State Historic Preservation Office

The National Register of Historic Places

Kansas City architect Louis S. Curtiss incorporated Art Nouveau design elements in his design for the entrance of Mineral Hall in Kansas City.
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The National Register of Historic Places includes districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. These resources contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the nation.

Missouri, where the program is administered by the Department of Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), boasts more than 2,000 listings (= more than 35,000 individual resources) in the National Register. More than 45 new Missouri listings (= 500 individual resources) were added during the last 12 months! Nintey-nine percent of those nominations -- complete with photographs and maps -- are available online!

The state's National Register program provides Missouri's citizens with:

Listing in the National Register does not mean that limitations will be placed on the properties by the state or federal government. Public visitation rights are not required of owners. Neither the state nor federal government will attach restrictive covenants to the properties or seek to acquire them.

Whether you are interested in listing a single building or an entire town in the National Register of Historic Places, the first step is assessing its eligibility for nomination to the Register.

If you are interested in an individual property (e.g. a residence, commercial building, or historic school), or a small complex of buildings (e.g. farmsteads or small industrial complexes) you can request a free assessment from the SHPO.

Communities considering nominating commercial, industrial or residential historic districts should begin with architectural/historic surveys.  A survey provides an inventory of buildings and other significant resources in a neighborhood or community, and a historic context for understanding significant events and historic development patterns. This snapshot can be used later to mark changes and improvements in a neighborhood over time.

To be eligible for listing in the National Register, a property or a district must meet at least one of the "criteria for evaluation" and retain its historic integrity. Information about obtaining a free assessment of your property's eligibility for the National Register is available online.

Criteria for Evaluation

The National Register's standards for evaluating the significance of properties were developed to recognize the accomplishments of all peoples who have made a significant contribution to our country's history and heritage. The criteria are designed to guide state and local governments, federal agencies and others in evaluating potential entries in the National Register.

The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association, and:

  1. That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
  2. That are associated with the lives of significant persons in or past; or
  3. That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction; that represent the work of a master; that possess high artistic values; or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
  4. That have yielded or may be likely to yield information important in history or prehistory.

Criteria Considerations

Ordinarily, cemeteries, birthplaces, graves of historical figures, properties owned by religious institutions or used for religious purposes, structures that have been moved from their original locations, reconstructed historic buildings, properties primarily commemorative in nature, and properties that have achieved significance within the past 50 years shall not be considered eligible for the National Register. However, such properties will qualify if they are integral parts of districts that do meet the criteria or if they fall within the following categories:

  1. A religious property deriving primary significance from architectural or artistic distinction or historical importance; or
  2. A building or structure removed from its original location but that is primarily significant for architectural value, or that is the surviving structure most importantly associated with a historic person or event; or
  3. A birthplace or grave of a historical figure of outstanding importance if there is no appropriate site or building associated with his or her productive life; or
  4. A cemetery that derives its primary importance from graves of persons of transcendent importance, from age, from distinctive design features or from association with historic events; or
  5. A reconstructed building when accurately executed in a suitable environment and presented in a dignified manner as part of a restoration master plan, and when no other building or structure with the same association has survived; or
  6. A property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition or symbolic value has invested it with its own exceptional significance; or
  7. A property achieving significance within the past 50 years if it is of exceptional importance.

Benefits of Listing

In addition to honorific recognition, listing in the National Register results in the following benefits for historic properties:

Effective Jan. 1, 1998, Missouri taxpayers completing substantial rehabilitations of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places (either individually listed or as contributing elements of districts) can qualify for a 25 percent state income tax credit. The Missouri state credit applies both to income-producing properties and owner-occupied residential properties.

In Missouri, neither state nor federal law limits the rights of owners of private property listed in the National Register to maintain, manage or dispose of their property as they choose provided that no federal monies, licenses, or permits are involved.

