Historic preservation

What is historic preservation?

Historic preservation applies to the protection of structures, landmarks and natural areas that have been deemed “historically significant.”

Deeper definition

Historic preservation efforts can be found on the national, state and local level. The National Park Service is responsible for many preservation programs and maintains the National Register of Historic Places. To qualify for the registry, a site must meet stringent criteria for historical significance. Properties under 50 years old usually are not allowed, but certain exceptions may be made. States keep up with these programs through their own historic preservation offices.

Once a building, landmark or parcel of land is recognized as historically significant, its owners may be eligible for federal tax deductions. In addition to tax assistance, owners of registered properties can seek funds for renovations or upkeep.

Owning a property deemed as historically significant does not obligate one to open the home or site to the general public. But federal or state guidelines may restrict the changes that can be made to the property.

Historic preservation example

Long before he became president, Donald Trump bought a 17-acre estate in Palm Beach, Florida, that is on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark. The estate, called Mar-a-Lago because it stretches from ocean to lake, was built in the 1920s by Post cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. The nomination form sent to the National Register of Historic Places sums up why the opulent estate is worthy of landmark status: “… the intricate stone sculpture, the wonderful old tiles, the general workmanship, the whole artistry could not be duplicated in the foreseeable future. It is truly one of America’s Treasures.”

The nomination form gives an extensive description of the structure and the grounds and sums up why it’s distinct: “… Mar-a-Lago exemplifies the baronial way of life adopted by the affluent society of the 1920s during the land boom that opened Florida to winter resort development.”

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