How do I list a property?
Property owners can nominate properties to the State Register by submitting a completed Individual Inventory Form for the resource to the Division of Historical Resources. Forms and directions are available from the Division’s web site at http://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/programs/survey.htm.
If the property meets the State Register criteria and the inventory form is complete, the NHDHR recommends the property for listing to the State Historical Resources Council. The Council, composed of professionals in the fields of American history, architectural history, architecture, prehistoric and historic archeology, and other related disciplines, meets quarterly and gives final approval to all nominations.
Inventory forms are also completed as part of many state and local planning processes, such as environmental review for transportation projects, and through the efforts of town heritage or historical commissions. Property owners should check the NHDHR’s files for previous research prior to beginning their own inventory efforts.
What are the criteria for listing?
All properties listed on the State Register are documented and evaluated against the following criteria. These broad criteria are designed to guide individuals, local governments, and others in evaluating potential entries in the State Register. Properties not specifically described in the text below may still be eligible.
Criteria for evaluation
Properties may be listed on the State Register for the story they tell. This story can be about a single event, such as a major labor strike at a factory, or about a much longer historical trend, such as the rise of textile manufacturing in the Merrimack River valley, or a number of stories that are together meaningful to a community’s history, such as a mill complex that has housed a number of different industries on which a village has depended. Although the State Register recognizes that many of these types of historical resources have changed over the years to accommodate evolving technologies, styles and needs, the listed resource must retain enough of its historic fabric to illustrate its historic uses and role in the community.
Properties may also be meaningful for their associations with people who made important contributions to a community, profession, or local tradition. These types of resources could be the workshop of a popular painter, the home of successful local manufacturer, or the store of the first merchant in town. Again, these resources should retain the bulk of their historical physical fabric. One test is to question whether the person whose life the property illustrates would recognize it today.
Properties may also be listed on the State Register as well-preserved examples of local architecture, engineering, design, construction or engineering, or as long-standing focal point in a neighborhood or community. Examples could include: a well-preserved although typical example of a New Hampshire farmhouse, a town common, or the intact stone foundations of a local grist mill. These types of resources need not be extraordinary or the best example in town; they often can be common, although irreplaceable, features of the New Hampshire landscape.
Identified but unexcavated archeological sites may also be listed, as they can yield significant information about the lives, traditions and activities of New Hampshire’s earliest residents. Please contact the NHDHR to discuss the nomination of an archaeological site, as different considerations may apply.
Types of Resources
As noted above, historic resources listed on the State Register can be buildings, districts, sites, landscapes, structures and objects. Examples of these types of resources include, but are not limited to:
||houses, stores, barns, garages, boathouses.
||downtowns, mill complexes, railroad corridors, neighborhoods, agricultural properties.
||mill or building foundations, parade grounds, the location of a Native American Indian camp.
||cemeteries, parks, town forests.
||bridges, stone walls, fire towers, dams.
||watering troughs, light posts, boats, fountains.
How old does the property have to be?
Generally, properties eligible for listing on the State Register should be at least fifty years old. The passage of time allows for a more objective evaluation of a property’s historical significance. Properties approaching the fifty year mark can be listed if their historical values are already clear.
Changes to properties listed in the State Register
Any change to a historic property that harms or destroys its significant historic fabric may be grounds for removing that property from the State Register. These types of changes can include moving a building, replacing a building’s most significant historic building materials with unsympathetic materials, or the destruction of its most important historical attributes, such as the subdivision of a farm’s agricultural fields and the subsequent construction of modern housing. The degree of harm a change can cause depends on the reason why the property was listed on the Register, and each case must be reviewed individually.
On the other hand, changes to a property once judged to be ineligible for the State Register could render it eligible, such as the removal of modern building materials from a commercial storefront and the restoration of its original façade.
Removing properties from the State Register
Any person or organization may petition in writing to the NHDHR for the removal of property from the State Register. Given a clear, informative demonstration of why the property should be removed from the State Register, based on the four criteria given below, NHDHR will either forward its concurrence or disagreement with the request to the State Historical Resources Council. As with listing a property to the State Register, the State Historical Resources Council gives final approval or disapproval to all removal requests. Reasons for removing a property include:
(a) changes that have harmed a resource’s historic integrity,
(b) the introduction of additional information that shows a property does not meet criteria,
(c) procedural error in the nomination or listing process, or
(d) a subsequent property owner’s preference.
Regardless of whether a property is listed on the State Register, or only determined to be eligible for listing on the State Register, many of the benefits described below in the section, “Effects of Listing,” still apply.
Assistance with listing a property on the State Register
Instructions for completing inventory forms and locating research materials are available at the NHDHR, as is a list of consulting architectural historians who are familiar with the inventory and State Register processes in New Hampshire. As noted above, researchers should also review the existing inventory files at NHDHR to determine whether information has been gathered on their property.