Historic Preservation Resources
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Information Center
Historic preservation is saving our past, our cultural heritage, and our historic environments. It is concerned with conservation, maintenance, protection, and repair, and, at times, the replication of our built and human environment.
Historic preservation includes the architectural aspects of our heritage from buildings and other structures to historic sites and entire communities, heritage districts, and heritage corridors. Historic canals, farms, haciendas, landscapes, industries, lighthouses, pueblos, railroads, rivers, scenic views, and archaeological ruins are all part of our cultural heritage. Historic preservation considers our heirloom craftsmanship, building materials, tools, and construction methods. The description and documentation of all aspects of our heritage and history are a vital part of historic preservation. In addition to rotecting and saving our heritage, historic preservation fosters an appreciation of our diverse cultural heritage.
To many, the economic benefits of historic preservation may be the most important. Historic preservation provides an avenue to enrich and revitalize our lives and communities. It creates jobs, revitalizes downtown areas, stimulates businesses, and ultimately, makes communities more vital. Historic preservation offers tax incentives, funding possibilities, motivation for community involvement, and fosters community spirit. Historic preservation enables communities to become economically viable and livable.
Historic Preservation Resources provides web links to more than fifty full-text "how to" information guides and manuals on general and technical aspects of historic preservation. It includes web links to specialty resources on historic barns, farms, bridges, schools, battlefields, landscapes, lighthouses, interiors, exteriors, preservation techniques, and other facts of historic preservation.
The reader may locate links to funding programs and additional information on the Rural Information Center (RIC) Arts, Humanities and Historic Preservation Resource page at: http://ric.nal.usda.gov/community-development-resources/arts-and-humanities
This resource guide was revised and updated by Patricia LaCaille John December 2004.
The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this publication (or page) is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Agricultural Research Service of any product or service to the exclusion of others that maybe suitable.
This guidebook of fifty-five national landmarks illustrates how American defenders took part in various military actions throughout history and includes: battlefields, forts, lighthouses, and rocket sites.
A guide to teaching about historic sites, national parks, and national reserves.
Discusses the American Heritage Rivers Initiative that integrates the economic, environmental, and historic preservation programs and services of the federal agencies that are helping the communities who are involved in restoring and revitalizing America's rivers and the communities surrounding them.
Includes 14 articles focusing on the recent national effort to protect, preserve, and interpret United States battlefields, particularly Civil War battlefields.
Discusses how information systems are used to help with the care and conservation of historic buildings and their contents, including costs, energy consumption, safety, and security.
Includes 17 articles on cultural resource management and heritage conservation in Hawaii.
Describes historic preservation projects in ten Connecticut communities are briefly described.
Includes widely available general works, key scholarly works specific to Wisconsin and original sources that have special significance in the development of Wisconsin farm buildings. The materials listed are intended to provide leads to additional works.
Provides practical information, including choice of materials and installation of pressure-treated wood, wood preservation, and maintenance and repair of wood houses.
Describes the wrought and cast iron bridge project by the Historic American Engineering Record in cooperation with the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
Explains what documentation is and what it has to do with conservation.
Case study illustrates the potential of historic preservation and heritage tourism in economic development. Describes the cultural landscape of the mill village of Farnumville in Grafton, Massachusetts and the participation of citizens and businesses in this preservation initiative.
Record of the first annual trade show where free advise was available to the owners of historic or old houses in New Jersey.
Details about the conservation and restoration of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club Historical Preservation Project which is one of the initiatives of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Program.
Guides the reader through the process of identifying, accepting, and managing conservation easements. Explains techniques in clear, plan language from those with hands-on experiences in the process. Includes examples of conservation and historic preservation easements.
Focuses on masonry, wood conservation and restorations for the preservation of the 19th Century Peter French Round Barn in Harney County, Oregon
Discusses responsibilities and conflicts of an engineer in a historic preservation project, including code review, interventions, and conventional probes that review concealed structural building elements.
Part I of this case law overview covers the National Historic Preservation Act, implementing regulations, court opinions, Executive Orders, attorney's fees, and preservation costs. Part II provided summaries of court decisions involving federal historic preservation law.
Examines using gambling casinos as an economic solution to finance historic preservation and promote tourism in Deadwood, SD. Includes aerial photos, charts, and maps.
Examines the efforts of four mining towns in Colorado and South Dakota that instituted "small stakes gambling" to encourage community development. Gambling was a part of each town's history and each town had its own theme for historic development and preservation.
