LOCAL AND REGIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
Many localities and other organizations mark historic places with plaques or spots on their registeries. For example, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution has a plaque at the Weems-Botts House in Dumfries. The Friends of Libraries U.S.A. organization recognized the Anne Spencer House with a plaque, as did the City of Lynchburg, and the National Park Service converted the Booker T. Washington birthplace into a National Monument.
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States' "official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation,"9 and was authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
Applicants submitting nominations for the Virginia Landmarks Register are automatically processed for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, which is handled by the Department of the Interior's National Park Service. In 1966, passage of the National Historic Preservation Act placed responsibility on the state to nominate properties of local or regional significance through a State Historic Preservation Officer. The National Register lists the following as qualifying factors for listing:
That "the quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, and:
- That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
- That are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past;
- That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguisable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
- That have yielded or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history."10
To be considered "historic," a site should be at least 50 years old. In order to nominate a site for inclusion on the National Register, citizens must operate through the State Historic Preservation Officer. Virginians do this while applying for a spot on the Virginia Landmarks Register.
There are over 77,000 listings on the National Register of Historic Places, which includes all historic areas in the National Park Service as well as 2,300 properties designated as National Historic Landmarks. For further information, visit the National Register for Historic Places website.
NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARKS PROGRAM
Sites designated as National Historic Landmarks are marked as such because they "possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States." National Park Service staff members nominate new sites for inclusion and the Secretary of the Interior, acting on the recommendation of an Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings, and Monuments, can declare a site a National Historic Landmark. Virginia counts approximately 117 of its historic sites as National Historic Landmarks, including the follow literary sites, organized by location:
Monticello, Albemarle County
Saratoga, Clarke County
Mount Vernon, Fairfax County
Booker T. Washington National Monument, Franklin County
Ripshin, Grayson County
Montpelier, Orange County
Ellen Glasgow House, City of Richmond
Spence's Point, Westmoreland County
Also included on the list is the University of Virginia Historic District, which contains the Edgar Allan Poe room on its West Range.
WORLD HERITAGE LIST
Even more selective is the World Heritage List, maintain by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), which recognizes sites with "outstanding universal value." Countries submit nominations to UNESCO for consideration. For more information, visit the UNESCO World Heritage List site. The United States has 20 sites on the list, including one in Virginia, "Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville," which was added in 1987.