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What Does "Listing a Property" Mean?

For more information contact:

Michael Houser
State Architectural Historian
(360) 586-3076

Listing a property on the National Register of Historic Places or being determined eligible for listing does not automatically preserve a building, and it does not keep a building from being modified or destroyed.

National Register Listing Does:

  • Provides recognition of a property’s significance in history, architecture, engineering, or archaeology
  • Provides a tool for local planning, heritage tourism, and heritage education.
  • Provides some protection in the form of consideration and mitigation of adverse effects to historic properties from federally-funded or licensed projects (Section 106 NHPA)
  • Provides the owner of an income-producing property (commercial, industrial, or rental residential) the opportunity to receive federal investment tax credits of up to 20% of costs for a certified rehabilitation
  • Provides the owner the opportunity to apply for matching grant-in-aid funds for restoration, when such funds are available from a variety of organizations
  • Allows the owner to receive free technical assistance from Department of Archaeology & HIstoric Preservation staff on following the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation for maintenance and rehabilitation or restoration of the historic property

National Register Listing Does Not:

  • Does not place restrictions on a private property owner regarding use, maintenance, or alterations to the property
  • Does not require the city to restrict the use of the private property, although local ordinances may require architectural review or review of the property by a local historic preservation commission
  • Does not require Federal or State review of proposed alterations unless Federal money is being used to fund the project.  Owners interested in technical assistance with rehabilitation should contact the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation
  • Does not mean the Federal or State government will seek to purchase or place restrictions on private property
  • Does not affect the use or sale of private property
  • Does not require that the building/structure be returned to its historic state as the result of loss or damage for insurance purposes.
  • Does not require an owner to allow public access to private property
  • Encourages, but does not require, continual maintenance of the private property
  • Does not require any government entity to maintain private property, nor to provide funds for restoration and preservation
  • Does not provide an historical marker for the property, although owners are eligible to purchase one through private vendors