DHR administers two programs designed to recognize Virginia’s historic resources and to encourage their continued preservation: the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
The Virginia Landmarks Register (VLR):
Was created in 1965 by the General Assembly in the Code of Virginia;
Is the Commonwealth’s official list of places of historic, architectural, archaeological and/or cultural significance;
Is managed by staff of the Department of Historic Resources on behalf of the Virginia Board of Historic Resources;
Is designed to educate the public about the significance of listed places;
Has the same criteria and nomination process as the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Register of Historic Places
Was established in 1966 by the National Historic Preservation Act;
Is the official list of structures, sites, objects, and districts that embody the historical and cultural foundations of the United States;
Includes places of local, state, and national significance;
Is managed by the Department of Historic Resources in partnership with the National Park Service for properties in Virginia.
Permission of a majority of private property owners is required for an individually nominated property or a historic district to be listed in the VLR or the National Register. Both types of listing are treated the same under state and federal laws and regulations.
What Does Listing a Property or Historic District in the VLR or National Register Mean?
Listing in the Registers:
Is strictly honorary;
Officially recognizes the historic significance of a place, building, site, or area;
Encourages but does not require preservation of the property or historic district;
Offers limited protections to properties from potentially harmful federally- or state-funded activities;
May qualify owners for voluntary state and federal rehabilitation tax credit programs and DHR’s easement program
Listing in the Registers Does Not —
Prevent an owner from renovating or demolishing buildings;
Require an owner to restore or renovate property;
Restrict an owner’s use of the property;
Increase property values or taxes;
Regulate local governments or require creation of a local historic preservation program
Local governments have the authority to create historic preservation ordinances and historic district overlays; these and other such efforts arelocally controlled, do not involve DHR, and arenotpart of the Register process.
A Property that can be Nominated for Listing in the Registers should:
Have achieved historical significance at least 50 years prior to today and/or is of exceptional importance; and
Is associated with at least one of the following:
An important event or historic trend;
A significant person whose specific contributions to history can be identified and documented;
An important architectural or engineering design; or it represents the work of a master; or it is a distinguishable entity although its components may lack individual distinction;
Has the potential to answer important research questions about human history (most commonly these properties are archaeological sites); and
Retain physical integrity through retention of historic materials, appearance, design, and other physical features.