City and Borough of Juneau
155 S. Seward Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801
tel. 907-586-5240
fax 907-586-5385

Historic Preservation in Juneau

What is the National Register of Historic Places?
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture. These contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the Nation. The National Register includes:

  • All prehistoric and historic units of the National Park System;

  • National Historic Landmarks, which are properties recognized by the Secretary of the Interior as possessing national significance; and

  • Properties significant in American, State, or local prehistory and history that have been nominated by State Historic Preservation Officers, Federal agencies, and others, and have been approved for listing by the National Park Service.

By Federal law, National Register listing assists in preserving historic properties in several ways:

  • Recognition and appreciation of historic properties and their importance;

  • Consideration in planning Federally assisted projects;

  • Making property owners eligible for Federal tax benefits;

  • Consideration in decisions to issue surface coal mining permits; and

  • Qualifying preservation projects for Federal grant assistance.

What Qualifies a Property for Listing?
Properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places possess historic significance and integrity. Significance may be found in four aspects of American history recognized by the National Register Criteria:

  • Association with historic events or activities;

  • Association with important persons;

  • Distinctive design or physical characteristics; or

  • Potential to provide important information abut prehistory or history.

A property mus meet at least one of the criteria for listing. Integrity must also be evident through historic qualities including location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.

Generally properties must be fifty years of age or more to be considered historic places. They must also be significant when evaluated in relationship to major trends of history in their community, State, or the nation. Information about historic properties and trends is organized, by theme, place, and time, into historic contexts that can be used to weigh the historic significance and integrity of a property.

Who May Prepare a National Register Nomination?
Any person or organization may prepare a National Register nomination in the form of a completed registration form. This includes property owners, public agencies, private institutions, local historical societies, local preservation commissions, local planning offices, interested members of the general public, or others.

Applicants submit completed forms to the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) in the State where the property is located. SHPOs have an important role in the nomination process. They review all documentation on the property, schedule the property for consideration by the State review board and notify property owners and public officials of the meeting and proposed nomination. The SHPO makes a case for or against eligibility at the board’s meeting, and, considering the board’s opinion, makes the final decision to nominate the property for National Register listing.

Juneau’s National Register Nomination Procedures
The procedures utilized by Community Development Department staff for a National Register nomination are as follows:

  • Identification of the Resource - This step typically involves a survey and inventory of the neighborhood or area of the historic property. Past surveys conducted by the CBJ have been funded through the Historic Preservation Fund Grant program. These matching grants are approved by the CBJ Assembly upon recommendation by the Historic Resources Advisory Committee. The survey process begins with a letter being sent by CDD to all property owners of record to advise them that a survey of the neighborhood is taking place and asking persons with historic information to contact the department so the survey is as accurate as possible. This step includes extensive research through archives, historic records, libraries, and oral histories. Photos are taken of the historic buildings and survey forms are completed which document the existing character of the individual resources.

  • Evaluation of the Resource - This step involves reviewing the research and survey information along with the current state of condition to determine historic significance and integrity of the resource. Typically the criteria for placement on the National Register is used for this step. The Historic Resources Advisory Committee reviews the research findings and if the property is believed to have historic significance and has retained its original integrity then a National Register nomination may be pursued.

  • Preparation of the National Register Nomination - In the past, preparation of a nomination to the National Register has been funded through the Historic Preservation Fund Grant program. The application for the grant and the required matching funds are approved by the CBJ Assembly upon recommendation of the Historic Resources Advisory Committee. Once it has been determined that a National Register nomination is to be prepared the property owners of record are notified by letter to explain the pending nomination and the implications of listing on the National Register. Owners, as well as the general public, are invited to attend a workshop to discuss the research findings and the National Register program. Historic property owners are given the opportunity to comment on the pending nomination and register any objections to listing if they so desire.

    The information gathered about the historic property is assembled and drafted to address the various sections of the nomination form. The historic significance, integrity and context of the property is explained along with other information about the history of the property. Existing conditions are explained relative to the original character of the property. Historic and current photos are attached along with other pertinent information.

  • Submission to SHPO - The completed nomination form with attachments is forwarded to the State Historic Preservation Officer. The SHPO reviews the nomination for completeness and may request additional information if necessary. Once it is determined that the nomination is complete the SHPO begins its review process.

SHPO Review Process
The SHPO has the responsibility to seek comments on the pending National Register nomination. The local governmental jurisdiction where the property is located is contacted to make comments. In Juneau it is the Historic Resources Advisory Committee who reviews nominations, holds a public hearing on the issue and forwards comments to the SHPO.

Letters are sent by the SHPO to all owners of record of the historic property advising them that a National Register nomination is pending and giving them the opportunity to comment. If an owner desires to object to the listing they must submit a notarized letter to the SHPO stating their objection. Owners are also notified of the date of the public meeting at which the Alaska Historical Commission will consider the nomination. The Commission reviews the nomination, considers public comments, and makes its recommendation to the SHPO.

The SHPO is charged with making the final decision whether or not to forward the nomination to the Keeper of the Register (National Park Service). Comments of the local jurisdiction, property owners, and the Alaska Historical Commission are considered by the SHPO in making this decision.

Keeper of the National Register
The Keeper of the Register makes the final decision to list the historic property which has been nominated. If historic significance and integrity have been established, the public process has been followed, and the SHPO makes a positive recommendation, then the Keeper will list the property and notify the SHPO. If a majority of the property owners object in writing to the nomination, the Keeper will make a determination of eligibility but not list the property.

CBJ Image