About the National Register Process
How are properties listed?
National Register Criteria
To be eligible for the National Register, a property must demonstrate significance in terms of one or more of four broad criteria
- events or trends;
- association with individuals who made a demonstrable and lasting contribution;
- architectural merit;
- or the potential to yield information that will contribute to a better understanding of our past.
Significance is evaluated in a national, state, or local context.
In addition to demonstrating significance, a property must retain physical integrity to reflect that significance; it must not have been substantially altered since the period when the event occurred, or the person lived there.
- Architecturally significant properties must retain the majority of the features that characterize their type.
- Archeological sites must remain intact.
National Register Nomination Forms
Information concerning the physical character and historical development of a property is presented in a specific format on a National Register nomination form. Nomination forms and instructions are available from MHT; please contact Peter Kurtze at 410-697-9562.
Determinations of Eligibility
For purposes of regulatory compliance, agencies may request a determination of eligibility (DOE). DOEs are only made in the course of compliance projects. However, MHT staff can offer an informal, preliminary opinion on a property’s potential eligibility upon request. To find out how to determine whether a property may be a likely candidate for listing in the Register, contact Peter Kurtze at 410-697-9562.
The Review Process
- National Register nominations are submitted to MHT, where staff performs an initial review.
- Nominations are then scheduled for presentation to the Governor’s Consulting Committee on the National Register (GCC), which meets three times a year.
- If the GCC’s recommendation is favorable, and the State Historic Preservation Officer concurs, the nomination is forwarded to the National Register office of the National Park Service for final action.
Certain local governments in Maryland have been certified by NPS to participate in the National Register review process. In these jurisdictions, the local Historic Preservation Commission and chief elected official are also charged with reviewing nominations and making recommendations concerning their eligibility for the National Register.
Benefits and Protections
Listing in the National Register honors the property by recognizing its importance to its community, State, or to the Nation, and confers a measure of protection from harm by Federal or State activities. It does not, however, place any restrictions on the actions of private property owners.
Listing in the National Register is the effective threshold for eligibility for a variety of programs designed to assist in the preservation of significant properties, including Federal and State tax credits for certain types of rehabilitation work. Other financial incentives for preservation include grants and loans.
Donations of preservation easements on Register-listed properties may qualify for charitable tax deductions.
National Historic Landmarks
The National Historic Landmarks program is administered by the National Park Service; the Maryland Historical Trust plays an advisory role in the designation process. Properties designated National Historic Landmarks are have been determined by the Secretary of the Interior to have exceptional value in representing or illustrating an important theme in the history of the Nation as a whole.
Maryland Register of Historic Properties
Properties listed in the National Register, or determined eligible for the National Register by the Director of the Maryland Historical Trust, are also included in the Maryland Register of Historic Properties (MRHP).
The MRHP is a list of properties recognized by the State of Maryland for their significance in American history or culture. Properties listed in the MRHP are afforded certain regulatory protections, and are eligible for MHT grants and loans.