What is the National Register of Historic Places?

NRHP Plaque. Photo: Public Domain.

The National Register of Historic Places was begun in 1966 because “the historical and cultural foundations of the Nation should be preserved as a living part of our community life and development in order to give a sense of orientation to the American people.” 16 U.S.C. 470(b)(2). Through the National Preservation Act of 1966, the Department of the Interior was charged with compiling and maintaing a registry of significant American sites and places.

Each week, a new round of applications is approved. In order to be approved, an application must first be recommended by the state historic preservation office (SHPO). In Kentucky, the Kentucky Heritage Council (KHC) acts as our SHPO.

Since its inception, the KHC has conducted an ongoing Historic Resources Survey of historic places within the Commonwealth. To date, over 90,000 Kentucky locations have been surveyed. This comes as no surprise given Kentucky’s rich history.

Kentucky has also fared quite well when it comes to inclusion on the National Register. In fact, only three states (New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio) have more inclusions in the registry than the Commonwealth. The National Register includes 3,200 districts, sites, and structures with over 42,000 historic Kentucky features.

A board, the Kentucky Historic Preservation Board (KHPB), works in conjunction with the Kentucky Heritage Council to review and approve Kentucky-based applications for inclusion on the National Register. Meeting three times a year, the KHPB reviews applications for conformity with National Register guidelines.

C&O Railway Depot – Catlettsburg, Ky.

On May 17, the KHPB met at Lexington’s Spindletop Hall to approve seven applications for consideration. These locations are: Bybee House in Barren County, “Raccoon” John Smith House in Bath County, the C&O Railway Depot in Boyd County, both Spindletop Farm and Springview Farm in Fayette County, Jefferson County’s Jefferson Jacob School and Lustron House, and the Jefferson Street/Fountain Avenue District Expansion in McCracken County.

Copies of each site’s application are available from the KHC and we’ll be reviewing each individual application once included on the National Register.