An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
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. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a federal program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archaeological resources.
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.
Listing in the National Register contributes to preserving historic properties in a number of ways:
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.
Above, a brick 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
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.
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.
Yes! The Heritage Council is a leader in helping Kentuckians turn a National Register nomination into a do-it-yourself project.
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. Additionally, the National Register office has published a series of detailed "How to" bulletins to assist authors.
How to Complete the National Register Registration Form gives step-by-step instructions, and other bulletins offer advice on nominating particular classes of resources such as battlefields, historic mines, ships or designed historic landscapes. These bulletins, as well as National Register nomination forms, are available at the National Park Service National Register website.
Since its inception in 1966, KHC has conducted an ongoing survey of historic sites in all 120 Kentucky counties through the Kentucky Historic Resources Survey Program. Files are catalogued in the Kentucky Historic Sites Database [LINK], which serves as a permanent written and photographic record of all known historic buildings, structures and sites in the state.The data collected and recorded through the survey provides the foundation for many agency programs including the National Register and the Kentucky Main Street Program [LINK]. The survey also provides information used for the the development of preservation plans and local architectural and cultural histories, and for comparison in evaluating National Register eligibility.
The Kentucky Historic Sites Database currently consists of 100,000+ surveyed sites and is constantly being updated and expanded as historic places are identified through the agency's extensive survey process. Survey files are maintained at the KHC office and are accessible via computer and vertical files, are cross-referenced by county and also documented on topographical maps.
For those submitting nominations for review, click here for a schedule of upcoming 2022 deadlines for when initial drafts, completed nominations, and notification letters to Certified Local Government communities are due.
Upcoming April 12 Meeting
The next regularly scheduled Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board meeting will take place at 10 a.m. EDT Tuesday, April 12 via Zoom. An agenda is available and the meeting is open to the public at the following link:
Meeting ID: 85094408811
At the April 12 meeting, the following nominations will be considered:
Louisville College of Dentistry - Draft #4, presented by Joseph C. Pierson, Pinion Advisors
Louisville College of Dentistry - Draft #3, authored by Joseph C. Pierson, Pinion Advisors
Paducah Northside Historic District draft, presented by David L. Taylor, Historic Preservation Consultant, City of Paducah Planning Department
Downtown Morehead Historic District, presented by Tony Pence, Executive Director, Downtown Morehead Inc.
Dayton City Hall/Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall (listed 1/21/22)
Nominations approved at the state level are subsequently forwarded for review to the National Park Service for final determination of National Register eligibility and listing.
2022 Meeting Dates
Remaining 2022 Review Board meetings will take place the following Tuesdays:
July 12Nov. 15
Watch here for additional meeting details.