State Historic Preservation Office
Overview of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966*

Enacted in 1966 and amended in 1970 and 1980, this federal law provides for a National Register of Historic Places to include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, and culture. Such places may have national, state or local significance. The act provides funding for the State Historic Preservation Officer (in North Carolina, the Director of the Office of Archives and History) and his or her staff to conduct surveys and comprehensive preservation planning. The act establishes standards for state programs and requires states to establish mechanisms for Certified Local Governments to participate in the National Register nomination and funding programs.

Section 106 of the Act requires that federal agencies having direct or indirect jurisdiction over a proposed federal, federally assisted, or federally licensed undertaking, prior to approval of the expenditure of funds or the issuance of a license, take into account the effect of the undertaking on any district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation a reasonable opportunity to comment with regard to the undertaking. This Council appointed by the President has implemented procedures to facilitate compliance with this provision at 36 CFR Part 800.

Section 110 of the Act directs the heads of all federal agencies to assume responsibility for the preservation of National Register listed or eligible historic properties owned or controlled by their agency. Federal agencies are directed to locate, inventory and nominate properties to the National Register, to exercise caution to protect such properties, and to use such properties to the maximum extent feasible. Other major provisions of Section 110 include documentation of properties adversely affected by federal undertakings, the establishment of trained federal preservation officers in each agency, and the inclusion of the costs of preservation activities as eligible agency project costs.

Click here for the full text of the NHPA as posted by the National Park Service.

* Reproduced for the City of Washington Department of Planning and Development Website
from the revision of this document posted at:
on the State Historic Preservation Office Website as of 12/11/01.
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