Georgia Historic Preservation Division

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Historic Preservation Division  

The Historic Preservation Division (HPD) is Georgia’s state historic preservation office (SHPO). As established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, each state is required to have a SHPO which serves several functions as part of the national historic preservation program.

  • Through the Section 106 compliance program, HPD consults on projects that involve federal funding, licensing, or permitting to ensure historic resources are considered during the project planning process.
  • We work with partners both inside and outside state government to encourage regional and local planning, neighborhood conservation, downtown revitalization, heritage tourism and archaeological site protection through programs like the National Register of Historic Places, Certified Local Governments, and others.
  • HPD administers economic development programs, like tax incentives and grants, which leverage private capital to encourage business growth, especially in smaller towns and communities.

The HPD also manages statewide programs authorized or mandated by the Georgia General Assembly. These include a number of specific preservation programs such as a state property tax freeze, state rehabilitation grants, and stewardship of state-owned buildings. 

Our Mission

The Historic Preservation Division's mission is to promote the preservation and use of historic places for a better Georgia.




  • By Caroline Rainey, Tax Incentives Architectural Reviewer

    On April 18, 2024, Governor Kemp signed Senate Bill 496, extending the sunsets of both state historic tax credit programs through 2029 and expanding the definition of historic homes starting in 2026. This bill was overwhelmingly supported by our state legislators which speaks highly of their support for these programs across the state.

    The historic home tax credit provides up to $100,000 in credits capped at $5 million in total credits per year. For any other qualified properties, the yearly cap is $30 million in available credits, with a $5 million or $10 million per project cap. Both credits are based upon receiving a 25% credit for qualified rehabilitation expenditures.  

    Additionally, beginning in 2026, principal residences certified by the Department of Community Affairs as a designated historic property or contributing to a district under local law and certified by the Department of Community Affairs as meeting National Register criteria will be able to apply for the historic home rehabilitation tax credit. This is an important distinction as many locally designated districts across Georgia are not currently eligible for state rehabilitation tax credits and owners of locally listed principal residences may no longer have to complete the National Register process to be eligible for these credits. It will also allow National Register districts that have been expanded at the local level to potentially qualify for principal residences state credits.

    Molly McLamb, Tax Incentives Program Manager, was in Augusta for the signing, along with Commissioner Nunn of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Commissioner O’Connell of the Georgia Department of Revenue, and many of our non-profit partners who spent countless hours and effort advocating for the importance of the historic tax credit program.  


  • By:

    Joshua Foster, Compliance Review Archaeologist


    Happy Georgia Archaeology Month! That’s right, in addition to May being Preservation Month here and across the nation, May is also Archaeology Month in Georgia. The Society for Georgia Archaeology (SGA) promotes Georgia Archaeology Month and highlights archaeological events across Georgia on their website. These events include classes such as artifact identification, pottery making demonstrations, and tours of archaeological sites.

    The popular media plays an important role in how archaeology is viewed. Archaeologists in the movies are often portrayed as working in exotic locales, such as jungles and deserts, and engaging is exciting adventures that require brandishing a whip or running from a huge boulder or falling into a pit of snakes. While archaeologists do work in faraway places and do encounter rocks and snakes, many archaeologists are local and work right here in Georgia.  The work of archaeologists helps us learn more about where and when people lived here and how people who called Georgia home over thousands of years went about their day-to-day lives.

    Public archaeology helps dispel many myths and misconceptions about what archaeologists do and emphasizes the important role archaeology plays in telling the story of a place.  It includes public resource management; engaging the public in archaeological research by communicating about archaeology with community groups and public audiences; and fostering awareness of our shared heritage. Public archaeology also helps connect people to their own people and culture.

    There are many opportunities for members of the archaeology community to support public engagement.  Opportunities include joining a professional society that actively engages the public.  The Society for Georgia Archaeology, a statewide organization, and The Society for American Archaeology, a national organization, are two examples of professional societies that can be professionally beneficial to archaeologists and provide archaeologists with opportunities to actively engage in public archaeology. 

