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Historic Contexts

​The Historic Context - Cornerstone of Preservation Planning

A historic context is a narrative that includes information based on a cultural theme, specific chronological period, and defined geographic area.  It describes broad patterns of community development, considering history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture, and identifies specific resource types (buildings, structures, sites, objects and/or districts) that represent those patterns of development.  

A cultural theme is considered significant if it can be demonstrated, through scholarly research, to be important to the development of a community.  Examples of cultural themes include agriculture, commerce, education, community settlement, ethnic heritage, industry, military activity, religion, politics/government, social history, and transportation.

A historic context may be represented by a variety of significant property types.  For example, the context "The Timber Boom in Eastern Kentucky, 1890-1920" could include such diverse historic property types as sawmills, logging camp sites, workers housing, schools, social halls, churches, general stores, and railroad stations. 

A historic context serves as a vital planning tool.  It can provide direction for evaluating and protecting significant resources and identify the location, condition, and significance of each resource.  Historic contexts can help define the focus of planning priorities, goals, and strategies.

To view copies of historic contexts completed by the Kentucky Heritage Council, refer to the Related Content box to the right of this text.