The first step to the protection of historic places is a formal process of evaluating their historic significance. Otherwise known as the designation process, a property can be listed on the National, State, or local register of historic places.
What’s the difference? A National Register or State Register listing is generally more of an honorary recognition with relatively few limitations on property owners. A local register designation tends be regulated by a Local Historic District Commission, which has more of a say about what kinds of actions are “appropriate.” Learn more below.
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About the National Register
The National Register of Historic Places is an inventory of buildings, structures, sites, areas, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology and culture that is maintained by the National Park Service (NPS). It is the official list of the nation’s cultural and historic properties and includes sites in the National Park System, National Historic Landmarks and properties of national, state, and local significance.
Listing a property or district on the National Register does not necessarily restrict the rights of the private property owner in the use, development, or sale of their property. Designation does not mean that the government wants to acquire the property, place restrictions on the land, or dictate the color or materials used on the building.
About the State Register
The State Register of Historic Places is an official listing of properties and sites important to the historical development of Connecticut.
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is a state agency responsible for preparing, adopting, and maintaining standards for the State Register. The SHPO nominates structures and landmarks for review by the State Historical Commission. If the Commission approves the nomination, the SHPO will designate and list the property on the State Register.
The benefits of listing a property on the State Register include identifying a community’s historically significant buildings, structures, and districts and encouraging their preservation. Local and state agencies can identify and take into consideration these important historic properties when planning projects, and if State-funded or assisted projects affect listed properties, then review by the SHPO is required. Some owners of listed properties may be eligible for state restoration funds, and listing will provide for special consideration under the State Building and Fire Codes and the American with Disabilities Act.
About Local Registers
Local Historic Districts (LHDs) offer significant protection and involvement from the community. A LHD is established and administered by the community itself, to protect distinctive and significant characteristics. It encourages changes and new designs that are compatible with the area’s historic distinctiveness.
Why establish an historic district? A LHD creates community pride, fosters neighborhood stabilization, and enhances the appearance and historic character of the area. Contact us if our Circuit Riders can help your community establish a LHD. You can also check out our Local Historic Districts page, which maps all of Connecticut’s local historic districts and contains a wealth of information for historic district commissioners and property owners.