The National Register of Historic Places
is the United States
' official list of historic sites worthy of preservation which was authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966
. There are around 84,000 listings
of individual properties (sites, buildings, structures, and objects) and historic districts. The districts include, in turn, about 1,000,000 buildings, sites and structures. The Register automatically includes all 2,450 or so
U.S. National Historic Landmarks
designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as well as the approximately 300 historic areas that are National Monuments declared by the U.S. president or National Historic Sites or other National Park Service
areas authorized by the U.S. congress.
The National Register of Historic Places is primarily a tool to recognize the historical significance of a building, structure, object, site, or district. Listing in the National Register does not directly restrict private property owners from the use of their property. Some states, however, might have state or local laws that become effective when a place is listed on the National Register. In contrast, a local historic district often has enabling ordinances at the municipal level that restrict certain kinds of changes to properties and thereby encourages those changes that are sensitive to the historic character of an area.
Any individual can prepare a National Register nomination although historians and historic preservation consultants are often employed for this work. The nomination contains basic information on the type of significance embodied in the building, structure, object, district, or site. The State Historic Preservation Office receives National Register nominations and supplies feedback to the individual preparing the nomination. A description of the various aspects of social history and commerce, architectural styles and ownership of the property is also part of the nomination.