National Register of Historic Places

The National Register is the official list of buildings, structures, objects, and sites recognized by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior for their importance to local, state, or national history. Properties must retain their historic integrity, and may be recognized for their connections to American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, or culture. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archaeological resources. The National Register is administered by the National Park Service under the Secretary of the Interior. Properties listed in the National Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. These resources contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundation of the Nation.

In each state the National Register program is handled through the State Historic Preservation Office. Following inquiries, the state inventory of sites is checked. If a property has not been identified through a survey the inquirer is asked to complete a WV Historic Property Inventory Form so the property can be evaluated.

Steps to List West Virginia Properties in the National Register of Historic Places

  1. Complete a West Virginia Historic Property Inventory (HPI) form.
    PDF document, and directions
  2. Return the HPI form to the:
    WV State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) National Register Coordinator
    State Historic Preservation Office
    The Cultural Center
    1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
    Charleston, WV 25305-0300
  3. The SHPO will review the form to determine if the resource is potentially eligible for listing.
  4. If determined to be potentially eligible, the SHPO will conduct a site visit and provide the property owner or nomination preparer with a packet of information to help them prepare a National Register nomination.
    Nominations include a registration form, a descriptive narrative, a narrative history/justification of significance, archival photos, digital photos, mapping, and floor plans.
  5. Once received, the SHPO has 60 days to review each draft nomination. Staff will provide comments to preparer. Nominations are considered finalized when SHPO staff has approved content and received all necessary attachments.
  6. After the nomination is finalized, staff will schedule it for presentation to the WV Archives and History Commission at the earliest possible meeting. The Commission meets three times per year.
  7. If approved by the Commission, the SHPO will forward the nomination to the National Park Service within 90 days of their approval.
  8. After receipt, the National Park Service has 45 days to list the resource in the National Register, return the nomination for changes, or determine that the resource is not eligible for listing.*

* Resources owned privately can not be listed in the National Register if the owner objects. The National Park Service will not list the resource, but will provide an official determination of eligibility.

State Register of Historic Places

In West Virginia, all properties listed in the National Register are automatically listed in the State Register of Historic Places. Properties that are eligible for the State Register must also be eligible for the National Register.

36 CFR 60.1 through 60.15 – Regulations governing the National Register of Historic Places Program

Properties are evaluated by the following Criteria:

  1. that are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
  2. that are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
  3. that embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
  4. that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history. (Archaeology should be evaluated with a site visit or field work by a professional.)

Criteria Considerations:

Ordinarily cemeteries, birthplaces, or graves of historical figures, properties owned by religious institutions or used for religious purposes, structures that have been moved from their original locations, reconstructed historic buildings, properties primarily commemorative in nature, and properties that have achieved significance within the past 50 years shall not be considered eligible for the National Register. However, such properties can qualify if they meet special extra requirements called Criteria Considerations. Bulletins are available to define the considerations.

What the National Register Does:

  • PROVIDES recognition of a property’s significance in history, architecture, archaeology or engineering.
  • PROVIDES limited protection when a property is endangered by a state or federally funded or licensed action.
  • PROVIDES the owner of income producing property (commercial or rental residential) the opportunity to receive Investment Tax Credit for “Certified Rehabilitation.”
  • PROVIDES the owner of a private residence with the opportunity to apply for a Homeowners Tax Credit on state taxes, if a rehabilitation is certified.
  • PROVIDES the owner the opportunity to apply for matching grants-in-aid for restoration/rehabilitation (when funding is available).

What the National Register Does Not do:

  • DOES NOT restrict the use of the property. (For example, an owner can continue to live in a listed house; convert a listed property to another use, continue to farm ground where a listed archaeological site may be located, conduct new construction on the site, etc.).
  • DOES NOT restrict the sale of a property; unless under the jurisdiction of a state or federal agency.
  • DOES NOT require continued maintenance of private property.
  • DOES NOT require that any specific guidelines be followed in a rehabilitation (unless the owner is using state or federal funds or receiving an Investment Tax Credit).
  • DOES NOT require the owner to give tours of the property or open it to the public.
  • DOES NOT guarantee funds for restoration.
  • DOES NOT guarantee perpetual maintenance of the property.
  • DOES NOT provide a historic marker for the property.

For more information see National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior: