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The National Register of Historic Places

Administered by the National Park Service, the National Register of Historic Places is an honorary list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that meet established criteria for significance. The Missouri State Historic Preservation Office’s (SHPO) National Register and Survey program facilitates the process of identifying and listing significant historic resources (buildings, sites, objects, and structures) in Missouri.

State and federal governments do not place restrictions on private property listed in the National Register. Check with your local government to see if there are ordinances that concern historic properties. For more on the benefits of National Register listing, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions PDF linked below.

Powell Bridge, McDonald County, Mo.

Powell Bridge, McDonald County

The National Register of Historic Places uses a set of criteria established by the National Park Service to evaluate a property’s eligibility for listing. These criteria are discussed in the National Park Service’s National Register Bulletin 15: How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation. This publication also explains how to evaluate a property’s integrity, or retention of its historic character. Additionally, the National Register website of the National Park Service’s National Register website has a lot of useful information.  

Is my property listed in the National Register of Historic Places?

The Map of Historic Resources notes the location of individual properties and districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is searchable by address. Currently, Missouri boasts more than 2,500 listings, representing over 48,000 individual resources. Successfully listed National Register nominations are publicly available online.

Is my property eligible for the National Register of Historic Places?

The first step to listing a property in the National Register of Historic Places is typically the completion of an Eligibility Assessment (EA) form for a single property or small contiguous groupings of resources. Although not required, EAs are a means to receive preliminary feedback from SHPO staff on a property’s eligibility prior to beginning the formal nomination process. Since the National Register process can take anywhere from six months to a year, EAs are strongly encouraged. See the webpage “Assessing NR Eligibility” for more information, including the downloadable EA form. Architectural surveys are generally conducted prior to the submission of a nomination for a neighborhood or district and are required for districts containing more than 75 primary resources (see “NR Submission Requirements”). Please visit the “Survey” page for more information on the survey process.

The National Register Process

The Introduction section of the Missouri Guide to the National Register Process explains the National Register process in detail. In short, a substantially complete nomination form is submitted to the SHPO for review and comment. To be considered complete, the nomination must meet certain submission standards. Although anyone can submit a National Register form, some preparers opt to hire a professional to write a nomination. The SHPO maintains a list of professionals who meet the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Historians and/or Architectural Historians.

After a complete nomination is submitted to the SHPO, a staff member is assigned to the project and provides comments to the preparer, who then submits a revision. Once a nomination is deemed ready, it is scheduled for a Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (MOACHP) meeting. The MOACHP is a body of preservation professionals and laypeople appointed by the governor to review National Register nominations and provide input on preservation issues. MOACHP Council members, meeting dates, locations, draft nominations, meeting minutes and recent decisions are publicly available here.

A nomination may be submitted at any time, but there are submission deadlines that correspond to specific MOACHP meeting dates. Once the nomination is approved by the MOACHP, a draft incorporating final polishes is submitted to the SHPO. From there, the nomination is submitted to the National Park Service, where a final decision regarding listing is made.