Discusses neighborhood commissions, architecture review boards, district goals, and regulations.
Describes restoration of an eight-mile stretch of train track from the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad and Muddy Creek Forks, a small Pennsylvania village.
Serves as a guide to the historic interior architecture in the United States.
Serves as an introduction to the issues of historic buildings. Discusses historic significance, identifying historic buildings, tracing and documenting the history of a building, and protection of historic structures through political action, certification and property restriction.
Discusses what makes a farmstead historic and why historic farmsteads merit protection. Considers suggestions for preserving historic farmsteads in the context of principles of farmstead planning.
Presents conservation and restoration methods for historic museums that were private homes of the United States.
Lists materials about architecture, conservation, preservation philosophy, history of the historic preservation movement, preservation planning and reference resources.
Describes the Towpaths-to-Trails Initiative of the National Park Service and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, primarily the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area in Ohio.
Discusses tax relief incentives for historic property owners in the Historic Property Reinvestment Act.
Focuses on how-to resolve humidity and moisture problems in 1930s and 1940s buildings, including measurement, vapor barriers, air conditioning, and new techniques.
Includes 16 articles on the movement, resources, and projects to save, restore, and preserve America's lighthouses.
Traces the history of the preservation movement in the United States from the early 19th century to today. Covers topics of historic houses, adaptive use, outdoor museums, historic districts, rural and small-town preservation, archaeology, and landscape preservation.
Provides thousands of answers to historic preservation questions ranging from how local groups can help preservation problems to key rehabilitation standards and the characteristics of architecture.
Reviews literature for developing practical guidance to make educated decision for "researching, planning, managing and undertaking project work in cultural landscape resources.
Includes seven articles that focus on the preservation of the built heritage from the recent past. Includes bibliography, drawings, diagrams, photos, and plans.
Focuses on success of forging a national historic preservation partnership involving states, communities, Indian tribes, federal agencies, the private sector, and individuals.
Describes the preservation efforts of this village in New York's Finger Lakes area, specifically of the Moravia Development Committee and the Society for Historic Moravia.
Provides guidance to document, evaluate and nominate historically significant sites to the National Register. Includes four sections on the Basics, Property Types, Technical Assistance, and General Guidance.
Offers guidance to Federal agencies, State Historic Preservation Offices, Certified Local Governments, preservation professionals, and interested individuals in the successful preparation of nominations to the National Register of Historic Places and requests for determinations of eligibility for historic sites or districts known as rural historic landscapes.
Citizen participation, ethic neighborhoods, and historic districts are covered.
TPS provides easy-to-read guidance for homeowners, preservation professionals, organizations, and government agencies on preserving, rehabitating and restoring historic buildings.
#20. The Preservation of Historic Barns. Michael J. Auer. http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/briefs/brief20.htm
Encourages the preservation of historic barns and other agricultural structures by encouraging their maintenance and use as agricultural buildings, and by advancing their sensitive rehabilitation for new users when their historic use is no longer feasible. Discusses historic barn types including Dutch, bank, crib, round, and prairie barns.
#31. Mothballing Historic Buildings. Sharon C. Park. 1993. http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/briefs/brief31.htm
Discusses the process of protecting a deteriorating historic building from weather and vandalism. It focuses on what to do when funding is not available to begin a preservation project.
#34. Applied Decoration for Historic Interiors Preserving Composition Ornament. Jonathan Thornton and William Adair. 1995. http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/briefs/brief34.htm
Describes the types of composition materials and various composition ornaments and ways to proceed to preserve these historic interior items.
#35. Understanding Old Buildings: The Process of Architectural Investigation. Travis C. McDonald Jr. 1995. http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/briefs/brief35.htm
Addresses the investigation process in easy to understand terminology and provides a logical sequence of planning, investigation, and analysis. Stress that very careful planning prior to actual preservation is absolutely necessary.
#36. Protecting Cultural Landscapes: Planning, Treatment, and Management of Historic Landscapes. Charles A. Birnbaum. 1994. 16p. http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/briefs/brief36.htm
Discusses a step-by-step process for preserving historic designed and vernacular landscapes to ensure a successful balance between historic preservation and change
#37. Appropriate Methods for Reducing Lead-Paint Hazards in Historic Housing. 1995. http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/briefs/brief37.htm
Explains that historic properties can be made lead-safe for children without removing decorative features and finishes and gives tips on proceeding.
