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Administered by the National Park Service and state historic preservation offices, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of historic and archaeological resources deemed worthy of preservation. The National Register recognizes districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture.
The National Register challenges us to define how our built environment contributes to an understanding of the historic and cultural foundations of our communities, our state, and our nation. Because the National Register helps us understand the ways in which historic properties are important, it allows us to make informed decisions regarding their continued use.
The Kentucky Heritage Council has been widely recognized for its successful National Register program. In fact, among states, Kentucky has the fourth highest number of listings (following New York, Massachusetts and Ohio) - with more than 3,400 districts, sites and structures encompassing more than 42,000 historic features.
Buildings and sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places are distinguished by having been documented and evaluated according to uniform standards. These criteria recognize the accomplishments of all peoples who have contributed to the history and heritage of the United States and are designed to help state and local governments, federal agencies and others identify important historic and archeological properties worthy of preservation and of consideration in planning and development decisions.
Though completing the National Register process can be a challenging endeavor, marked by time limitations and possible costs, KHC staff stand at the ready to guide you through each phase, committed to promptly resolving any challenges that arise.
Abrick home known as the Nugent House was listed in the National Register in July 2020 for its association with Black suffrage and the African American women’s club movement in Louisville. Constructed between 1864-76, the house was researched and nominated by Laura Bache, a student at Kentucky Country Day High School, for her “Shattering the Glass Ceiling: A Girl Scout Gold Award Project." For more, watch this video produced in partnership with the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
Yes! The documentation required to get a property listed involves a typewritten form, photography and mapping. While completing a National Register nomination does require comprehensive research and basic writing skills, Kentucky Heritage Council staff are available to answer questions and guide you through this process.
Listing in the National Register contributes to preserving historic properties in a number of ways:
Designation as a National Register property provides potential tax benefits. Income-producing properties (such as retail businesses, apartments, bed and breakfasts, and other commercial buildings) listed in or eligible for the National Register may qualify for the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, while commercial and owner-occupied buildings listed in the National Register or contributing to a National Register district may be eligible for the Kentucky Historic Preservation Tax Credit. Often, the federal and state credit may be used in tandem. To qualify, proposed rehabilitation must be reviewed and certified by Kentucky Heritage Council staff and completed in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards, outlined in the Illustrated Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.
Additionally, federal survey and planning grants are available through the Certified Local Government Program for activities such as preparing National Register nominations, preservation planning, or identifying and documenting historic buildings, sites and structures, among others. Grants are awarded on a 60/40 matching basis.
An important benefit of National Register listing is that the honorary status conferred by this designation often lends credibility to efforts to preserve these historic resources as viable, functioning community assets. Additionally, the documentation required for National Register listing helps communities to understand, recognize and appreciate the historic significance of their unique local historic resources.
Listing in the National Register confers honorary status on historic sites and does not affect property ownership rights or place any restrictions or obligations on property owners. National Register listing is meant to recognize properties of historic importance and should not be confused with local historic designations, which may require that any proposed work or alteration of a building or site be reviewed and approved by a local architectural review committee.
Owners of National Register properties may qualify for state and/or federal tax credits for rehabilitation to standards set forth by the Secretary of the Interior, as certified by the Kentucky Heritage Council, or by making a charitable contribution of a preservation easement.