Identification, Research & Designation

So you have a historic property — now what?

Do you know what type of property you have — is it a structure or something else? What about completing the research to find out more about it? And then of course there’s getting your property designated as a historic place!

Building: A building, such as a house, barn, church, hotel, or similar construction, is created principally to shelter any form of human activity. “Building” may also be used to refer to a historically and functionally related unit, such as a courthouse and jail or a house and barn.
Examples include: church, city or town hall, courthouse, fort, garage, hotel, house, library, office building, school, stable, store, theater, detached kitchen, barn

Structure: The term “structure” is used to distinguish from buildings those functional constructions made usually for purposes other than creating human shelter.
Examples include: bridges, tunnels, fire towers, canals, damns, silos, roadways, mounds, cairns, earthworks, railroad grades, systems of roadways and paths, boats and ships, railroad locomotives and cars, telescopes, bandstands, gazebos and aircraft

Historic Buildings & Structures

Resources specific to building/structure type.

Other Historic Resources

This includes cemeteries and archaeological sites.

Starting Your Research

National Register of Historic Places

Secretary of the Interior Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties

The Secretary of the Interior’s (SOI) Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties are basic historic preservation principles that are used to promote historic preservation best practices. Many funding opportunities, including the Historic Tax Credit, require preservation projects to follow SOI standards. The treatments are divided into four categories: preservation, restoration, reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Building Condition Assessment

Building condition assessments should always be the first step when dealing with a historic structure, regardless of whether the goal is preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation. There are two primary reasons for completing a condition assessment: to identify the materials and features of a historic structure, and determine their condition. The National Park Service has put together a useful post containing tips on the best way to complete a condition assessment. Lastly, it is important that issues discovered during a condition assessment are addressed quickly and appropriately to avoid further complications.

NPS Technical Preservation Services

“Technical Preservation Services develops historic preservation standards and guidance on preserving and rehabilitating historic buildings, administers the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program for rehabilitating historic buildings, and sets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.”
Their website contains a number of useful publications, from Preservation Briefs to Tech Notes on various preservation-related topics.

Historic Structure Report

“A historic structure report provides documentary, graphic, and physical information about a property’s history and existing condition. Broadly recognized as an effective part of preservation planning, a historic structure report also addresses management or owner goals for the use or re-use of the property. It provides a thoughtfully considered argument for selecting the most appropriate approach to treatment, prior to the commencement of work, and outlines a scope of recommended work. The report serves as an important guide for all changes made to a historic property during a project-repair, rehabilitation, or restoration- and can also provide information for maintenance procedures. Finally, it records the findings of research and investigation, as well as the processes of physical work, for future researchers.”

Preservation Brief 43: The Preparation and Use of Historic Structures Reports, Deborah Slaton, National Part Service, U.S. Department of the Interior

Historic Tax Credit

Once a property is deemed ‘historic’ by being listed either on the NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES individually or contributing to a historic district or is part of a CERTIFIED HISTORIC DISTRICT, a project can receive tax credits, which lowers the taxes owed, on qualified rehabilitation expenses if their work conforms to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Building Rehabilitation.

Preservation Resource Directory

This directory is intended to help the general public find people with expertise in various aspects of historic preservation, be it planning, design, development, financing, tax credits, National Register nominations or accounting as well as museums, venues and other preservation or history-related organizations. The directory is made up of major donors to our organization and is intended to recognize these people and companies for their generosity to the cause of historic preservation in Missouri. It is NOT AN ENDORSEMENT of any of the companies or individuals mentioned. We strongly urge you to obtain competitive bids and get references from contractors, etc. before the start of any building rehabilitation project.