Historic Preservation

Since 1966 and the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act, historic preservation has operated as a national, state, and local program. The purpose of historic preservation is to identify, document, and preserve significant historic properties that evidence our past. 

Preservation in Georgia formally began in the years following World War II. In northeast Georgia, the NEGRC established one of the state's first Regional Preservation Planner Programs in coordination with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources/Historic Preservation Division. This program provides professional, historic-preservation expertise on a regional level to assist communities in preserving historic and cultural resources.

Historic Preservation is also one of four "competency" areas designated by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). It too requires that the NEGRC provide a level of planning capability in historic preservation and particularly in identifying Regionally Important Resources (RIRs) and developing local and regional comprehensive plans. 

The NEGRC's Preservation Planner provides assistance to local governments with many programs and local and regional planning efforts. A sampling of preservation programs and topic areas is provided below. Contact the NEGRC for further information or related to an area not listed below.

Programs List

  • National Register of Historic Places

    Description: The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the nation's list of historic properties worthy of preservation. The list include historic resources of the following types: buildings (e.g., house), structures (e.g., bridge), sites, objects (e.g., monument), and districts or landscape features. Listing in the NRHP is intended for recognition purposes and serves to document the history of significant properties as a permanent record. The National Register process, in many ways, is considered the 'stepping stone' into state and federal preservation programs.

    The NEGRC maintains the region's National Register nominations and they are available for use for research purposes by appointment. These nominations are also on file at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources/ Historic Preservation Division.

    The NEGRC's Preservation Planner is available to assist local governments throughout the nomination process. The most recent National Register nomination (January 2011) in the region is the Forest Avenue Historic District in Elberton. This residential area west of downtown developed between the 1910s and early 1960s. A summary of the district's significance was prepared by the Historic Preservation Division can be found in the documents section.

    Eligibility: Properties must be 50 years or older and retain their historic integrity (seven types).

    Requirements: Historic Properties are nominated by completing state forms known as Historic Property Information Forms. The nomination process involves both a state and federal review.

    For More Information: NEGRC's Preservation Planner, the Historic Preservation Division, or the National Park Service.

  • Certified Local Government (CLG)

    Description: Certified Local Governments (CLGs) are cities or county governments that have adopted a historic-preservation ordinance, appointed a historic-preservation commission, and require a design-review process. CLGs are established to protect historic properties either within historic districts or individually as local landmarks through a historic-preservation ordinance. Georgia's CLGs are listed here.

    Eligibility: Local Governments

    Requirements: Significant historic properties that require protection.

    For More Information: Contact the NEGRC's Preservation Planner or the State CLG Coordinator at the Historic Preservation Division (HPD).

  • Rehabilitation Tax Incentives

    Description: State and federal tax incentives and credits exist for historic property owners that rehabilitate a certified historic property with improvements that adhere to Preservation Standards & Guidelines for Rehabilitation. These programs require an application and review process prior to beginning construction work.

    Eligibility: Historic Properties and income producing properties.

    Requirements: Application and review process before starting work that requires fees.

    For More Information: Contact the NEGRC's Preservation Planner or the Historic Preservation Division

  • Environmental Review

    Description: Historic properties affected by an "undertaking" or project involving federal funds or requiring permits may be subject to an environmental review process. This process, also know as Section 106 Review, typically involves historic properties that are eligible for, or listed in, the National Register of Historic Places. The review is conducted by the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and requires submission of project information prior to beginning the activity. This information can be submitted by completing an Environmental Review Form. An informative fact sheet is also available under documents.

    Eligibility: Project using federal funding or requiring some permits

    Requirements: Submission of an HPD Environmental Review (ER) form and related project documentation. Expect a 30-day review period.

    For More Information: Contact the NEGRC's Preservation Planner or see HPD's website.

  • Building Preservation

    Description: Building Preservation is really self explanatory. It involves how to maintain, repair, and, if necessary, replace or add new architectural components. The question for many owners of historic properties is: how is it done correctly? This question is answered in many ways by various professionals, but publications are available that instruct owners on this process that follow Preservation Standards & Guidelines. Treating historic properties "sensitively" is very important and typically means their historic appearance or value will not be compromised and sustained for future generations.

    Eligibility: Public and privately owned historic properties.

    Requirements: For locally designated properties, buildings using state and/or federal grant and tax incentive programs, and projects subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended.

    For More Information: Preservation Briefs The Preservation Briefs published by the National Park Service offer guidance on a range of restoration and rehabilitation topics. The Preservation Standards Preservation Standards offer a broader perspective on acceptable treatments.

  • Historic Downtowns

    Description: Historic downtowns exists throughout the NEGRC region and are vital to our region's economy and its overall distinctiveness. Many downtowns participate in either the Mainstreet or Better Hometown Programs that provide a coordinated, four-point approach through a local manager.

    The health of historic downtowns is crucial to our local government's success and their ability to attract and support businesses. A a primary focus for the NEGRC's Government Services efforts is directed towards downtowns and assisting in a variety of community and economic development efforts.

    Eligibility: Cities with historic downtowns

    Requirements: National Register listed or eligible for listing.

    For More Information: Contact the NEGRC.
  • Preservation Non-Profits

    Description: Preservation non-profits exist on a national, state and local level. These organizations serve as advocates for historic preservation. They also provide their membership and the public with historic-preservation programs and education.

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, and local historical societies in the northeast Georgia region collectively work to promote historic preservation. Membership in these organizations helps support their efforts.

    Eligibility: Individuals insterested in historic preservations

    Requirements: Membership.

    For More Information:
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation

  • Courthouse Preservation

    Description: Twelve historic courthouses exist in northeast Georgia and all are used for judicial or governmental purposes. None of the region's courthouses have been demolished or drastically changed from their original appearance. They all provide their respective downtown's with a distinctive character.

    Courthouse Preservation involves the maintenance and repair of the buildings as well as adaptation to contemporary uses. All the historic courthouses in northeast Georgia have undergone some form of rehabilitation. For example, the Newton County Courthouse was rehabilitated recently and is reused today by the Newton County Board of Commissioners and staff as offices. In addition, the historic Jackson County Courthouse is currently (2010) undergoing rehabilitation for its new use as public facility. All of the region's courthouses provide a unique place to visit.


    Historic Jackson County Courthouse                       Historic Newton County
    in Jefferson prior to rehabilitation (2009).               Courthouse in Covington.

    Requirements: All Georgia's historic courthouses are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

    For More Information: A courthouse publication is available on the NEGRC website and several sources about Georgia's Historic Courthouses are available from the Historic Preservation Divison (HPD).

  • Cemetery Preservation

    Description: Cemetery Preservation is an area of considerable interest in northeast Georgia for many people. Cemeteries can be owned by many entities so their treatment varies widely. Nevertheless, some state laws apply to all cemeteries as well as preservation programs for their restoration and upkeep. The NEGRC's Preservation Planner can advise local governments and organizations on planning for cemetery preservation. An example of this assistance and a successfully completed project is the Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery in Athens-Clarke County. The NEGRC assisted in securing funding and coordinating the development of a cemetery Master Plan. Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery's Master Plan was later implemented using SPLOST funds.

    For more information on Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery visit their website.

    Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery prior to

    Eligibility: Cemeteries in public and private ownership.

    For More Information: Visit the Historic Preservation Division's website. Also see the Cemetery document under "Brochures."