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According to National Park Service guidelines, properties eligible for National Register listing must be at least 50 years old; or if they are not, they must be of exceptional importance. To qualify for the National Register, properties must possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association and meet one of four criteria for evaluation of significance:
A. Properties associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history.
B. Properties associated with the lives of persons significant in our past.
C. Properties 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.
D. Properties that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.
The significance of a historic property can be judged and explained only when it is evaluated within its historic context. Historic contexts are those patterns or trends in history by which a specific occurrence, property, or site is understood and its meaning (and ultimately its significance) within history or prehistory is made clear.
Throughout the 1990s, authors of Kentucky Register nominations fully implemented the “context-based” system of evaluation required by the Park Service. This approach to defining the significance of the nominated resource calls for the property to be compared with other similar kinds of properties. By this process of comparison, the meaning and value of the nominated property can be better understood.
Ordinarily cemeteries, birthplaces, 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 will qualify if they are integral parts of districts that do meet the criteria or if they fall within the following categories:
a. A religious property deriving primary significance from architectural or artistic distinction or historical importance; orb. A building or structure removed from its original location but which is primarily significant for architectural value, or which is the surviving structure most importantly associated with a historic person or event; orc. A birthplace or grave of a historical figure of outstanding importance if there is no appropriate site or building associated with his or her productive life; ord. A cemetery that derives its primary importance from graves of persons of transcendent importance, from age, from distinctive design features, or from association with historic events; ore. A reconstructed building when accurately executed in a suitable environment and presented in a dignified manner as part of a restoration master plan, and when no other building or structure with the same association has survived; orf. A property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own exceptional significance; org. A property achieving significance within the past 50 years if it is of exceptional importance.