Historic Preservation Easements
A historic preservation easement is a type of conservation easement designed to protect a significant historic, archaeological, or cultural resource. Easements are contractual agreements between a property owner and a holding organization. Those preservation easements with the State of Maryland are managed by the State Historic Preservation Office (The Maryland Historical Trust). Generally, the owners of the easement property agree to relinquish partial development rights, to maintain the property, to provide limited public access, and to obtain prior approval for any changes or alterations. In exchange, The Maryland Historical Trust promises to protect the property by ensuring continuous compliance with the terms of the Easement. The Trust is also available to advise owners on the correct and best methods of preserving and using their properties.
For more information, contact Amy Skinner, at (410) 514-7632
Forms and Resources for Making Alterations to Easement Properties
Click here if you are the owner of an easement property and are looking for more information on the process for obtaining approval of work to easement properties, scheduling site inspections, completion of public access requirements, selling/buying an easement property, income tax credits for qualified rehabilitation work, and other available funding. The Trust recommends that proposed projects are presented for review to the easement committee prior to obtaining approval by other departments or organizations, including local historic preservation/district commissions.
Click here to learn more about the benefits and process for conveyance of an historic preservation easement to the Maryland Historical Trust. The Maryland Historical Trust only accepts easements on those properties eligible for, or listed on, the National Register of Historic Places, or located within a locally certified historic district.
Current Easement Properties
Click here to search the Maryland State Archives Land Records for easement documents- Please note that Users must first apply for a username and password to use this website.
How MHT acquires easements
The Trust acquires easements through:
- A condition of state and federal funding
- Mitigation under Section 106 of the National Preservation Act, as amended
MHT began acquiring historic preservation easements in 1969 and now holds preservation easements on more than 600 properties on approximately 9000 acres in every county across the state. The properties include schools, private homes, lighthouses, boats, archeological sites, slave cabins, churches, bridges, statuary, train sheds, and factories. MHT also co-holds easements with other organizations like the Maryland Environmental Trust. A list of easements held by the Maryland Historical Trust is available here.
Donated easements may be eligible for a charitable tax deduction. The main reason for donating an easement is to protect the historic integrity of the property; all other considerations are secondary. Each easement is unique and is tailored to the property and the concerns of the donor. It is one of the most effective legal tools available for historic preservation.
This page updated: March 19, 2014