Path to National Register

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The interest in preserving the country’s historic districts and structures continues to grow as the spread of development threatens their very existence. From the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries, here’s some helpful information on how a structure and/or district becomes a protected entity on the National Register of Historic Places:
Fill out the preliminary questionnaire
The National Register of Historic Places preliminary questionnaire is what the department calls the first step in nomination to the register. Research and information about the property is essential, as members of the State Historic Preservation office will review the nomination for eligibility.
Meet the criteria
Property nominated for designation with the National Register must meet a list of criteria regarding that property’s significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, culture in present districts, sites, buildings and structures, design, setting, materials, workmanship etc.
Those elements are held up to four distinct criteria including:
– association with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of history
– association with the lives of significant persons of the past
– embodiment of distinctive characteristics of a type, period, method of construction or representation of the work of a master, possessing high artistic values or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction
– yields or may be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history
There is additional criteria to be applied to cemeteries, birthplaces, graves of historical figures and other buildings, structures and property types.
Once completed, nominations find their way to the State Historic Preservation Review Board which then, if accepted, passes the nomination to the National Park Service which has final say on the property or structure.
All of this information and more detailed information is available to those interested in learning more about getting historic districts and structures listed on the national register through the state department at