    Archaeologists can actively engage with their communities individually by volunteering to speak at a Career Day at a local school, getting involved with a scouting troop to assisting them in earning their archaeology badge, or volunteering at local events to help the public gain a greater understanding of the discipline and the archaeological history of their community.

    There are a myriad ways archaeologists can engage with the public and great opportunities for the public to engage archaeology.  Visit the Society for Georgia Archaeology’s website for more details on Archaeology Month activities in Georgia, including classes on artifact identification and pottery making, and tours of archaeological sites. 

  • We are excited to bring you updates from the future preservationists of Georgia! Students in Historic Preservation and related fields have accomplished a lot this academic year and have contributed to interesting projects across the state and the country! Many are also participating in internships in the preservation field this summer. These students and recent graduates bring so much to the table with their experiences and perspectives. We look forward to seeing what they do in preservation in Georgia and the wider world in the years to come. Read more below about updates from the 2023-2024 academic year provided by four programs across Georgia.


    Graduate-level preservation degree programs are offered at Georgia State University, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the University of Georgia. SCAD offers an undergraduate BFA in Preservation Design as well. Preservation-focused courses are offered at Kennesaw State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Southern University, Savannah Technical College, and the University of West Georgia.


    Associate Professor Danielle Willkens continues to work with several students, developing projects on the intersections of digital documentation, heritage tourism, and preservation technology through seminars, independent studies, and sponsored research.

    1. With M.Arch candidate Thomas Bordeaux, we’re continuing to work with the NPS (via CESU agreement) on documenting and visualizing the Wallis House within the Kennesaw Battlefield. We’ve made some interesting structural discoveries, and we're eager to see how this work will be translated into some new interpretation at the site.
    2. An Undergraduate Sustainability Education Innovation Grant from GT supported spring 2024 work at the NHLD Penn Center, SC, for “Sustainable Tourism: Engaged Digital Documentation and Interpretation” for the Race, Space, and Architecture in the US seminar. Interdisciplinary by nature, this course references the projects and methodologies of architects and architectural historians, as well as archaeologists, artists, designers, environmentalists, ethnographers, photographers, urbanists, sociologists, technicians, and writers. We cover topics and themes across the U.S.; however, our focus is decidedly on the American South, leveraging our location in Atlanta. Over the last three years, this course explored various sites in Atlanta and one in Marion, AL. In 2024, this semester we placed the only two National Historic Landmark Districts (NHLD) focused on African American history and culture in conversation: the Penn Center (NHLD est.2017) in St. Helena Island, SC and Sweet Auburn (NHLD est.1976) in Atlanta, GA. Following on-site exploration with the MLK, Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, the seminar completed a 4-day intensive field studies program at the Penn Center, SC in early February. Here, students met key program leaders, elected officials, and alumni, as well as local residents. During the semester, students explored preservation technology as a catalyst for resiliency, sustainability, and heritage tourism. Products include new site survey materials, public-facing interpretation materials, oral history captures, a physical model of the historic campus, and a website reorganization proposal. 
    3. Working with the Smithsonian, Sharon Park, FAIA (emeritus Associate Director for Architectural History + Historic Preservation), PhD candidate Botao Li, M.Arch candidate Roy Luo, and M.Arch (’23) + MS in Digital Media candidate Yizhou Lin are developing an illustrated historical preservation glossary for wood deterioration. This interactive pilot project will identify aesthetic, material, and structural defects. The project will cultivate a taxonomy and semantics for future development, establishing a system for potential AI machine learning and HBIM integration.  This is an exercise in material research, image collection, organization, and user interface. This pilot project is a critical endeavor for future development and can potentially be a transformative resource within the realm of historic preservation. 
    4. M.Arch ’23 Patricia Rangel, PhD candidate Botao Li, and recent PhD graduate Junshan Liu presented the paper, "Defect Monitoring and Predictive Modeling: an Atlanta Case Study” on the English Avenue Elementary School at the REHABEND Euro-American Congress on Construction Pathology, Rehabilitation Technology, and Heritage Management in Gijion, Spain on May 9, 2024. Ongoing documentation and analysis of the building are supported by an NPS African American Civil Rights Grant administered by the Atlanta Preservation Center. 

