the Recreation service

Cecil D Andrus
U.S. Secretary of the Interior (1977-1981) Cecil D. Andrus removed the National Register from the jurisdiction of the National Park Service in 1978.

From 1978 until 1981, under President Jimmy Carter's administration, the lead agency for the NRHP was the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (HCRS) within the United States Department of Interior.[6] The National Park Service's brief period without the Register under its auspices began in the summer of 1978 when the separation between the two directorates established in 1973 became more pronounced. Secretary of the Interior Cecil D. Andrus transferred authority over the Assistant Directorate for Archeology and Historic Preservation, which included the National Register of Historic Places, to the new Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service.

HCRS' time at the head of, essentially, all programs dealing with historic preservation formerly under the National Park Service, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation (BOR) and the National Historic Landmarks Program, was tumultuous.[7] Carter brought in administrator Chris T. Delaporte, former head of the BOR, to lead the upstart HCRS, his assertive management style and lack of experience in historic preservation further separated state and federal entities on the topic and touched off protest from the states.[7]

When James G. Watt was appointed to the Interior post by Ronald Reagan among his first moves was to abolish the HCRS. This move transferred the divisions under its control, then under the leadership of Jerry L. Rogers, back to the National Park Service.[2]

Second reorganization

In February 1983 the two assistant directorates, created in 1973, were merged to promote efficiency and recognize that the cultural resource programs associated with both directorates were interdependent. Rogers, described as a skilled administrator who was sensitive to the need for the NPS to work with SHPO, academia and local governments, was picked to lead this newly merged associate directorate. When the NPS had reorganized in the mid-1960s it had eliminated the positions of regional historians and chosen instead to merge those positions into Utley's Washington office. The 1983 reorganization of the directorates in control of Register activities represented a return to the organization pre-MISSION 66.[2]

Work with State offices

The NHPA established the historic preservation plan for the United States not based on a U.S. governmental model but rather on that of a highly decentralized system allowing the states to carry out activities which would allow the federal government to meet the standards of the 1966 act.[6] Though it was not initially spelled out in the 1966 act reliance on the SHPO eventually became important as part of the process of listing properties on the National Register. The 1980 amendments to the law further laid out the responsibilities of SHPO concerning the federal Register.[6]

By 1987 State Historic Preservation Offices existed in 57 separate jurisdictions, all fifty states and several territories. The SHPOs help make the management of the National Register and its affiliated incentive programs possible, with the states assuming much of the responsibility for monitoring rehabilitation construction on Registered Historic Places. The result is that the NPS sets standards and priorities, administers the grants program, and maintains quality control, while the SHPO carry out the work as agents of the federal government.[6]

Growth

The National Register of Historic Places has grown considerably from its beginnings as legislation in 1966. In 1986 citizens and groups nominated 3,623 separate properties, sites and districts for inclusion on the NRHP, a total of 75,000 separate properties.[6] By 1998, including historic districts and individually listed buildings there were over 1,000,000 buildings, sites and structures listed on the Register. Each year an additional 30,000 are added.[5] In 2007 there were over 80,000 listings in the National Register of Historic Places.[11]

Notes

  1. ^ "National Park Service Directors and Directorate," Historic Listing of National Park Service Officials, National Park Service. Retrieved March 22, 2007
  2. ^ a b c d e Bearss, Edwin C. "The National Park Service and Its History Program: 1864-1986: An Overview (in The National Park Service and Historic Preservation)," (JSTOR), The Public Historian, Vol. 9, No. 2, The National Park Service and Historic Preservation. (Spring, 1987), pp. 10-18. Retrieved March 22, 2007.
  3. ^ National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Public Law 102-575, National Register of Historic Places, Official site. Retrieved March 21, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d Mackintosh, Barry. "The Historic Sites Survey and National Historic Landmarks Program: A History," (PDF), National Historic Landmarks Program, Official site. Retrieved March 23, 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Fisher, Charles E. "Promoting the Preservation of Historic Buildings: Historic Preservation Policy in the United States," (JSTOR), APT Bulletin, Vol. 29, No. 3/4, Thirtieth-Anniversary Issue. (1998), pp. 7-11. Retrieved March 21, 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Hertfelder, Eric. "The National Park Service and Historic Preservation: Historic Preservation beyond Smokey the Bear (in Commentary: How Well Is the National Park Service Doing?)," (JSTOR), The Public Historian, Vol. 9, No. 2, The National Park Service and Historic Preservation. (Spring, 1987), pp. 135-142. Retrieved March 21, 2007.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Scarpino, Philip V. "Planning for Preservation: A Look at the Federal-State Historic Preservation Program, 1966-1986 (in The Intergovernmental Politics of Preservation)," (JSTOR) The Public Historian, Vol. 14, No. 2. (Spring, 1992), pp. 49-66. Retrieved March 21, 2007.
  8. ^ "What are the results of a listing?," National Register of Historic Places, Official site. Retrieved March 21, 2007.
  9. ^ "Historic Preservation Tax Incentives", Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service, Official site. Retrieved March 22, 2007.
  10. ^ a b About the Historic Preservation Tax Incentives, Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives, Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service, Official site. Retrieved March 22, 2007.
  11. ^ "About the National Register," National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service. Retrieved March 22, 2007.
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The Amelia Stewart House, also known as the Carol O. Wilkinson House and William Hallett House, is a historic residence in Mobile, Alabama, United States. It was built in 1835 in the Greek Revival style. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 29, 1992, based on its architectural significance.

