Best Practices, How-Tos, and FAQs
We’re here to answer all of your burning preservation questions. If you have an inquiry that is not addressed on this page, please contact us here.
What does it mean to live in a historic district?
Where can I find financial help to restore my historic house?
What is the process for acquiring historic rehabilitation tax credits?
Where can I find more information on correct ways to repair my historic house?
How do I save a historic building from threats or demolition?
Why preservation? What are the benefits?
What is the process of getting my house listed on the state and national historic registers?
The Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places are administered by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. The process involves a two-part application. Some individuals complete the application themselves, while others hire consultants to do the nomination for them. Please see the Virginia Department of Historic Resources at http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/register.htm for more information and application forms.
How do I find information on historic highway markers?
Virginia’s historical marker program is the oldest such program in the nation. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the Virginia Department of Transportation jointly administer the program. See http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/hiway_markers/hwmarker_info.htm for more information and application forms.
How can I sell my historic house?
Listing a historic house on any of the ‘historic houses for sale’ websites is a good way to showcase your historic property for sale. The National Trust for Historic Preservation also lists historic properties for sale on their website. See http://historicrealestate.preservationnation.org/ for more information. It is recommended that if the property is listed on the state and national registers, that sellers mention this in any ads. Potential buyers are eligible for historic tax credits which can be a big incentive for many people looking to buy historic homes.
Are there any benefits to listing my house on a historic register?
The National Register is the nation’s official list of historic structures, focusing on sites and properties that are more than 50 years old. Most states have state historic registers as well. In Virginia, the state register is known as the Virginia Landmarks Register. These designations are mostly honorary, however being listed on the national and state registers is required to obtain historic rehabilitation tax credits, and is a criteria to obtain some grants. Being listed on historic registers also lends legitimacy to a historic site. Additionally, it can provide some protection from activities such as federally-funded infrastructure projects.
Do you have grants to restore tobacco barns?
Currently, the funding has run out for grants to restore historic tobacco barns. For more information on Preservation Virginia’s Tobacco Barns Program see https://preservationvirginia.org/our-work/tobacco-barn-preservation-project/. For other questions on restoring tobacco barns or agricultural buildings, please contact Sonja Ingram at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do I do if I am aware of a Rosenwald School?
If you think you know of a Rosenwald School or another historic school, please refer to Preservation Virginia’s website and the Rosenwald School survey map here: https://preservationvirginia.org/our-work/architectural-rosenwald-school-survey/. You can zoom-in on areas of the state on the map, and click on the icons to get information on each school. If you have further questions about Rosenwald Schools, please contact Sonja Ingram at email@example.com.
Where can I find information about historic cemeteries and cemetery laws?
Virginia law protects all cemeteries from willful and malicious damage. If you own a historic cemetery you are not obligated to do anything with it as long as you leave it alone. You may maintain the cemetery if you wish, or allow descendants or others to do so. Owners of historic cemeteries are also required to allow access to the cemetery for visitation and genealogical research. If you wish to move a cemetery there are requirements and permits that must be obtained. For more information and links to state cemetery laws, see http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/homepage_general/faq_cem_presv.htm.
Can citizens record cemeteries?
The Department of Historic Resources has a Citizens Cemetery Recordation Form. It can be accessed here: https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/pdf_files/Citizen_Cemetery_Form.doc. Contact DHR staff for questions and assistance.
Links to more guides and organizations:
How To Save A Building: A Grassroots Guide for Local Preservationists
Six Reasons to Save Old Buildings
Applying for Historic Designation
Federal Regulations for National Register
Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties
National Main Street Center
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
For guides and publications on Virginia history and preservation including archaeology and architecture publications, how to research your historic property, handbook guide for Virginia historic house owners, Virginia historical markers, and other related subjects, see https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/publications/.