The process of including properties in the National Register of Historic Places is designed with several levels of review. These review levels, and the processes of documentation required are arranged in an orderly and systematic way to ensure that the criteria of the National Register are maintained. All procedural considerations are governed by National Park Service regulations (36 CFR 60).
The National Register process requires the applicant to research and document the property being nominated. Applicants should be aware that the process can be lengthy.
The process is outlined in the National Register of Historic Places Process Flow Chart.
In order to be eligible for the National Register a property must have integrity and significance.
The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, and that:
are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history
Nominations will undergo a minimum of three reviews prior to being forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register at the National Park Service for final review and listing. All research, writing, and revisions during the nominating process are the responsibility of the applicant. State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI) staff may be contacted for technical assistance.
When the first draft of the nomination form is submitted to SHSI by the applicant, the staff review will focus on considerations of the potential eligibility of the property. This preliminary review will also identify potential weaknesses in documentation and areas needing additional research. Notification of comments and recommendations for improving the nomination will be provided in writing by SHSI staff to the applicant.
The applicant must revise the nomination, addressing all of the reviewers comments. When the applicant returns the revised, second draft of the form, the nomination will be scheduled for a staff "Group Review." Each National Register staff member reviews the nomination individually. Staff then meet together for final editing of content, and technical materials. The applicant will be provided with an edited copy of the nomination and a request for any missing technical materials.
When the applicant returns the final revised nomination form and technical materials, the National Register Coordinator will review to verify that all previous staff comments have been addressed. If all revisions and technical materials are in order the nomination will be scheduled for review by the State Nominations Review Committee (SNRC). Completed forms must be received at least 60 days prior to a scheduled meeting in order to be considered at that meeting. This allows time to process the nomination under notification and procedural requirements.
Many Iowa Cities and Counties have established local historic preservation commissions and participate in the Certified Local Government program which assists them in their local preservation efforts. If a nominated property is located in one of these cities or counties, the Local Historic Preservation Commission receives a copy of the nomination and a set of photographs 60 days in advance of the SNRC meeting. The Historic Preservation Commission and the Mayor or Chairman of the Board of Supervisors will review the nomination at a public meeting. The commission will notify and invite the property owner and preparer of the nomination to participate.
The State Nominations Review Committee (SNRC) meets at least three times a year to review requests for National Register listing. The SNRC is composed of professionals in architecture, archeology, architectural history, as well as interested lay people. All meetings are open to the public. Agenda and meeting materials are forwarded to the SNRC 30 days in advance of the meeting. Public comments concerning a request for nomination will be received by the SNRC with these materials or during the meeting, depending on when the comments are made available to the SHSI staff. A cover letter and meeting agenda will be forwarded to owners, consultants, and elected officials 30 days in advance of the meeting. Owners, consultants, and elected officials are notified of the Committees recommendations following the meeting. Any revisions requested by the Committee must be incorporated into the nomination and the final version returned to the National Register Coordinator. Upon receipt the nomination will be signed by the Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer and submitted to the Keeper of the National Register, at the National Park Service.
Download the initiation packet of materials needed to begin the process of listing a property on the National Register may be requested from National Register Coordinator, Beth Foster Hill, at the State Historical Society of Iowa, 600 E. Locust, Des Moines, IA 50319, 515/281-4137, or by e-mail at Beth.Foster@iowa.gov
The packet includes:
A list of State Historical Society of Iowa staff and telephone numbers that may help with questions that the applicant may have while completing the nomination forms.
A list of consultants that may be employed to prepare the nomination. These consultants have previous experience in preparing nominations, and have requested placement on this list. Anyone may prepare a nomination.
A list of commonly asked questions, with answers, about the National Register.
National Register application forms
Bulletin 16A: How to Complete the National Register Registration Form
Bulletin 39: Researching a Historic Property
Any person or government entity may appeal to National Park Service the nomination or listing of any historical property in the National Register. Appeals for nominations may also be made if a state or Federal agency fails or refuses to nominate a property. Procedures for appeals can be found in the National Register regulations.
The final review and approval of a nomination rests with the Keeper of the National Register, National Park Service. Owners, consultants, and elected officials are notified of listing in writing.
Visit the National Register of Historic Places web site for listings of National Register sites and other program information.