Literary Markers Dissecting a Marker How a Site Gets a Marker Historical Highway Markers HOW A SITE GETS A MARKER
The Virginia Department of Historic Resources evaluates applications for historical highway markers, which have a goal of commemorating “facts, persons, events, and places prominently identified with the history of the nation, state, or region."7 Proposed markers must meet several criteria in order to be considered:

  • Living persons cannot be commemorated by a marker.
  • The event in question must have happened at least 50 years ago unless it is of “extraordinary historical significance.” For instance, the DHR erected a marker commemorating Hurricane Camille in Nelson County in 1972, a few years after the 1969 storm.
  • Markers will remain consistent in the shape and size currently in use.
  • Markers must be erected in safe locations close to the place being commemorated.

The basic procedure for getting a historical highway marker to commemorate a site is as follows:

  • Compose a well-written and researched approximately 100-word text. Submit the topic to the Department of Historic Resources at 2801 Kensington Avenue; Richmond, VA 23221. Include in the cover letter information about the sponsor of the marker as well as detailed bibliographical research supporting the marker's claims. Since 1976, historical highway markers are privately funded. The cost currently is $1,225.
  • Be sure to suggest a safe marker location on public land. Markers are to be placed roadside but NOT on interstates. The Virginia Department of Transportation will make the final decision regarding marker placement.
  • The DHR's Board of Historic Resources approves new markers at its meetings in March, June, September and December. In order to be considered for these meetings, marker applications should be received by the DHR by the following dates for the:

               March meeting: December 15
               June meeting: March 15
               September meeting: June 15
               December meeting: September 1

  • Remember that the DHR is going to edit and research the submitted text and it reserves the right to edit text.
  • A review committee will evaluate the text before sending it to the Board and the committee will consult with the marker's sponsor if it suggests any substantial changes. If the Board approves the marker, the DHR will copy the sponsor with the final text and coordinate a meeting between VDOT and the sponsor to review the marker location.
  • The sponsor will be billed by the makers of the marker upon its shipment to the appropriate district VDOT office.
  • The Commonwealth of Virginia retains property rights over the marker and sponsor names will not be included on the marker.
  • Should the sponsor wish to have an unveiling ceremony, inform the DHR so that it can ensure to have the marker delivered on time. Sponsors can also request for a DHR representative to speak at an unveiling.
  • For further information, including marker writing style and criteria for a marker location, please visit the DHR website or contact the office via telephone at 804-367-2323.

Historical Highway Markers Disseting a Marker


This site was created by Emily Kane as part of the University of Virginia's American Studies program.
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