    In mid-April, Junshan Liu successfully defended his PhD dissertation on “Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) in Heritage Documentation: Developing a Best Practice Guide for Optimal Data Acquisition.” A portion of his literature has been published in Virtual Worlds , and his conceptual framework for integrating TLS in HABS has been published in Architecture. He is currently pursuing publication options for the dissertation. 

    Dean of Libraries Leslie Sharp led a historic preservation seminar in the spring semester, and the students’ research projects will inform the study day (October 5) for the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians’ (SESAH) 2024 Annual Conference in Marietta, GA 


    • Madison Cosby wrote an article entitled, “The Women of Preservation” published in The Rambler, the quarterly publication of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation
    • Rachael Bradbury, Sylvia Craft, Parker Hilley, and Lauren Reeves participated in a cemetery conservation workshop on Daufuskie Island, SC led by Jason Church from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
    • Sarah Borcherding, Eric Menninger, and Kristen Thomas presented posters at the 2023 GA Statewide Historic Preservation Conference
    • Natasha Washington presented her work documenting the Maryfield Cemetery on Daufuskie Island, SC at the 2024 International Gullah Geechee and African Diaspora Conference

    *HPD note: Natasha Washington has also been interning with the Georgia African American Historic Preservation Network (GAAHPN) at the HPD!


    The following is a list of the graduating students from the MFA, MA, and BFA Preservation Design programs. Congratulations Graduates!

    M.F.A in Preservation Design - Thesis

    • Jackie Boling - Perceptions of Preservation: Exploring Socioeconomic Disparities in Valuing and Protecting Cultural Heritage
    • Zheng He - Cemeteries Matter: Finding Balance Between Biodiversity, Sustainability and Cultural Landscape
    • Madeline Jensen - Evolving the Ordinary - Maximizing Value in Everyday Architecture through Conceptually - Informed Adaptive Reuse Strategies
    • Daniela Salume Velasquez - From Policy to Practice: Evaluating the Implementation of Deconstruction Ordinances in Historic Cities in the U.S.

    M.A. in Preservation Design - Capstone

    • Sebastian Escobar Campos - Historical Sites and Sustainable Tourism: Redesigning Bogota Bolivar Square 
    • Alex Dandridge - Maximizing the Minimum: Uncovering the Historical Significance of Post World War II Suburb’s and its Minimal Traditional Housing 
    • Kate Dutilly - Office to Residential Conversions: A Design Proposal for the Atlantic Constitution Building 
    • Pari Kemp - Enhanced Community Resilience Plans in Endangered Coastal Regions of Tampa Bay:  Preservationists Role Pre- and Post-Disaster and AI Documentation Technology
    • Adam McCown - Temporality: An Exploration of the Barriers to the Preservation of Post Modern Architecture and strategies to (re)evaluate
    • Hannah McGuire - The Ranch House vs. Modern Residential Construction 

    B.F.A in Preservation Design - Capstone

    • Edward Harrison - Moving Buildings: Environmental Change and the Solution 
    • James D. Yeager - The Preservation of Civic Well-being & Urban Beauty: Infill Master Planning to Design Gates of Place for Main Streets in Historic Downtowns


    The following theses were defended by students in the Master of Historic Preservation program (Sum23-Spring 24):

