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 range from farmsteads and ranches to 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.