The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of buildings, structures, objects, sites, and districts worthy of preservation because of their significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. The National Register recognizes resources of local, state and national significance which have been documented and evaluated according to uniform standards and criteria. 

Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect historic and archeological resources. The National Register is administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U. S. Department of the Interior.

California resources listed in the National Register, and California Historial Landmarks #770 and above, are automatically listed in the California Register. Points of Historical Interest designated after December 1997 and recommended by the State Historical Resources Commission are also listed in the California Register.

National Register Weekly List

NPS Focus National Register Database

Multiple Property Submission Contexts: Many types of properties can be nominated more simply if they are properties eligible under a Multiple Property Document. These documents identify common themes, trends and patterns of history shared by multiple properties. These documents provide a general historic context for nominations, simplifying and shortening the nomination. Properties must still be eligible for the National Register at the same level as non-MPD nominations, and use the same forms and submission guidelines. Contact staff for more information on how use Multiple Property Documents for nominations. 

National Register Multiple Property Submission Contexts

How to Nominate a California Property to the National Register

1. Download the Nomination Packet, including the National Register Checklist for Submission, National Register Bulletin 15, National Register Bulletin 16A, Nomination Form 10-900 and Continuation Sheet. For districts with multiple property owners, download the District Property Owners Excel Template  If you need assistance, contact OHP Registration Unit staff (phone numbers and emails are on the right side of this page.) Using these documents will require software capable of viewing Adobe Acrobat documents (Checklist, National Register bulletins) and editing Microsoft Word documents (Nomination Form and continuation sheets.)

2. Read the National Register Criteria (Bulletin 15), and How to Complete the National Register Registration Form (Bulletin 16A). Follow these guidelines when preparing the nomination. We strongly recommend reviewing the OHP Actions Taken page and reading several National Register nominations for examples of recently reviewed and approved nominations. If the area is proposed for registration as a historic district, please contact OHP staff prior to submission of the nomination. OHP staff is available to assist district applicants and should be contacted in the early stages of the process.

3. If you are not the owner of the property you are submitting for registration, please inform the owner of your intention to apply for registration. The property or district may not be listed over the objection of the owner or majority of private property owners. Property owner contact information must be included with the nomination cover letter. For districts, use the District Property Owners Excel Template (part of the Nomination Packet) to list all fee simple property owners within the district's boundary.

4. Submit cover letter, completed forms, photographs, digital media and maps to OHP for review. Ensure that all photographs meet the standards outlined in the NPS Photo Policy Fact Sheet, and maps meet the standards outlined in National Register Draft Electronic Map Policy Factsheet. OHP requires applicants submit an electronic copy of the nomination in Microsoft Word format. Photographs printed from digital images must be accompanied by a CD-R, DVD-R or other digital media containing the electronic images. If the property is endangered or the applicant is requesting rehabilitation incentives under the Tax Reform Act or Revenue Act of 1978, this must be stated clearly in the cover letter.

5. Nominations will be reviewed by OHP staff. Those which are inadequate or are not prepared in accordance with the guidelines published in Bulletin 16A will be returned to the applicant for further work, accompanied by a Request for Information letter or Return letter explaining what must be addressed in order to move the nomination forward.

6. Once a nomination has been reviewed and is ready for commission hearing, OHP notifies all applicants, property owners and appropriate governmental jurisdictions of the time and place of the SHRC meeting.

7. If approved by the SHRC, the nomination is sent to the State Historic Preservation Officer for nomination to the National Register. The final determination is made approximately 45 days after receipt by the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C.

National Register Criteria

To be eligible for listing in the National Register, a resource must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history (Criterion A).
  • Is associated with the lives of persons significant in our past (Criterion B).
  • Embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction, or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values, or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction (Criterion C).
  • Has yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in history or prehistory (Criterion D).  
  • Effects of National Register Designation

  • Tax incentives, in some cases, for rehabilitation of depreciable structures.
  • Tax deduction available for donation of preservation easement.
  • Local building inspector must grant code alternatives provided under State Historical Building Code.
  • Local assessor may enter into contract with property owner for property tax reduction (Mills Act).
  • Consideration in federally funded or licensed undertakings (Section 106, National Historic Preservation Act).
  • Limited Protection: Environmental review may be required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) if property is threatened by a project. Contact the local government planning agency for more information.
  • Automatic listing in California Register of Historical Resources.  Owner may place his or her own plaque or marker at the resource site.
  • Listing in the National Register may result in restrictions, such as design review, imposed locally pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) or through local zoning and land use planning regulations. Contact the local government planning agency for more information.
  • Owner Consent

    Consent of property owner(s) is not required, but properties cannot be listed over the objection of a private owner(s). Property owner contact information must be submitted with a National Register nomination as part of the cover letter.

    Local Government Notification

    Local government within whose jurisdiction the resource is located must be given 60 days in which to comment upon the application before the State Historical Resources Commission considers the nomination.