The State Historic Preservation Office of Iowa (SHPO) maintains a substantial collection of information pertaining to Iowa’s cultural resources. While most of the collection is open to the public, much of the information has yet to be cataloged and/or placed online.
The Iowa Site Inventory contains information on more than 112,000 architectural, historical and National Register listed archaeological properties around the state. Information in each property file varies in scope from a single photograph to a full National Register nomination plus newspaper clippings and project reports. Each property is given a unique site number and basic information on the property is entered into the computerized Iowa Site Inventory database. This searchable information includes locational information, property name, historic and current functions, building materials, architect and builder (if known), architectural style, and National Register status. The database also cross-references properties to the photographs and 1200 architectural and historical reports in our collections.
Many site inventory files are in the process of being converted digitally and eventually the Iowa Site Inventory database will be available to the public for interactive queries. For now, however, you can direct questions to Berry Bennett, Inventory Coordinator, at Berry.Bennett@iowa.gov or (515) 281-8742. We have standard database reports available for lists of properties in the Inventory by city, county, or historic district. We also have reports for builders, architects or architectural firms. We can also design custom database reports, for a fee.
If you would like to provide us with information about a historic property, please complete an Iowa Site Inventory Form.
The University of Iowa - Office of the State Archeologist (OSA) maintains the Iowa Archeological Site File, the master inventory of archeological sites in Iowa. Information on archeological sites is provided to the professional and avocational archaeological community, as well as to agencies and developers on a case by case basis. More information about the Iowa Archeological Site File can be found on the OSA website. The State Historic Preservatoion Office of Iowa maintains records on archeological investigations and on National Register nominations of archeological sites. For more information, contact Doug Jones, Archeologist, at Doug.Jones@iowa.gov or (515) 281-4358.
Survey and research reports completed as part of cultural resource investigations are filed in either the Historic/Architectural Database (HADB) Collection or the National Archeological Database (NADB) Collection. The Reports Collection also includes informational booklets and technical and program reports produced by the State Historic Preservation Office.
The State Historic Preservation Office advises and assists federal and state agencies and local governments in carrying out their historic preservation responsibilities. The paperwork associated with ongoing consultation is kept in a “Review & Compliance” file until the consultation is completed, when paperwork is distributed to the Iowa Site Inventory, HADB, NADB, or moved to the state archives, as appropriate. For more information about this program, visit the Review & Compliance portion of our website or our Review & Compliance Coordinator at (515) 281-3989.
The State Historic Preservation Office maintains a small library of books and journals related to architecture, archeology, Iowa history, cultural resources, and preservation in general. Most of the journals date from the 1970s to the present. These resources are available to peruse and/or copy at your leisure during our normal office hours. In addition, the office possesses a complete set of all National Register Bulletins, Preservation Briefs, Preservation Tech Notes, and other technical assistance materials. For online access to some of these materials, please visit the National Park Service web sites provided above and visit our Technical Assistance web page.
The vertical files at the State Historic Preservation Office of Iowa contain a mass of general information on topics organized by National Register significance areas (e.g., agriculture, education, military, etc.). We also maintain files on architects who worked in Iowa (a key source for the book Iowa’s Historic Architects by Wesley Shank).
The flat files at the State Historical Preservation Office of Iowa contain over 850 plans architectural plans for more than 650 properties, including plans related to the state rehabilitation tax programs.
For additional information, please contact Berry Bennett, Inventory Coordinator, at Berry.Bennett@iowa.gov or (515) 281-8742.
Berry Bennett, Inventory Coordinator