The State Historical Resources Commission has designed this program for use by state and local agencies, private groups and citizens to identify, evaluate, register and protect California's historical resources. The Register is the authoritative guide to the state's significant historical and archeological resources.

The California Register program encourages public recognition and protection of resources of architectural, historical, archeological and cultural significance, identifies historical resources for state and local planning purposes, determines eligibility for state historic preservation grant funding and affords certain protections under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Note: Please feel free to contact OHP Registration Unit staff for advice and consultation regarding the components necessary to nominate a property to the California Register of Historical Resources.

Criteria for Designation

  • Associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of local or regional history or the cultural heritage of California or the United States (Criterion 1).
  • Associated with the lives of persons important to local, California or national history (Criterion 2).
  • Embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, region or method of construction or represents the work of a master or possesses high artistic values (Criterion 3).
  • Has yielded, or has the potential to yield, information important to the prehistory or history of the local area, California or the nation (Criterion 4).
  • Effects of Designation

  • Limited protection: Environmental review may be required under CEQA if property is threatened by a project. Contact your local planning agency for more information.
  • 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).
    Owner may place his or her own plaque or marker at the site of the resource.

  • Procedures for Registration

    1. Download the Nomination Packet, including the Checklist for Submission and DPR 523 forms. The Checklist outlines technical requirements for nomination documents, photos, and maps, including digital media. Only use the DPR 523 Forms that are applicable to the nominated resource (generally, one DPR 523A, one DPR 523B, and, if needed, the DPR 523L Continuation Sheet.)  If you need assistance, contact Registration Unit staff.

    2. Complete application, including all necessary supplemental forms, according to instructions. If you need assistance, contact Registration Unit staff. Note: The State of California no longer requires applicants to submit 35mm slides as part of California Register nominations. Follow the guidance in the Checklist for Submission above for modern digital photography standards.

    3. Notify the clerk of the local government in whose jurisdiction the resource is located by certified mail that an application will be filed with OHP and request that the local government provide written comments within 90 days. The notification must include a copy of the application.

    4. At the end of the 90 days, forward the completed application and any comments to OHP.

    5. OHP staff will send notification to the property owner (if the applicant is not the property owner) and ensure that the nomination packet is complete.

    6. California Register nominations will be reviewed by OHP staff.  Those that are incomplete or not prepared in accordance with instructions will be returned to applicant with a Request for Information letter explaining any revisions or edits that are needed.

    7.  When a nomination, including all revisions, is complete, it can be scheduled for a quarterly SHRC meeting. OHP notifies all applicants, property owners and appropriate governmental jurisdictions of the time and place of the SHRC meeting.

    8. If approved by the SHRC, the resource is listed in the California Register.


    Owner Consent

    Consent of owner is not required, but a resource cannot be listed over an owner’s objections. The SHRC can, however, formally determine a property eligible for the California Register if the resource owner objects.

    Local Government Notification

    Local government must be given 90 days in which to comment on the application before it is sent to OHP.