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National Historic Landmark

The American Legation in Tangiers, Morocco, was the rst National Historic Landmark on foreign soil.

USS Constitution

Navajo Nation Council Chamber, the seat of government for the

Navajo Nation, Window Rock, Arizona.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin is a National Historic Landmark

A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building,

site, structure, or object that is ocially recognized by
the United States government for its outstanding degree
of historical signicance. Out of over 85,000 places that
have been listed on the countrys National Register of
Historic Places only about 2,500 are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.
A National Historic Landmark District (NHLD) is a
historic district that has received similar recognition. The Mohonk Mountain House, a resort hotel on Shawangunk Ridge;
district may include contributing properties that are build- site of 18951916 conference that led to establishment of
ings, structures, sites or objects, and it may include non- Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague
contributing properties. Contributing properties may or
may not also be separately listed.


National Historic Landmark plaque on the Little White Schoolhouse, Ripon, Wisconsin

Creation of the National Historic

Landmark program

Prior to 1935, eorts to preserve cultural heritage of national importance were made by piecemeal eorts of the
United States Congress. In 1935 Congress passed the
Historic Sites Act, which authorized the Interior Secretary authority to formally record and organize historic
properties, and to designate properties as having national
historical signicance, and gave the National Park Service authority to administer historically signicant federally owned properties.[1] Over the following decades
surveys such as the Historic American Buildings Survey
amassed information about culturally and architecturally
signicant properties in a program known as the Historic
Sites Survey.[2] Most of the designations made under this
legislation became National Historic Sites, although the
very rst designation, made December 20, 1935, was for
the Jeerson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis,
Missouri. The rst National Historic Site designation was
made for the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on
March 17, 1938.[3]

The Chicago Board of Trade Building located in Chicago, Illinois

is an iconic landmark in Chicago and the United States

tion: the Sergeant Floyd Grave and Monument in Sioux

City, Iowa was ocially designated on June 30 of that
year, but for various reasons, the public announcement
of the rst several NHLs was delayed.

In 1960 the National Park Service took on the administration of the survey data gathered under this legislation,
and the National Historic Landmark program began to 2 Criteria
take more formal shape.[4] When the National Register
of Historic Places was established in 1966, the National NHLs are designated by the United States Secretary of
Historic Landmark program was encompassed within it, the Interior because they are:
and rules and procedures for inclusion and designation
were formalized. Because listings (either on the National
Sites where events of national historical signicance
Register, or as an NHL) often triggered local preservation
laws, legislation in 1980 amended the listing procedures
to require owner agreement to the designations.[5]
Places where prominent persons lived or worked;
On October 9, 1960, 92 properties were announced as
designated NHLs by Secretary of the Interior Fred Andrew Seaton. The rst of these was a political nomina-

Icons of ideals that shaped the nation;

Outstanding examples of design or construction;

Places characterizing a way of life; or
Archeological sites able to yield information.

Overview of current NHLs

More than 2,500 NHLs have been designated. Most, but

not all, are in the United States.
There are NHLs in all 50 states and the District of
Columbia. Three states (Pennsylvania, Massachusetts,
and New York) account for nearly 25 percent of the nations NHLs. Three cities within these states (Boston,
Philadelphia, and New York City) all separately have
more NHLs than 40 of the 50 states. In fact, New
York City alone has more NHLs than all but ve states:
Virginia, California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and
New York (the latter of which has the most NHLs of
all 50 states). There are 74 NHLs in the District of

6 References
[1] Robinson, Nicholas. Environmental Regulation of Real
Property, Volume 1. New York: Law Journal Press, 1982.
pp. 6:2223.
[2] Lee, Antoinette Josephine. The American Mosaic: Preserving a Nations Heritage. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-8143-2719-7. p. 7
[3] McDonnell, Janet; Mackintosh, Barry. The National
Parks: Shaping the System. Washington, DC: Government
Printing Oce, 2005. ISBN 978-0-912627-73-1. p. 52
[4] Frank, Karolin; Petersen, Patricia. Historic Preservation
in the USA. Berlin: Springer, 2002. ISBN 978-3-54041735-4. p. 66
[5] Robinson, p. 6:24
[6] National Park Service (November 2007). National Historic Landmarks Survey: List of National Historic Landmarks by State (PDF). Retrieved 2008-07-01.

Some NHLs are in U.S. commonwealths and territories,

associated states, and foreign states. There are 15 in
Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and other U.S. commonwealths and territories; 5 in U.S.-associated states such as
Micronesia; and 1 in Morocco.[6][7]

[7] The counts and locations of NHLs are described most accurately in List of National Historic Landmarks by state.
This extends, and corrects errors from, the National Park
Services National Historic Landmarks Survey List of
National Historic Landmarks by State, also referenced.

Over 100 ships or shipwrecks have been designated as


[8] National Historic Landmarks Update, National Park Service, October 2004


About half of the National Historic Landmarks are

privately owned.[8] The National Historic Landmarks
Program relies on suggestions for new designations from
the National Park Service, which also assists in maintaining the landmarks. A friends group of owners and managers, the National Historic Landmark Stewards Association, works to preserve, protect and promote National
Historic Landmarks.
If not already listed on the National Register of Historic
Places, an NHL is automatically added to the Register
upon designation. About three percent of Register listings
are NHLs.[9]

See also
American Water Landmark
List of National Historic Landmarks by state
List of National Register of Historic Places entries
Listed building, a similar designation in the UK
National Natural Landmark
United States Memorials

[9] Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 65.

US Government Printing Oce. Retrieved 2008-04-05.

7 External links
Ocial National Historic Landmarks Program website
A History of the NHL Program
List of National Historic Landmarks
National Historic Landmarks: Archaeological Properties


Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



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