The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.
The Town of Greenwich has over 30 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places!
Researching a historic property for National Register nomination differs from researching a property for other purposes. Information collected must be directed at determining the property’s historical significance. When evaluating a property against National Register criteria, significance is defined as the importance of a property to the history, architecture, archeology, engineering, or culture of a community, a State, or the nation. Significance may be based on associa- tion with historical events (Criterion A); association with a significant person (Criterion B); distinctive physical characteristics of design, construction, or form (Criterion C); and potential to yield important information (Crite- rion D).
Every National Register nomination must place a property in its historic context to support that property’s significance. Historic context means information about the period, the place, and the events that created, influenced, or formed the backdrop to the historic resources. The discussion of historic context should describe the history of the community where the property is located as it relates to the history of the property.
Two other considerations affect evaluation of significance: associa- tion and period of significance. Association refers to the direct connection between the property and the area of significance for which it is nominated. For a property to be significant under historic events (Criterion A), the physical structure must have been there to “witness” the event or series of events; they must have actually occurred on the nominated property. For a property to be significant for an association with an individual (Criterion B), the individual should have lived, worked, or been on the premises during the period in which the person accomplished the activities for which the individual is considered significant. Period of significance refers to the span of time during which significant events and activities occurred. Events and associations with historic properties are finite; most properties have a clearly definable period of significance.
Lastly, a property is evaluated for its integrity: the authenticity of physi- cal characteristics from which properties obtain their significance. When properties retain historic material and form, they are able to convey their association with events, people, and designs from the past. All buildings change over time. Changes do not necessarily mean that a building is not eligible; but, if it has radical changes, it may no longer retain enough historic fabric, and may not be eligible for the National Register. Historic integrity is the composite of seven qualities: location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association.
Here are a sampling of Greenwich sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places and their applications: