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Determining Eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places
March 09, 2021

Have you ever wondered if your house or business is eligible for listing to the National Register of Historic Places? Founded in 1966, the National Register of Historic Places helps preserve America’s significant properties and maintain associations to our shared past.

The National Register of Historic Places List

Identifying and evaluating properties for historical significance can be a difficult and nuanced task. The first requirement for National Register listing is that the property be at least 50 years old. Then, the property must be associated with a historical event, a significant person, an example of notable architecture, or provide information important to understanding history and prehistory. Throughout the United States, standing buildings (houses, factories, commercial properties, churches, etc.) are the most common type of property placed on the National Register. Not only does it have to be associated with something noteworthy, but the property must also retain “historic integrity”, meaning it must maintain certain characteristics in location, design, materials, workmanship, setting, feeling, and historical association.

Prairie School-style house located outside of Creston, Iowa

Prairie School-style house located outside of Creston, Iowa. This building was documented by our National Register of Historic Places experts.


What Happens During the Historical Evaluation?

Evaluations of standing buildings start with a field visit to document the property. Investigators photograph the building, note key elements, and identify the overall design. Researchers then compare the property to similar properties at the local, state, and national levels. Documenting a property’s history focuses on construction, use, and changes over time. Changes to a property are common, and the key to evaluating “historic integrity” is determining if changes are so drastic that the property no longer conveys its history.

Queen Anne Victorian home

A Queen Anne-style home located in Waverly, Iowa, may be eligible. Craftsmanship is a contributing factor to the eligibility of a property.


There are many reasons why properties are evaluated for their National Register eligibility. The most common reason this evaluation occurs is because it is associated with a project that requires federal money or permitting and federal regulations require that certain projects consider affects to historic properties and avoid National Register eligible properties if possible. Landowners might also wish to look at a property’s history to mark their building as significant, often taking advantage of historic tax credits that apply to historic properties in the process.

We Can Help

If you are interested in the historic tax credit program in Iowa, please visit http://www.iowaculture.gov/history/preservation/tax-incentives. Impact7G is also able to assist in documenting and evaluating historic buildings for National Register eligibility. Are you interested in seeing if a property is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places? Please contact us at https://www.impact7g.com/contact/ if you would like additional information!


Drone photo of Main Street, McGregor, IA

The Mississippi River town of McGregor, Iowa, is the home of several sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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