What It Is and How It Works
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. Mississippi has more than 1,300 listings in the National Register. Most are houses, but there are also archaeological sites, battlefields, bridges, buildings, cemeteries, forts, and historic districts.
The National Register of Historic Places was established by Congress in 1966 to help identify and protect historically significant properties. National Register properties enrich our understanding of local, state, and national history by representing significant events and developments, the contributions of notable people, and important types of buildings and architectural styles. National Register listing can also help preserve these important properties through tax benefits, grant assistance, and protection from demolition or development.
National Register listing does not restrict a private owner’s use of the property, unless development of the property involves federal funding, federal rehabilitation tax credits, or participation in some other federal program. There are no requirements for public accessibility, and information about sensitive sites can be restricted from the public.
To qualify for National Register listing, a building or site should exhibit high degrees of historical significance and integrity. Significance is the property’s connection to some important aspect of the history of the nation, state, or local community. Unless a property can be documented to be exceptionally important, the significant events or developments associated with it should have happened at least fifty years ago.
Integrity is the degree to which a property retains its historical identity and authenticity, in appearance, materials, and location. For example, a house that is significant because it was the home of a very prominent person should look about like it did when that person lived there. If it has changed too much, it is not eligible.