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National Register of Historic Places

For more information contact:

Michael Houser
State Architectural Historian
(360) 890-2634

The National Register of Historic Places is an official listing of historically significant sites and properties throughout the country. While the program is offically part of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, the processing and review of applications is done at the state level. National Register listed resources includes districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that have been identified and documented as being significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture.  These sites and properties reflect the prehistoric occupation and historical development of our nation, state, and local communities.  Generally these resources are at least 50 years old, however in some cases properties less than 50 can be listed if they have exceptional significance.  

Washington School, Walla Walla - 1901

Listing in the National Register does not, in itself, impose any obligation on the property owner, or restrict the owner's basic right to use and dispose of the property as he or she sees fit. It does, however, encourage the preservation of significant historic resources in four ways:

  • by formally documenting resources for future study; and
  • by providing official recognition of the historic significance of the property an encouraging consideration of its historic value in the future development planning; and
  • by providing consideration regarding activities involving funding, licensing, or permitting by Federal agencies that could result in damage or loss of historic integrity. Redevelopment of a listed property which involves Federal funding, licensing, or permitting is subject to review by the State Historic Preservation officer to ensure that adequate and appropriate consideration is given to the preservation of the qualities for which it was originally listed. This review requirement will also apply to any federally funded, licensed, or permitted activities undertaken by others that could have an effect on the property, and
  • Making the property eligible for Federal financial incentives (rehabilitation income tax credits) for historic preservation 

For further information on the National Register program, please see the links below:




In Washington, the National Register is administered by the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation (DAHP). Each nomination is reviewed for listing by the WA State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), which is comprised of citizens knowledgeable in Washington's history, archaeology, and architecture.  The nine member board reviews nominations to the registers four times a year, at various locations across the state.

In addition to the National Register of Historic Places program, DAHP also administers the Washington Heritage Register. The Heritage Register recognizes historically significant properties that for various reasons - usually relocation or incompatible alterations - do not meet the higher standards of National Register designation (all National Register properties also are listed on the Heritage Register).

DAHP staff is available to assist with the initial assessments of eligibility of properties to the registers and to provide guidance in the completion of register nominations.