National Register of Historic Places
The official list of properties recognized by the federal government worthy of preservation for their local, state, or national significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, or culture.
Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identity, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archaeological resources. A program of the National Park Service, it is administered at the state level by each respective state historic preservation office. In addition to the National Register, the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places and the National Historic Landmark programs also recognize historic properties. The New Hampshire State Register is overseen by the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources (DHR) and is intended to recognize properties that are worthy of recognition and preservation in New Hampshire but may not rise to the level of significance as properties listed to the National Register. National Historic Landmarks are those cultural properties that have been designated by the Secretary of the Interior as nationally significant and have exceptional value or quality in illustrating and or interpreting our national heritage.
As of 2022, there are over 900 listings in the National Register in New Hampshire that include individual properties, historic districts, and archaeological sites. National Register nomination forms are available for review at our office. Additionally, the National Park Service has a searchable database for National Register listings.
Listing a Property
The first step is contacting the National Register & State Survey Coordinator at DHR, Megan Rupnik. This will initiate the nomination process, and DHR will assess whether the property is a good candidate for listing to the National Register. Additionally, DHR may already have information on file about the property.
Assuming that the property owner desires and/or consents to the listing, the National Register & State Survey Coordinator will then review all nomination drafts and provide comments to applicants until the nomination is ready for the next step in the process. Since the nomination form requires intensive research and an understanding of the National Register evaluation process, DHR recommends the use of a cultural resource professional to complete the form. DHR provides a list of qualified professionals.
Once the nomination is ready to move forward, the property will be presented to the New Hampshire State Historical ResourcesCouncil. The Council, a governor-appointed board that meets quarterly, reviews all nominations and votes to approve them for submission to the National Park Service and the Keeper of the Register. Property owners are notified before this meeting and given the means to object to the listing if they choose. Once the nomination is approved by the Review Board it is sent to the Keeper of the Register in Washington, DC. It is the Keeper who has the final decision if a property is listed to the National Register or not.
Criteria for Listing
Properties listed on the National Register are evaluated and found significant within an historic context that relates to one or more of the following criteria:
- An event, or series of events, activities, or patterns of an area's development (Criterion A)
- Association with the life of an important person (Criterion B)
- A building form, style, engineering technique, or artistic value. (Criterion C)
- Information Potential (Criterion D)
For a full explanation of criteria, integrity, and the criteria considerations and how they apply to nominating a property to the National Register, please take a look at Bulletin 15A "How to Apply The National Register Criteria."
Benefits of Listing
- Listings can help build community pride in the history of that community and its built environment.
- Historic districts can be centers of heritage tourism that help spur economic vitality.
- National Register nomination forms and the related documentation can serve as educational tools to help the community understand why these properties are important and as planning tools to help guide future work in their rehabilitation and stewardship.
- Listed properties are also identified early in the planning process for Federally funded and permitted projects as well as some state involved projects.
- Access, building, and safety codes generally include special provisions for historic properties, to take their particular circumstances and/or construction methods and materials into account. However, keep in mind not all building officials are aware of these specific considerations for historic properties.
- Listing to the National Register make applicable property owners eligible for grants like the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program or LCHIP and the Conservation License Plate Program.
- Commercial rehabilitations that will meet the "Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings" of properties listed on the National Register are potentially eligible for a 20% tax credit.
What National Register Listing Does Not Do
- Listing on the National Register alone does not place restrictions on the property, nor does it necessarily preserve a property in the future.
- Listing a property on the National Register will not stop any private, local or federally funded projects or require review for any privately funded projects with no federal or state involvement.
- Listing does not require the owner to provide public access to the property. Listing will not restrict the rights of private property owners in the use, development, or sale of their property.
- A historic district National Register designation does not automatically lead to the creation of a regulated historic district. Some towns have local regulated historic districts that are created through local legislation and are independent of listing to the National Register. Listed properties within locally regulated historic districts still must abide by the procedures and regulations established in their town's zoning laws.
- Being listed in the National Register alone will not prohibit the move of a property however, properties moved without permission from the Keeper of the National Register will be automatically deleted from the register.
Please note that a property's integrity is part of the evaluation process for listing to the National Register. Properties that lose substantial integrity through changes and additions may lose their listing to the National Register if evaluated in the future.
Technical Assistance for Owners of National Register-listed Properties
DHR offers a variety of guidance on Preservation and Stewardship.