The National Register Criteria

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of properties recognized by the federal government as worthy of preservation for their local, state, or national significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, or culture. Although the National Register is a program of the National Park Service, it is administered at the state level by each respective state. In Ohio, the National Register program is administered by the State Historic Preservation Office.

 What Makes a Property Eligible for the National Register?

  • Historic properties include more than just buildings. There are five categories for historic properties that are listed in the National Register: buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts.
  • There are three evaluation standards that historic properties must meet in order to be listed in the National Register. The property should be at least 50 years old, retain its basic historic integrity and meet one of the four established National Register criteria
  • A quick definition of the four National Register criteria is that the property must have significance for its association with broad patterns of history, have association with the lives of persons significant in our past, have architectural merit, or have the potential to yield information important in history or prehistory (archaeology).

What National Register Listing Does

  • The listing of a building, structure, site, object or district in the National Register of Historic Places accords it a certain prestige, which can raise the property owners and community's awareness and pride.
  • Income-producing (depreciable) properties which are listed in the National Register individually or as part of a historic district may be aided by federal tax incentives which allow for a 20 percent investment tax credit for certified rehabilitation.
  • National Register listing is often a prerequisite for funding applications for restoration work through various private, nonprofit organizations, such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation

What National Register Listing Does Not Do

  • National Register listing does not prevent the owner of the listed property from remodeling, repairing, altering, selling, or even demolishing it with other than federal funds. While property owners are not bound by restrictions, the State Historic Preservation Office strongly encourages owners of historic properties to consider all options before completing work that could damage the structure or impair its historic integrity. The State Historic Preservation Office, upon request, provides information on how to sensitively rehabilitate and repair historic properties.
  • National Register listing does not obligate an owner to make any repairs or improvements to the property.

How Properties Are Chosen for National Register Listing

  • In Ohio, anyone may fill out the forms to nominate a property to the National Register.
  • Once a nomination is complete, the property owner(s), appropriate local officials, and other interested parties are given an opportunity to comment on the proposed listing. In the case of a historic district where more than 50 property owners are involved, a public notice in the local newspaper and a public hearing help ensure that every owner has the chance to respond.
  • If a majority of owners of an individual property or within a historic district object, the nomination will not be listed, but will be evaluated for National Register eligibility. Following the notification period, the nomination is scheduled for review by the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board. The board is a 17-member panel appointed by the governor to advise the State Historic Preservation Officer. The board reviews the nomination to determine whether it meets the criteria for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. If the board decides that the property is eligible for listing, the nomination is given the board's approval. The nomination is reviewed a final time and signed by the State Historic Preservation Officer.
  • The final step in the process is review by the National Park Service. If the National Register of Historic Places staff approves the nomination, the property is officially placed in the National Register by the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Process Guide: Provides a quick reference guide to those just getting started or seeking more information about how properties are nominated in Ohio.

For More Information

For more information on the National Register of Historic Places contact the State Historic Preservation Office.

Click here to download a copy of the National Register Preliminary Questionnaire in Adobe format.

Click here to download a copy in MS Word format.

Click here to go to the State Historic Preservation Office front page.