Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Preserve Arkansas?

Preserve Arkansas is Arkansas’s only statewide, nonprofit preservation organization. Committed to preserving and enhancing Arkansas’s communities and their diverse historic resources for the education and enjoyment of all, Preserve Arkansas is member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Partners Network.

Where is Preserve Arkansas located?

Preserve Arkansas is located in downtown North Little Rock’s Argenta Historic District, in the lovely First Presbyterian Church at 201 West Fourth Street in North Little Rock.

How can I join Preserve Arkansas?

The easiest way to become a member is to join online. You can also call 501.372.4757 or email us at info@preservearkansas.org to receive a membership form and a full list of levels and benefits.

How can I donate money to help further the mission of Preserve Arkansas?

Preserve Arkansas’s staff is happy to answer any questions you may have about general contributions or supporting specific programs or events. You can donate online here!

Can you recommend an architect/appraiser/preservation professional?

Preserve Arkansas maintains a list of design professionals who have performed architecture and design work for historic rehabilitation and tax credit projects or that have been recognized by Preserve Arkansas for excellence in preservation projects through our annual Preservation Awards program.  You will need to contact the firms directly to obtain their qualifications and portfolio information about their work on similar projects.  This list does not constitute an endorsement of any particular firm or professional.  Please contact Rachel Silva at 501-372-4757 or rsilva@preservearkansas.org for more information.

Do you have grant money available to fix up old houses and other historic buildings?

Preserve Arkansas does not have grant money available for restoration projects. However, we are happy to connect you with information about historic rehabilitation tax credits and limited grant funds available through the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP), an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Click on Preservation Services to find information on tax incentives and grants.

I’m researching a building/house and trying to locate historic photos. Do you have any old photos of the building/house?

We don’t catalog photos, but many newspapers, local historical societies or history museums do. Check with your local historical or preservation organization.

There is a historic building/house in my community scheduled for demolition. What can I do to stop it?

If you are in a crisis or emergency situation and if you live in a community with a staffed historic preservation organization, contact that office first. You may also contact Preserve Arkansas’s Executive Director, Rachel Silva, for guidance and information on preservation advocacy efforts.  You may also call the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. Either of these types of groups can offer technical assistance and support and in some situations, they may also be able to provide you with information on the significance of the property and direct you to any local preservation ordinances or laws that may protect the structure.

What is Historic Preservation?

Historic preservation is the practice of recognizing, protecting, using and appreciating our nation’s diverse cultural resources so that generations to come may benefit from them. Encompassing a wide range of resources– including houses, neighborhoods, commercial buildings, downtowns, bridges, churches, schools, archeological sites and battlefields– historic preservation is also an economic development tool that has proven to be an effective way to revitalize neighborhoods and downtowns.

What is the difference between restoration and rehabilitation?

Restoration and rehabilitation are two options available when preserving a property. During a restoration, the goal is to accurately depict the form, features and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time. To stay true to an era, features added during other periods in the structure’s history must be removed and missing features from the restoration period are reconstructed using all available evidence. Typically restoration is used only for museums. This approach often removes authentic, though not original, historic fabric and replaces it with new material that often includes guesswork on details. On the other hand, rehabilitation makes possible a modern or contemporary use through repair, alterations or additions to a historic structure. This type of project preserves the significant features of the structure, which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values and features, including historic changes. This approach is generally preferred by preservationists because it preserves historic fabric from the course of the building’s history. Because it allows for contemporary or adaptive use, it is also the most prevalent preservation treatment.

What is the National Register of Historic Places?

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 assigned the National Register of Historic Places the central role in recognizing buildings, sites, districts, structures and objects significant in national, state or local history, archeology, architecture, engineering or culture. Listing in the National Register does not guarantee full protection from demolition, but any development project using federal money or requiring a federal permit must undergo Section 106 review, required by the Historic Preservation Act, to consider the impact the project might have on nearby sites that are on or eligible for the National Register. Nominations to the National Register are submitted to and approved by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the Register is maintained by the National Park Service, but the vast majority of the buildings on the list are privately owned.

What is the difference between the National Register of Historic Places, a National Historic District and a National Historic Landmark?

These terms are often confused, but each holds a different level of significance. Individual structures are listed on the National Register, but entire neighborhoods or areas can also be designated as a National Historic District. To qualify, the area must retain architectural integrity and reflect an aspect of the area’s history. A historical overview of the entire district is needed. The purpose of the overview is to provide a basic background history of the area and to justify the significance of the district. Historic resources survey documentation is required for all proposed districts, which involves photographing and mapping all buildings in the district, recording their architectural characteristics, and assessing whether or not they contribute to the historic character of the district. For more information, contact the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) of the Arkansas Department of Heritage. The highest level of designation is a National Historic Landmark, and therefore specific criteria are used to determine a site’s eligibility. National Historic Landmarks are properties deemed significant to all Americans because of their exceptional values or qualities, which help illustrate or interpret the heritage of the United States. If a property is named a National Historic Landmark, it is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and able to obtain federal historic preservation funding, when available. Only three percent of properties on the National Register are also Landmarks and they are usually owned by private individuals or groups; others are owned by local, state, tribal or federal government agencies. For more information, visit the National Park Service Web site.

What is the difference between local landmarks or historic districts vs. the National Register of Historic Places?

A local landmark or historic district is designated under city or county ordinance that seeks to retain the character of the building or area. To receive local designation, a building or district must be historically, architecturally or culturally significant and retain most of its character. A historic preservation commission reviews and comments on projects affecting designated buildings. Under most local laws, owners of designated properties cannot demolish, move or change exterior features of the structure without permission from the preservation commission. The National Register of Historic Places is a form of recognition which makes individually listed structures eligible for federal tax incentives and provides for a review for some federal- and state-funded undertakings.

How can I find out if a building/house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places?

The National Park Service posts its National Register Information System on the Web. Here you can search by name, location, agency, subject and more.

How can I nominate a property to the National Register of Historic Places?

For information about National Register districts or listings in Arkansas, contact the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP). AHPP nominates eligible properties in Arkansas to the National Register. For more information about the National Register, visit the National Park Service’s Web site.

What is the National Historic Preservation Act?

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) was enacted due to public concern that so many of the nation’s historic resources were not receiving adequate attention as the government sponsored much-needed public works projects. The NHPA, strengthened and expanded by several subsequent amendments, is today the basis of America’s historic preservation policy.

What does “Section 106 Review” mean?

Section 106 refers to a particular part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 that requires every federal agency to take into account how each of its undertakings could affect historic properties. Section 106 Review refers to the federal review process designed to ensure that historic properties are considered during federal project planning. The review process is administered by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent agency, in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer. The council must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to comment on such projects. Any project involving federal funds is subject to Section 106 Review. It is important to note that Section 106 Review extends to properties that possess significance and are determined eligible for listing on the National Register, but have not yet been listed.

What are preservation tax incentives?

Preservation tax incentives are available for any qualified project that the Secretary of the Interior designates as a certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure. A certified historic structure is any building that is listed individually in the National Register or located in a registered historic district and certified as historically significant to the district. A certified rehabilitation is any rehabilitation of a certified historic structure that is certified as being consistent with the historic character of the property and the district in which it is located. Property owners are eligible for a 20 percent tax credit on rehabilitation costs if all criteria are met. To be eligible for tax incentives for rehabilitation, a project must meet the basic tax requirements of the Internal Revenue Codes as well as the certification requirements. Applications are processed by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and passed on with comments to the National Park Service for certification.