The National Register of Historic Places (Register) is the Nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. The Register is a program of the National Park Service but the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, a state governmental agency, oversees the administration of the Register program in Maine.
All properties listed in the Register must meet the criteria established by the National Park Service.
There are many misconceptions about what results when a property is listed in the National Register.
The National Register DOES:
- Identify historically significant buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts, according to the National Register criteria for evaluation.
- Encourage the preservation of historic properties by documenting the significance of historic properties and by lending support to local preservation activities.
- Enable federal, state, and local agencies to consider historic properties in the early stages of planning projects.
- Provide for review of federally funded, licensed, or sponsored projects which may affect historic properties.
- Make owners of historic properties eligible to apply for grants for preservation activities.
- Encourage the rehabilitation of income-producing historic properties which meet preservation standards through tax incentives
The National Register DOES NOT:
- Restrict the rights of private property owners in the use, development, or sale of private historic property.
- Lead automatically to historic district zoning.
- Force federal, state, local, or private projects to be stopped.
- Provide for review of state, local, or privately funded projects which may affect historic properties.
- Guarantee that grant funds will be available for all significant historic properties.
- Provide tax benefits to owners of residential historic properties, unless those properties are rental and treated as income-producing by the IRS
A note on National Register Plaques
There is no official plaque program associated with the National Register of Historic Places. Owners of listed property may purchase and install any plaque or marker of their choosing. Several plaques manufactures and sign makers have provided the Commission with information on their products and these can be requested by contacting the Commission.