Home » Historic Preservation » Timeline


1816 – Philadelphia citizens save the Old State House (now Independence Hall) from demolition

1853-1856 – Through efforts of Ann Pamela Cunningham and others, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union forms to save George and Martha Washington’s home

1872 – The United States Federal Government designates Yellowstone National Park a federally protected area

1889 – U.S. Congress appropriates $2000 for the preservation of Casa Grande in Arizona

1890 – U.S. Congress passes legislation authorizing the preservation of American battlefields, Chickamauga Battlefield in Georgia and the Chattanooga Battlefield in Tennessee

1896 – The U.S. Supreme Court upholds U.S. vs Gettysburg Railway Company, allowing the condemnation of private property for the creation of a national memorial

1906 – U.S. Congress passes the Antiquities Act, the country’s first federal preservation legislation. The Act allows the designation of monuments on federal land and protects federally owned sites from demolition. Mesa Verde National Park established

1910 – Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now Historic New England) forms

1916 – National Park Service is established and housed within the U.S. Department of the Interior

1925 – The Vieux Carre Commission, the first historic preservation commission in the United States, is formed to protect New Orleans’ French Quarter, though it does not receive its full powers until the 1936 Louisiana State Constitution is passed

1926 – Henry Ford begins collecting historic buildings and objects at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. John D. Rockefeller Jr. begins funding the reconstruction and restoration of Williamsburg, Virginia

1931 – Charleston, South Carolina, creates the first locally designated historic district, named the “Old and Historic District”

1934 – President Franklin Roosevelt authorizes the formation of the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

1935 – U.S. Congress passes the Historic Sites Act to construct preservation policy and creates the National Historic Landmarks program

1949 – The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) forms

1966 – U.S. Congress passes the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), which creates the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), the Advisory Council of Historic Preservation (ACHP), and State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO)

1969 – Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) is established

1976 – Tax Reform Act encourages preservation and rehabilitation of older and historic structures with the creation of the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit for commercial properties, and the Historic Preservation Tax Incentive, or historic preservation easements, for historic-home residents and owners

1978 – U.S. Supreme Court upholds the decision in Penn Central Transportation Co. vs. City of New York, thus ruling in favor of New York City’s local preservation law and denying the City a permit to demolish Grand Central Terminal. U.S. Congress passes Revenue Act, establishing tax credits for the rehabilitation of historic structures.

1980 – NTHP creates the Main Street Program. NHPA is amended to include the provision for the designation of Certified Local Government (CLG) status

1981 – Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA) encourages historic building rehabilitation with a 25% tax incentive

1986 – Department of the Treasury authorizes final regulations through which the historic preservation easement donations would be allowable as charitable deductions

1988 – Federal Abandoned Shipwrecks Act encourages maritime preservation and establishes state management of significant shipwrecks

1990 – U.S. Congress passes the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)

1992 – NHPA is amended to encourage the creation of Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPO)

1998 – NTHP becomes independent from federal funding

2000 – Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) is established

2006 – U.S. Congress passes legislation that provides new incentives and safeguards for the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program (easements)

2008 – The Christman Company Building in Lansing, Michigan, becomes the first building in the U.S. to earn a double-platinum rating from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC)’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, a program first introduced in 1998

2009 – LEED 2009 and LEED-Neighborhood Development, to be introduced in 2009, incorporate new metrics that encourage the rehabilitation of existing structures

The Trust for Architectural Easements is not a chartered bank or trust company, or depository institution. It is not authorized to accept deposits or trust accounts and is not licensed or regulated by any state or federal banking authority.

1906 R Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009