Procedure for Supporting or Objecting to National Register Listing

Under federal law, owners of private properties nominated to the National Register of Historic Places must be given an opportunity to concur in or object to listing in accord with the National Historic Preservation Act Amendments of 1980 and Federal regulations 36 CFR part 60.

In compliance with federal regulations, the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office notifies all owners of private property being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places 30 to 75 days prior to the consideration of the nomination by the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (MOACHP). Owners of individually nominated properties and those who own properties in proposed districts of fewer than 50 resources will be contacted by letter. In proposed historic districts that include more than 50 properties, owners will be contacted either directly by mail or through a public notice published in the local newspaper.

Drafts of all nominations for Missouri properties to be considered for listing on the National Register of Historic Places are kept on file at SHPO. Copies of nominations are available for review by property owners and the public. Copies of the draft nominations can be obtained by contacting SHPO by email, by phoning 573-751-7858, or by visiting our office in Jefferson City. You may also download most draft nominations approximately one month prior to the MOACHP meeting. If you plan to visit the SHPO office to view nominations, please contact the program at 573-751-7858 to make an appointment and get directions.

Any owner or partial owner of private property who concurs with the listing of that property on the National Register either individually or as part of a district need do nothing to register concurrence.

Any owner or partial owner of private property who chooses to object to listing must submit to the State Historic Preservation Office a notarized statement certifying that the party is the sole or partial owner of the private property, as appropriate, and objects to the listing. Where the nominated private property belongs to a single owner, the property will not be listed if the owner objects. Where the nominated private property -- whether an individual property or a district -- has multiple owners each owner or partial owner has one vote regardless of what part of the property or how much property the individual owns. Owners who wish to object are encouraged to submit notarized statements of objection prior to the meeting of the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation at which the nomination is being considered to the Director, State Historic Preservation Office, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, PO Box 176, Jefferson City, Missouri, 65102. However, statements of objection may be submitted and will be counted up until the actual date of listing, which usually takes place at least 15 days but not more than 45 days after the nomination is mailed to the Keeper of the National Register following the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation meeting.

An individual property owner cannot opt out of a nominated district to which the majority of owners have not objected. If a majority of the private owners of the properties making up a nominated district -- or of an individually nominated property -- should object, the district or property will not be listed. Such properties are not eligible for federal preservation grants or tax credits until the objections are withdrawn and the property is listed.

Although privately-owned property will not be listed if the owner or a majority of owners objects, the nomination may be forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register for a determination of eligibility for the National Register.

If the property or district is determined eligible for listing, although not formally listed, it will be treated as a listed property or district for purposes of federal undertakings in the Section 106 (environmental review) process.

Time Frame for the Nomination and Listing Process

Whether written by property owners or by consultants, all nominations are reviewed at the state level by the SHPO staff and the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The Missouri Advisory Council is a body of preservation professionals and laypersons appointed by the Governor to review National Register nominations and provide input on preservation issues.

Roadside architecture, such as this abandoned Skelly Station in northern Missouri, reflects the early history of the automobile age.
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The nomination process varies depending on State Historic Preservation Office planning and registration priorities, and the schedule of the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Council meetings are scheduled quarterly. In order to fulfill all of the review and notification requirements, complete drafts of nominations for individual properties not located in a Certified Local Government (CLG) must be received by the SHPO no later than 60 days prior to a scheduled council meeting. Complete drafts of nominations for properties located within the jurisdiction of a CLG and for districts regardless of jurisdiction must be received no later than 120 days prior to a scheduled council meeting.

Council meetings are webcast live at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/videos/live.htm

Videos are archived at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/videos/archive-meetings.htm#histo

Once a nomination has been approved by the Missouri Advisory Council and any required changes made, it is submitted to the National Park Service (NPS). Upon submission to NPS, a decision on whether to list the property is made within 45 days. Overall, the process of listing a property from the time the SHPO receives the nomination to the time NPS lists the property typically takes approximately 180 days provided that a complete and fully documented nomination form has been completed for the property.

Food for thought:

A final word, for those interested in taking it to the next level: