Part 1: Where to Start
The National Register of Historic Places establishes a uniform standard for evaluating and documenting historic places that are worthy of preservation. The process for listing a property or district in the National Register begins with the state historic preservation office (SHPO). Each SHPO administers the National Register program for their state and each SHPO may have a different process for submitting proposed nominations to the National Register. As Georgia’s SHPO, the Historic Preservation Division has a user-friendly process for submitting proposed nominations to our office. We are continually revising and updating the process for efficiency and clarity. Information about the National Register in Georgia including forms and guidance material is available on our website.
The first step is to determine what historic property you want to nominate. “Historic property” is a general term for historic places listed in the National Register. For this purpose, a "property" is a building, site, structure, object, or district. The National Register lists individual historic properties such as a building (e.g. a house, school, or courthouse), site (e.g. a cemetery or battlefield), structure (e.g. a bridge, tunnel, or bandstand), or object (e.g. a monument, fountain, or sculpture). The National Register also lists historic districts. A district is defined as a concentration of historic buildings, sites, structures, and objects in their historical setting (e.g. neighborhoods, downtowns, large farms, or whole cities). "Historic" in terms of the National Register is generally 50 years old or older, although there are exceptions. For districts, a majority of properties within the district are 50 years old or older, and again, there are exceptions.
Historic properties listed in the National Register must have historic significance and integrity. Significance is defined by the National Register Criteria for Evaluation. A property must meet at least one of the four National Register Criteria:
- Association with historic events or activities;
- Association with important persons;
- Distinctive design or physical characteristics (architecture, landscape architecture and/or engineering);
- Or the potential to provide important information about prehistory or history (usually through archaeological investigation).
Integrity is the ability of a property to convey its significance through its location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. In a short version: integrity = retains historic character.
To assist you in determining whether your historic property has historic significance and integrity and might qualify for listing in the National Register, we encourage you to send preliminary information to our office. Our National Register staff will review the preliminary information and give you guidance on the next step in the process.
Please send the information in hard copy format with clear, well-focused, well-lit photographs printed on photograph paper. At this time, our email server does not allow for large files so unfortunately we are unable to electronically review preliminary information.
If your historic property appears to be eligible for listing, we will send you a letter along with suggestions for research, sources of information, and a sample nomination of a similar property that you will use as a model as you move forward in the National Register process. If the property does not appear to meet the National Register Criteria, we will send a letter of explanation. We may also send a letter requesting clarification, additional information, or a site visit to the property.