The National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.

The National Register listing is an honor that enhances pride of place and property values, encourages reinvestment, and allows access to funding and tax credits for residential homeowners, commercial building owners and non-profit operators of historic buildings.

The National Registers of Historic Places is the official list of buildings, structures, districts, objects, and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture of the United States. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 established the National Register programs. In New York, the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, who is also the State Historic Preservation Officer, administers these programs.

The National Register nomination process is designed to assist in the development of complete and accurate documentation of each eligible property according to the professional and archival standards of the National Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The research and technical requirements of the nomination process encourage the active and ongoing participation of owners, sponsors, SHPO staff, and consultants.


Briefly, a building must be generally at least 50 years old, retain the majority of its character-defining features, and be historically and/or architecturally significant to the history of the United States.

The National Park Service keepers of the National Register of Historic Places clearly describes the eligibility criteria for listing on the National Register;

To be considered eligible, a property must meet the National Register Criteria for Evaluation. This involves examining the property’s significance, age, and integrity.

Significance: Is the property associated with events, activities, or developments that were important in the past? With the lives of people who were important in the past? With significant architectural history, landscape history, or engineering achievements? Does it have the potential to yield information about our past through archeological investigation?

Age and Integrity: Is the property old enough to be considered historic (generally at least 50 years old) and does it still look very much the way it did in the past?

(Read more about the National Register in this National Park Service brochure...)


In a National Register historic district, a building is determined by the expert consultant to be “contributing” to the historic theme of the district, or “non-contributing.” Factors that may make a property ineligible for inclusion are large, incompatible additions, removal of character-defining features, replacement of historic materials and features with incompatible modern materials.

Only those properties considered “contributing” will be listed as part of the historic district on the National Register of Historic Places, and only those properties are eligible for the NY State Rehabilitation Tax Credit.

In the proposed Richmond Ashland National Register Historic District, expert consultants estimate that 95% of all properties have been considered “contributing” to the historic district.

(To find out if your property is included in the proposed National Register historic district, please see the FAQs…)


The Elmwood Historic District (West) is not a local historic district with exterior review by others.There are no restrictions on the use, treatment or transfer of National Register-listed private property. Buildings do not need be open to the public. There is no need to consult any new agency for exterior changes. Rehabilitation review is involved only with requests for tax credit and public funding programs, which request is voluntary.

The National Park Service keepers of the National Register of Historic Places clearly describes that no review or limitations are placed on listed properties;

“Owners of private property listed on the National Register have no obligation to open their properties to the public, to restore them, or even to maintain them, if they choose not to do so. Owners can do anything they wish with their property provided that no Federal license, permit, or funding is involved.”

(Compare the features, benefits, and regulations of Local and National Historic Designations using this chart…)


  1. Submission of the Determination of Eligibility (DOE) paperwork to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
  2. The State Historic Preservation Officer reviews the submitted DOE based on defined criteria
  3. If found to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, the consultant completes the needed research, writing, photography, and paperwork
  4. When complete the consultant submits completed National Register Nomination to SHPO
  5. The State Historic Preservation Officer reviews and edits the National Register nomination as needed. Notifications of the National Register nomination are sent to the encompassing municipality (if a Certified Local Government) and to the owner[s] of properties include in the nomination
  6. SHPO will present the Nomination at a State Review Board Meeting (Held quarterly, typically March, June, September and December, dates and locations are undetermined until announced.0
  7. Following successful recommendation for listing on the National Register by the State Review Board, the nominated building(s) or district is listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places by the State Historic Preservation Officer
  8. State Historic Preservation Office forwards the National Register Nomination to the National Park Service for review
  9. The National Park Service reviews the National Register nomination based on established criteria
  10. If found to meet the criterion the nomination is listed on the National Register of National Places, as signed by the Keeper of the National Register

Total length of time depending on number of properties, complexity of history and dedicated review time; approximately 6-12 months.

© Clinton Brown Company Architecture, 2012