    • Tim Brown - A Practical Landscape: Robert Cridland and the Gardens of Oak Hill
    • Clarissa Gearner - The Same River: Interpreting the Eastern Agricultural Complex at Red River Gorge, Kentucky
    • Sarah Owen - Sickness is a Place: Interpretation of Disability at Andalusia, the Home of Flannery O'Connor
    • Kayla McElreath - Foundations: Significance of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Skate Landscapes
    • Cameron NeSmith - The Visibility of the Invisible: Mini-Case Studies on Black Americans & the tools of Preservation and Planning
    • Casey Emmett - Advertising Lincrusta:  Analyzing Marketing Materials for “The King of Wall Hangings” in the 18th and 19th Centuries
    • Keith Halcomb - Through the Heart of Railroad Preservation: Adaptive Use of Railroad Depots for Community Benefit from Elberton to West Point, Georgia.
    • Elizabeth Lynn Jones - Zion Hill Cemetery: Preserving a Vanishing Cultural Heritage Through Documentation, Restoration, and Engagement
    • Inga Gudmundsson McGuire - Pittsburgh's Forgotten Architect: The Work and Significance of Joseph Stillburg (1847-1923)
    • Margot McLaughlin - The Evolution of the Pulse Nightclub Memorial: From Vernacular to Official
    • Shelby McWhirter - A Multivocal, Interpretive Framework for the Peopling of the Americas

    Kayla McElreath won a Graduate Research Fellowship from the Southeastern Society of Architectural Historians in 2023. She presented her work, based on her thesis on the preservation of DIY skate landscapes at their annual meeting in Little Rock in November. 

    Elizabeth Jones won the 2023 Elizabeth Lyon Fellowship from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. She recently delivered an online lecture based on her work preserving and sustaining community involvement around endangered black cemeteries. 


    The FindIt Historic Resource Survey Partnership is a state-wide cultural resource survey program created to help document historic resources throughout Georgia and facilitate their preservation. Housed within the Center for Community Design and Preservation at the UGA College of Environment and Design, the FindIt program is a unique learning experience whereby students are trained to conduct field work, data entry, and architectural analysis.

    FindIt is currently undertaking two large surveys of Athens-Clarke County and Macon, GA, to document mid-century commercial and residential resources. We are also conducting a smaller survey of the Normaltown neighborhood of Athens and creating a Storymap as part of our outreach to residents.  As active surveyors, FindIt students continue to help our statewide partners test a new survey app based on ESRI's ArcGIS Field Maps app but customized to integrate with the GNAHRGIS statewide database.

    Mid-Century Resources, Athens-Clarke Co. GA
    This survey of the unincorporated areas of Athens-Clarke County began in 2019. It is a multi-year initiative conducted at the behest of Georgia Transmission Corporation (GTC), FindIt’s main sponsor. The majority of these resources are mid-century subdivisions that include the ubiquitous Ranch House as well as residences that reflect post-war Modernism as well as neo-traditional styles and forms.

    Normaltown neighborhood, Athens GA
    FindIt began a survey of Normaltown in Summer 2023 to practice recognizing types and styles of residential buildings from the early 19th century up to the mid-20th century, including a notable collection of American Small Houses.  By including findings in a StoryMap, residents can easily access research on the history and evolution of their neighborhood, learn about architectural types and styles that are prevalent, and share their own personal stories.

    GNARHGIS Field Survey App testing
    FindIt students have helped the State Historic Preservation Office test the new CRSurveyor app that was developed by the National Park Service and is based on ESRI's ArcGIS Field Maps app.  SHPO’s partners at the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government have customized this app to align with the statewide database known as "GNAHRGIS," a catalog of information about the state's natural, archaeological, and historic resources.  This app will streamline field surveys by allowing for photographs to be geo-located and associated with data collected in real time.

    Mitigation Survey, Macon GA
    This windshield survey is a multi-year endeavor that FindIt is undertaking on behalf of GDOT as part of a mitigation proposal for a federal highway project. FindIt is tasked with documenting buildings and districts built before 1981 that are not already designated as historic. The scope of work includes about 28,000 parcels that are 40 years old or older.

  • In the last few months, the Historic Preservation Division has launched two new historic context projects that will address important updates and fill gaps in the current body of knowledge on several resource types commonly found in Georgia.

    New Report – Georgia Commercial Resources

    While commercial resources have been studied at length in Georgia, HPD identified a gap in the available information needed to list significant commercial buildings to the National Register of Historic Places.