Azalea Court Apartments

The Azalea Court Apartments is a historic three-story apartment building located in Mobile, Alabama. It was built in 1928 and was designed by architect J. Platt Roberts in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 1988.

Cannonball House (Macon, Georgia)

The Cannonball House located in Macon, Georgia, United States was constructed in 1853. The house was named the Cannonball House because of cannonball-inflicted damage sustained during the Civil War. The house was built using an authentic Greek revival architectural style and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The recreated meeting rooms of the Adelphean (ΑΔΠ) and Philomathean (ΦΜ) societies (the world's first college sororities established at Wesleyan College in 1851 and 1852, respectively) can be found on display inside the house. The entire house is furnished to the 1853 period.

The rear of the Cannonball House is occupied by a two-story kitchen built of hand-molded brick. The upper level of this house formerly served as servants' quarters. Few structures of this type remain in the South today. A bronze cannon, forged in 1864 at the Macon Arsenal, can be found on display in front of the Cannonball House.

Carolina Hall

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Cavallero House

The Cavallero House is a historic residence in Mobile, Alabama. It was built in 1835 in the Federal style. A cast-iron gallery was added in the mid-19th century. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 7, 1982. In addition to be individually listed in the National Register, the house is also a contributing building to the Lower Dauphin Street Historic District.

Dahm House

The Dahm House is a historic townhouse in Mobile, Alabama. The two-story brick structure was built in 1873 for John Dahm. It was designed by Bassett Capps. A two-story frame addition was added in 1929. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 5, 1984. In addition to being listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places, it is also a contributing building to the Lower Dauphin Street Historic District.

Denby House

The Denby House is a historic raised cottage in Mobile, Alabama. The one-story brick house was built by Charles Denby in 1873. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 5, 1984. In addition to being listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places, it is also a contributing building to the Lower Dauphin Street Historic District.

Emanuel Building

The Emanuel Building, also known as the Bank of Mobile and Staples-Pake Building is a historic commercial building in Mobile, Alabama, United States. The three-story masonry structure was built in 1850 and then remodeled several times over the next century. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 21, 1978.

Hawthorn House (Mobile, Alabama)

The Hawthorn House is a historic house in Mobile, Alabama, United States. The ​1 1⁄2-story wood-frame structure, on a brick foundation, was built in 1853 in the Gulf Coast Cottage style by Joshua K. Hawthorn. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 21, 1984, based on its architectural significance.

Joseph M. Walker House

The Joseph M. Walker House is a historic residence in Mobile, Alabama, United States. It was built in 1927 in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 12, 1991. It is a part of the Spanish Revival Residences in Mobile Multiple Property Submission.

List of bridges on the National Register of Historic Places in Alabama

This is a list of bridges and tunnels on the National Register of Historic Places in the U.S. state of Alabama.

Meaher–Zoghby House

The Meaher–Zoghby House is a historic townhouse in Mobile, Alabama. The two-story brick structure was built in 1901 for Augustine Meaher. It retains its original cast iron details and front yard fence. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 5, 1984. In addition to being listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places, it is also a contributing building to the Lower Dauphin Street Historic District.

Metzger House

The Metzger House is a historic residence in Mobile, Alabama, United States. The one-story Italianate-influenced brick structure was built by the Metzger family in 1875. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 5, 1984, due to its architectural significance.

Neville House (Mobile, Alabama)

The Neville House is a historic brick townhouse in Mobile, Alabama, United States. It was built in 1896, in an Italianate-influenced style. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 5, 1984.

Paterson House (Mobile, Alabama)

The Paterson House is a historic residence in Mobile, Alabama, United States. The 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) Mediterranean Revival style house was completed in 1927. It was designed by local architect Platt Roberts, who later designed Mobile's 16-story Waterman Building. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1986, based on its architectural significance.

Phillipi House

The Phillipi House, also known as the Mastin House, is a historic residence in Mobile, Alabama, United States. The two-story brick masonry structure was completed in 1850. It is built in a traditional Mobile townhouse style with a Greek Revival door surround and a second floor cast iron balcony across the front elevation. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 5, 1984, based on its architectural significance.

Stewartfield (Mobile, Alabama)

Stewartfield is a historic residence on the campus of Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, United States. It was built in 1849 in a Greek Revival style. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a part of the 19th Century Spring Hill Neighborhood Thematic Resource on October 18, 1984.

U. J. Cleveland House

The U. J. Cleveland House (also known as the Thomas Smith House) is a historic house located at 551 Charles Street in Mobile, Alabama. It is locally significant as an intact Gulf Coast Cottage with an unusual interior plan.

Wade Askew House

The Wade Askew House is a historic residence in Mobile, Alabama, United States. It was built in 1927 in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 12, 1991. It is a part of the Spanish Revival Residences in Mobile Multiple Property Submission.

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