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The official list of national cultural resources worthy of preservation.

This program is locally administered by the Washington State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP), a state agency with offices in Olympia. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, the National Register is part of a program to coordinate and support public and private historic preservation efforts. Properties listed in the National Register include 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.

For a property to be eligible for placement in the National Register, it must meet established Criteria of Evaluation. All nominations are made on a standard form designed to clearly identify whether the property meets these criteria. Nominations are first reviewed by the Washington State OAHP for completeness and accuracy; the nominations are then considered by the State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The Council makes a recommendation relative to the property's placement on the National Register and also has the authority to list it in the Washington Heritage Register (WHR). Final determination of nominations to the National Register is made by the National Park Service in Washington, DC. Legal private property owners of record have an opportunity to approve or object to the National Register nomination prior to the Advisory Council review. If this is done, the property will not be listed; in this case, the State Historic Preservation Officer forwards the nomination to the Keeper of the National Register for determination of eligibility. Once a property is listed in the National Register, or determined eligible for listing in the Register, it is afforded certain protections under federal law. Whenever a federally funded, permitted, or licensed project has potential to affect a National Register designated or eligible property, the responsible federal agency must afford the State Historic Preservation Officer an opportunity to review and comment on the project.


Facade Easements

If a building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, it is eligible for the donation of a facade easement. The building owner may give control over any change in the property's facade to a nonprofit organization dedicated to preservation of the natural or built environment. The nonprofit organization, in effect, is a partial owner of the property, as it controls any changes made to the facade. As such, the nonprofit organization accepts responsibility for assuring the continued preservation of the facade. Once the value of the easement has been appraised, the owner may take a tax deduction for his or her charitable contribution.


A property must be listed in the National Register in order to qualify for certain types of grants-in-aid, when grants are available. Information on grant availability can be obtained from the Washington State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation in Olympia.

Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 permits owners and some lessees of buildings listed in the National Register to take a 20% income tax credit on the cost of the rehabilitating such buildings for industrial, commercial, or rental residential purposes. This credit can be applied concurrently with the Special Tax Valuation of Historic Properties. Rehabilitation works needs to be in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings (36CFR67).

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