Documentation is an important step in preservation efforts. It is a valuable tool in cataloging historic resources and aids in successful and sustainable preservation efforts.
National Register Nominations
The National Register of Historic Places is the federal government's official list of America's districts, sites, buildings, and objects worthy of preservation. The National Register is an important tool in the identification and inventory of the nation's historic resources. There are currently more than 80,000 properties listed on the National Register.
While listing a property on the National Register does not impose any restrictions on what an owner may do to his or her property, listed status may provide owners with access to financial resources, such as tax credits, for a future restoration or rehabilitation project. The Center for Historic Preservation has completed several National Register nominations for Indiana historic districts and structures, ranging from nominations for historic downtowns and neighborhoods to individual bridges and buildings.
Historic Structure Reports
Historic Structure Reports (HSRs) are essential documents for planning a rehabilitation or restoration project. They provide key base information, especially important if the historic appearance is unknown, missing elements will be reconstructed, later additions will be removed, or the historic fabric will be modified. According to the National Park Service, a Historic Structure Report (HSR), "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." The Center for Historic Preservation is able to assist in all steps of an HSR.
HSRs contain thoroughly researched:
- condition assessments
- structural analysis
- architectural descriptions
- measured drawings
Working with the State of Indiana, Department of National Resources, and the Division of State Museum and Historic Sites, the Center for Historic Preservation has completed HSRs in communities across the state, including New Harmony, Corydon, Metamora, and Madison. The work details a wide scope of many different types of structures from houses and government and commercial buildings to canals and historic sites.
Documenting historic resources is important to the continued successful use of the resource. Measured drawings are important documents that are added to the archives at the Library of Congress for future reference and can be useful in determining a building’s use or structural condition at a given period in time. From important resources in popular and scholastic publications to being used for interpretive purposes at historic sites, measured drawings are invaluable to preservation efforts. The Center for Historic Preservation has the available resources and knowledge base to successfully complete measured drawings for historic resources.
Photography is an important documentation tool when dealing with historic resources. Photographs of a building during its early life prove useful when determining what efforts need to be taken during rehabilitation and reconstruction; likewise, photographs we take today help document the state of a building at an exact time in history, which can help in future preservation efforts.
Historic Resource Surveys
The goal of a historic resource survey is to identify important historic resources in a community using a certain set of criteria, evaluation methods, and classification standards. The ultimate purpose of the survey is to catalog historic resources so that other avenues of preservation can be pursued if need be.
Historic resource surveys serve as a foundation for preservation planning. Surveys document a community's historic resources, taking note of each resource's age, condition, architectural style, and much more. The Center for Historic Preservation understands that a successful community preservation plan needs to start at the most basic level and strives to understand each individual community through its historic resources.