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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 such as 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 provides direction for evaluating and protecting significant resources and identifying the location, condition and significance of each resource. Historic contexts can help define the focus of planning priorities, goals and strategies.

For information:

Vicki Birenberg
State Certified Local Government Program and Planning Coordinator
(502) 892-3606