#38. Removing Graffiti from Historic Masonry. Martin E. Weaver. 1995. http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/briefs/brief38.htm
Explains the necessity of removing graffiti without damaging the historic masonry and gives hints on the best ways to proceed.
#39. Holding the Line: Controlling Unwanted Moisture in Historic Buildings. Sharon C. Park. 1995. http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/briefs/brief39.htm
Stresses the principles that should guide treatment decisions about moisture problems, including: avoid remedial treatments without careful diagnosis, undertake only treatments that protect the historical significance of the property, and implement monitoring program when moisture is controlled.
#41. The Seismic Retrofit of Historic Buildings: Keeping Preservation in the Forefront. David W. Look, Terry Wong, Sylvia Rose Augustus. 1997. 16p. http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/briefs/brief41.htm
Provides the necessary information on how earthquakes affect historic buildings, how preservation ethics can guide decisions, and how seismic retrofit can protect human lives and historic structures.
Explains the basics of tax incentives for historic preservation, including: obtaining the necessary certifications, charitable contributions for historic preservation purposes, and investment tax credit for low-income housing.
Covers new issues that historic preservationists face including how to integrate preservation into the planning process, property rights, and what should be saved.
Lists resources for all types of preservation tasks.
Provides links, books, and journal articles on the preservation of historic schools, providing financial and administrative preservation tools and school preservation case studies.
Discusses how to choose and use government tools of action or private-public partnerships for historic preservation initiatives. Includes topics on architectural heritage management, inciting preservation, and information as an impetus to action.
Explains how to bring about citizen participation in historic preservation initiatives.
Describes how the Stillwater Road (Shea) Bridge in Cumberland, RI, was rehabilitated. Discusses the physical threats to iron bridges, including deferred maintenance, harmful deicing salts, and overloading. Also explains ways to proceed to save an iron bridge.
Describes the renovation of five historic buildings in Minnesota.
Includes 11 articles focusing on the success of the federal historic Preservation Tax Incentives program that generated over 25,000 projects and more than $17 billion in private investment in the rehabilitation of historic building in 20 years.
Describes successful National Trust Main Street Initiatives that have generated change and economic vitality in more than 350 Southern towns in the past 15 years. Discusses the town of Grapevine, TX, Harrodsburg, KY, and Salisbury, NC.
Discusses how-to choose appropriate treatments for historic buildings from exterior building materials to interiors, sites, settings, and special requirement (energy efficiency, accessibility, health and safety).
Describes Brattonville, SC historic site.
Discusses the economic aspect of the New York State program that provides for tax incentives for the conservation and restoration of barns.
Discusses work of Vermont Betterment, Inc, an active group of preservations who work to preserve and promote Vermont's architecture and history.
Examines eight historic communities for effectiveness of design guidelines.
Discusses topics on architecture, conservation, maintenance, repair, and restoration of windows in historic buildings.
Historic preservation associations often publish a journal, newsletter, or magazine about a geographic area (local, regional, or state) or about a specific architectural style or historic interest. A few specific journals are listed to below to provide an indication of the variety available. To find out what other publications are available locally, check with a library or an organization in your area. Those journals listed with a web address are available free online.Common Ground: Preserving Our Nation's Heritage
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
CRM: The Journal of Heritage Stewardship
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Old House Journal
Old Mill News
Technology and Conservation: Of Art,
Architecture, and Antiquities
Windmiller's Gazette: A Journal for the
Preservation of America's Wind Power History
Among the federal resource that provide assistance in historic preservation, the National Park Service within the Department of the Interior and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, chartered by the federal government are primary resources. These two organizations offer a wealth of expertise and services, including grant and funding assistance, publications, training, and technical assistance. To learn more about any of their services or about other federal services, check with their offices, the state historic preservation offices, historic preservation associations, libraries, or local, state, or regional historic societies.
Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation
American Association for State and Local
American Institute for Conservation of
Historic and Artistic Works
American Institute of Architects
American Planning Association
American Society of Landscape Architects
America the Beautiful Fund
The Association for Living Historical Farms
and Agricultural Museums
The Association for Preservation Technology
The Civil War Preservation Trust
Friends of Cast Iron Architecture
Historic New England
Land Trust Alliance
League of Historic America Theatres
National Alliance of Preservation Commissions
National Building Museum
National Housing and Rehabilitation Association
National Railway Historical Society
Society for the Preservation of Old Mills (SPOOM)
USDA, Rural Information Center
National Agricultural Library
10301 Baltimore Ave., Room 123
Beltsville, MD 20705-2351