    To close this gap, a historic context focusing specifically on commercial buildings with typology and comprehensive evaluation guidelines, including registration requirements, is in development.

    Although many commercial buildings meet the criteria for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under criteria associated with significant historic events or people, many others do not, but might be significant for their physical characteristics.

    The context report will facilitate the identification, documentation, and ultimately preservation of commercial resources based on their physical development within the area of study.

    The scope of this context will focus on the counties in Georgia impacted by Hurricane Michael and will examine resources and historical narratives through 1985. The commercial context report is expected to be completed in fall 2025.

    These 70 counties in Southwest and Central Georgia have a wide range of resources to study and provide insights that will be applicable across the state.

    The contracts for creation of both context documents have been awarded to New South Associates, and both projects are funded through the Historic Preservation Fund and the Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service.


    Updating Tilling the Earth

    Published in 2001, Tilling the Earth: Georgia’s Historical Agricultural Heritage, the statewide agricultural historic context report, has served as the foundational document for nominating agricultural properties to the National Register of Historic Places.

    But it needs an update! This update will address the changes in agriculture that have entered the historic period since the document’s initial publication nearly a quarter of a century ago.

    This update will further understanding of Georgia’s agricultural heritage, the broad themes of this history and the impact it has on the built and natural environments. The updated context document will also expand on guidance to extant historic resource types associated with agricultural heritage and their significant historic associations, events, patterns, and themes.

    The scope of this context update will focus on the counties in Georgia impacted by Hurricane Michael and will examine resources and historical narratives through 1985. The update to Tilling the Earth is expected to be available in winter 2026.

    These 70 counties in Southwest and Central Georgia have a wide range of resources to study and provide insights that will be applicable across the state.

    The contracts for creation of both context documents have been awarded to New South Associates, and both projects are funded through the Historic Preservation Fund and the Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service.

  • By: Olivia Kendrick, Environmental Review Historian

    If I were to ask you to name a cemetery in Georgia, you could probably name a few. From Oakland in Atlanta to Rose Hill in Macon, to Bonaventure in Savannah, it is no secret that Georgia has numerous noteworthy cemeteries that feature many incredible architectural structures and landscapes. What if I were to ask you to name the type and style of a cemetery? Could you, do it?  Or would you need to flip through National Register Bulletin No. 41, Guidelines for Evaluating and Registering Cemeteries and Burial Places to jog your memory on terminology?  If you answered, “I might need a refresher on describing a cemetery,” there is a new and notable Georgia-specific cemetery resource you can check out! Through the work of New South Associates in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Transportation and the guidance of Historic Preservation Division staff, the new cemetery context allows historians and archaeologists to effectively evaluate these cultural resources. Since its publication in October 2023, the Georgia Statewide Cemetery Context entitled, Identification and Evaluation of Georgia’s Historical Burial Grounds has been aiding historians and archaeologists alike in evaluating these resources for the purpose of Section 106 reviews under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The document serves as a guide for determining if a cemetery carries enough significance to be considered eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

    Cemeteries present unique challenges when evaluating NRHP-eligibility for Section 106 purposes because of the dual nature of the above- and below-ground resource. The age of some cemeteries means that they have been utilized across multiple generations, resulting in an eclectic collection of different styles and time periods of architecture. The same cemetery may have been used by different cultural and religious groups, each with their own beliefs and funerary traditions. The Georgia Statewide Cemetery Context details burial traditions, beliefs, cultural influences, and the funerary industry in Georgia, while providing an approach for evaluating cemeteries’ NHRP-eligibility and guidance on identifying the types and styles that these cemeteries conform to. The context asks the evaluator to consider topics such as the socioeconomic status of those buried, artistic expressions in the markers, and associations with institutions or organizations. If a cemetery contains enough historical significance and adequate integrity to convey its significance, it can be considered eligible for listing in the NRHP. The new cemetery context provides both Section 106 practitioners and those interested in the history of Georgia a useful and insightful tool!