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Washington Heritage Register

For more information contact:

Michael Houser
State Architectural Historian
(360) 890-2634

The Washington Heritage Register is an official listing of historically significant sites and properties found throughout the state. The list is maintained by the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation and includes districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that have been identified and documented as being significant in local or state history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture.  The program was established in 1971 as an alternative to National Register (Click here for background info).

Rosario School, Anacortes - 1891

Listing in the Washington Heritage Register is strictly an honorary designation and raises the public awareness about historic and cultural values.  While there are presently no financial incentives available for the rehabilitation of listed properties, a designation to the Washington Heritage Register can be beneficial in securing state grants or other funding awards for public or non-profit owned properties.

For owners of private properties, the effects of listing in or a determination of eligibility for listing in the Washington Heritage Register, are parallel to the effects of listing in the National Register of Historic Places.  No restrictions by the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation are imposed by a Washington Heritage Register designation when private funds are used to alter a significant property.

However, any subdivision of state government or recipient of state funds, shall comply with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA, Washington Administrative Code 197-11-330) and Executive Order 05-05.  These programs require that significant properties, specifically those listed in or eligible for the Washington Heritage Register, be given consideration when state undertakings (permits, grants, construction, etc.) affect historic and cultural values.  If significant resources are identified, the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation considers the effects of a proposed project on such resources, and makes a Shipman House, Spokane - c. 1911professional recommendation for appropriate treatments or actions. The Department does not regulate the treatment of properties that are found to be significant; a local governing authority may choose to uphold the Department’s recommendation and may require mitigation of adverse effects to significant properties.

Sites which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places are automatically added to the Washington Heritage Register and hence a separate nomination form does not need to be completed.

The Washington State Heritage Register is governed by several state laws including Senate Bill 363, RCW 27.34.200 and 25-12 WAC.  However at this time no specific administrative rules have been developed for the program.

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

To Qualify

  • A building, site, structure or object must be at least 50 years old.  If newer, the resource should have documented exceptional significance.
  • The resource should have a high to medium level of integrity, i.e. it should retain important character defining features from its historic period of construction.
  • The resource should have documented historical significance at the local, state or federal level.
  • ACHP review and listing requires the consent of the owner.

Steps to Nomination

  • An applicant completes a Washington Heritage Register form and submits it to the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.  Nominations cannot be processed until all sections of the form have been completed.  All applications must be typed and edited; no hand written applications will be accepted.
  • Once a nomination is considered complete, the state historic preservation officer schedules the nomination for consideration.
  • Property owners and nomination authors are informed in writing of the upcoming consideration of the property for listing in the Washington Heritage Register.  Private property owners have the right to consent to, or object to, the listing of their property.
  • The Washington Heritage Register form is reviewed by the State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation at one of their regularly scheduled meetings.
  • Property owners and nomination authors are notified of the state historic preservation officer’s decision.

Owners of properties listed in the Washington Heritage Register receive a certificate of listing.

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