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National Register Evaluation Criteria

National Register criteria for evaluating properties. The criteria applied to evaluate properties (other than areas of the National Park System and National Historic Landmarks) for the National Register are listed below. These criteria are worded in a manner to provide for a wide diversity of resources. The following criteria shall be used in evaluating properties for nomination to the National Register, by the National Park Service (NPS) in reviewing nominations, and for evaluating National Register eligibility of properties.

Guidance in applying the criteria is further discussed in the "How To" publications, Standards and Guidelines sheets, and opinions of the Keeper of the National Register. Such materials are available upon request from National Register of Historic Places Publications.

Criteria for evaluation. The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, 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

(a) that are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or

(b) that are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or

(c) that embody distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or

(d) that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.

Criteria considerations. Ordinarily cemeteries, birthplaces, or 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:

(a) A religious property deriving primary significance from architectural or artistic distinction or historical importance; or

(b) A building or structure removed from its original location but which is significant primarily for architectural value, or which is the surviving structure most importantly associated with a historic person or event; or

(c) A birthplace or grave of a historical figure of outstanding importance if there is no appropriate site or building directly associated with his productive life.

(d) A cemetery which derives its primary significance from graves of persons of transcendent importance, from age, from distinctive design features, or from association with historic events; or

(e) 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

(f) A property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own exceptional significance; or

(g) A property achieving significance within the past 50 years if it is of exceptional importance. [This exception is described further in NPS's "How To" booklet No. 2, entitled "How to Evaluate and Nominate Potential National Register Properties that Have Achieved Significance Within the Last 50 Years," available from NPS.]

Updated June 12, 2015

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