Preserving America's Rural Heritage

Rural America, which includes some 55 million people and 80 percent of the nation’s landscape, contains a diverse array of historic resources. Rural historic places include a variety of resources, like farmsteads, ranches, Main Streets, country stores, schools, churches, mill villages, bridges, scenic byways, fieldstone walls, archeological sites, and much more.

Increasingly, our rural heritage is threatened. Major economic, cultural and demographic shifts are bringing changes to rural communities, not all of them welcome. In some rural regions, shrinking agricultural, forestry, mining, and manufacturing employment is leading to population loss, neglect, and abandonment of historic structures and sites. In high growth areas near cities and resorts, new development is literally consuming the historic rural landscape. The National Trust calls attention to threatened historic sites through its annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. More than 20 rural endangered places have been included on this list since 1988. 

Barn Preservation More

Barn Again The National Trust for Historic Preservation's BARN AGAIN! Program is no longer active. However, we still maintain a number or resources on barn preservation. Learn more »

Factory Farms More
& America's Rural Heritage

Arrow Rock Farm

Factory farms are impacting the nation's historic rural landscape. Also known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), factory farms use industrial production techniques to raise thousands of animals in one location. These farms affect rural historic places in several ways. Learn more »

Rural Historic Sites

Among the 27 historic sites of the National Trust for Historic Preservation are several properties either located in rural areas or having a strong connection to our nation's rural heritage.

» Acoma Sky City
» Belle Grove Plantation
» Chesterwood
» Cooper-Molera Adobe
» Drayton Hall
» Filoli
» The Gaylord Building
» James Madison's Montpelier
» Lyndhurst
» Oatlands
» Shadows-on-the-Teche

Rural Heritage More
Pilot Programs

Arkansas Tour

The Rural Heritage Development Initiative is a multi-year project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and local partners. The purpose of this program is to demonstrate the value of heritage-based rural development through 5 main themes: Learn more »