Listing in the National Register allows the homeowner to be formally and publicly recognized as having a home with historical, architectural or archaeological significance. The home becomes part of the permanent National Register archive. Owners of a registered home may take advantage of the resources of the National Park Service in finding historically compatible materials to help maintain the home. Listing also allows homeowners to network with each other.
According to Kim Williams, National Register coordinator with the D.C. Historic Preservation Office, once a property is listed on the Historic Inventory, it is protected by all of the District’s historic preservation laws. The criteria for an inventory listing are modeled after the National Register criteria, but they are not identical, Williams said.
District residents seeking historic designation for their homes can obtain nomination forms from the Historic Preservation Office (but not online). The application requires a physical description of the property and a statement of its significance. Photographs, maps and a bibliography are required.
Applications are filed with the District’s Historic Preservation Review Board. The board works with Area Neighborhood Commissions and other community groups in developing and maintaining historic districts in the city and in evaluating applications for historic designation. That board simultaneously reviews applications for listing in the Historic Inventory and the National Register.
The District recommends that the applicant consult the Historic Preservation Office staff, an architectural historian or a historian in preparing the application. The application fee is $100. Once the nomination form is filed, office staff members are supposed to review the application within 10 days. The District will not make a decision on designation until after a public hearing. The applicant is required to publish the notice of hearing in a local newspaper at least 30 days before the hearing so that the public can have input in the decision.
Virginia and Maryland require the homeowner seeking to be listed on the National Register to complete and file a preliminary information form (at
and www.mht.maryland.gov). These preliminary forms are used to determine eligibility.
Once deemed eligible, homeowners must complete NPS Form 10-900. Homeowners submit the form to their local or regional state Historic Preservation Office. This 12-page nomination form elicits detailed information regarding the property’s historic use or function, its current use or function and its architectural significance. It also requires a description and a “statement of significance.”
The statement is designed to describe in detail why the property is historically significant: Was the property associated with certain historical events? Was the home associated with significant historical individuals? Was the home designed or built by a recognized master or does it possess high artistic value? Generally, homes less than 50 years old are not considered historical.