State Preservation Laws

State governments play a key role in the preservation of historic resources.

All 50 states provide preservation services arising directly from federal preservation programs set forth under the National Historic Preservation Act, such as the nomination of properties for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, consultation with federal agencies regarding actions affecting properties listed or eligible for listing in the National Register, and review of applications for federal rehabilitation tax credits.

States also foster the protection of historic properties through their own laws and programs by maintaining state registers, preserving public buildings, protecting private properties from potentially harmful governmental actions, and adopting state laws that authorize the adoption of local preservation ordinances, easement programs, and rehabilitation tax incentive programs.

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is the key agency responsible for the identification and protection of historic and cultural resources in the United States. Because it sits at the intersection of virtually every preservation program in the United States, whether governmental or private action is involved, the SHPO is often the agency that individuals, organizations or government officials with preservation issues are most likely to encounter. 

Quick Links

Use these links to learn about key state preservation programs: