The National Register of Historic Places is a federal program administered in our state by the Texas Historical Commission in coordination with the National Park Service. Listing in the National Register provides national recognition of a property's historical or architectural significance and denotes that it is worthy of preservation. Buildings, sites, objects, structures and districts are eligible for this designation if they are at least 50 years old (with rare exceptions) and meet established criteria.
The National Register designation imposes no restrictions on property owners. Those receiving grant assistance or federal tax credits for rehabilitation projects, however, must adhere to certain standards. With a National Register designation, the property receives extra consideration before any federal projects, such as highway construction, are undertaken. Nominated properties will not be listed if a majority of private property owners object.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's inventory of properties deemed worthy of preservation. It is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archeological resources, and is part of its effort to promote preservation statewide.
The National Register was developed to recognize historic places that contribute to our country's heritage. These properties—whether districts, sites, buildings, structures or objects—are architecturally, archeologically, or historically significant for their associations with important persons or events. The National Register is designed to include properties of importance in every locality, not just great national landmarks. A general store, a community park, a main street or the remains of a prehistoric village may be just as eligible for inclusion in the National Register as the Texas State Capitol or the Alamo.
The National Register of Historic Places provides the basis for most preservation activities under federal programs and those of the Texas Historical Commission.
Listing a Property in the National Register:
- Provides prestigious recognition to significant properties.
- Encourages the preservation of historic properties.
- Provides information about historic properties for local and statewide planning purposes.
- Helps promote tourism and economic development.
- Provides basic eligibility for financial incentives, including federal tax credits for the rehabilitation of historic buildings.
The National Register federal regulations do not:
- Restrict in any way a private property owner’s ability to alter, manage or dispose of a property.
- Require that properties be maintained, repaired or restored.
- Allow the individual listing of private property over an owner’s objection.
- Allow the listing of historic districts over a majority of property owners’ objection.
- Require public access to private property
- Require a plaque*
* Properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places are not required to have plaques but owners may opt to purchase one from any number of companies that make and sell them. There are no regulations regarding the wording of such plaques, but for consistency we recommend using the phrase "Listed in the National Register of Historic Places." The THC does not maintain a list of plaque manufacturers or retailers, but the NPS offers guidance on the federal National Register website.