Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society
NATIONAL REGISTER INTEGRITY STANDARDS
ASSESSMENT Of PROPOSED PIONEER
V.B. National Register Integrity Standards1
Integrity is the ability of a property to convey its significance. To be listed in the National Register of Historic Places, a property must not only be shown to be significant under the National Register criteria, but it also must have integrity. The evaluation of integrity is sometimes a subjective judgment, but it must always be grounded in an understanding of a property's physical features and how they relate to its significance.
Historic properties either retain integrity (this is, convey their significance) or they do not. Within the concept of integrity, the National Register criteria recognizes seven aspects or qualities that, in various combinations, define integrity.
To retain historic integrity a property will always possess several, and usually most, of the aspects. The retention of specific aspects of integrity is paramount for a property to convey its significance. Determining which of these aspects are most important to a particular property requires knowing why, where, and when the property is significant. The following sections define the seven aspects and explain how they combine to produce integrity.
2. Understanding the Aspects of Integrity
Location is the place where the historic property was constructed or the place where the historic event occurred. The relationship between the property and its location is often important to understanding why the property was created or why something happened. The actual location of a historic property, complemented by its setting, is particularly important in recapturing the sense of historic events and persons. Except in rare cases, the relationship between a property and its historic associations is destroyed if the property is moved. (See Criteria Consideration B in Part VII: How to Apply the Criteria Considerations, for the conditions under which a moved property can be eligible.)
Design is the combination of elements that create the form, plan, space, structure, and style of a property. It results from conscious decisions made during the original conception and planning of a property (or its significant alteration) and applies to activities as diverse as community planning, engineering, architecture, and landscape architecture. Design includes such elements as organization of space, proportion, scale, technology, ornamentation, and materials.
A property's design reflects historic functions and technologies as well as aesthetics. It includes such considerations as the structural system; massing; arrangement of spaces; pattern of fenestration; textures and colors of surface materials; type, amount, and style of ornamental detailing; and arrangement and type of plantings in a designed landscape.
Design can also apply to districts, whether they are important primarily for historic association, architectural value, information potential, or a combination thereof. For districts significant primarily for historic association or architectural value, design concerns more than just the individual buildings or structures located within the boundaries. It also applies to the way in which buildings, sites, or structures are related: for example, spatial relationships between major features; visual rhythms in a streetscape or landscape plantings; the layout and materials of walkways and roads; and the relationship of other features, such as statues, water fountains, and archeological sites.
Setting is the physical environment of a historic property. Whereas location refers to the specific place where a property was built or an event occurred, setting refers to the character of the place in which the property played its historical role. It involves how, not just where, the property is situated and its relationship to surrounding features and open space.
Setting often reflects the basic physical conditions under which a property was built and the functions it was intended to serve. In addition, the way in which a property is positioned in its environment can reflect the designer's concept of nature and aesthetic preferences.
The physical features that constitute the setting of a historic property can be either natural or manmade, including suc h elements as:
These features and their relationships should be examined not only within the exact boundaries of the property, but also between the property and its surroundings. This is particularly important for districts.
Materials are the physical elements that were combined or deposited during a particular period of time and in a particular pattern or configuration to form a historic property. The choice and combination of materials reveal the preferences of those who created the property and indicate the availability of particular types of materials and technologies. Indigenous materials are often the focus of regional building traditions and thereby help define an area's sense of time and place.
A property must retain the key exterior materials dating from the period of its historic significance. If the property has been rehabilitated, the historic materials and significant features must have been preserved. The property must also be an actual historic resource, not a recreation; a recent structure fabricated to look historic is not eligible. Likewise, a property whose historic features and materials have been lost and then reconstructed is usually not eligible. (See Criteria Consideration E in Part VII: How to Apply the Criteria Considerations for the conditions under which a reconstructed property can be eligible.)
Workmanship is the physical evidence of the crafts of a particular culture or people during any given period in history or prehistory. It is the evidence of artisans' labor and skill in constructing or altering a building, structure, object, or site. Workmanship can apply to the property as a whole or to its individual components. It can be expressed in vernacular methods of construction and plain finishes or in highly sophisticated configurations and ornamental detailing. It can be based on common traditions or innovative period techniques.
Workmanship is important because it can furnish evidence of the technology of a craft, illustrate the aesthetic principles of a historic or prehistoric period, and reveal individual, local, regional, or national applications of both technological practices and aesthetic principles. Examples of workmanship in historic buildings include tooling, carving, painting, graining, turning, and joinery. Examples of workmanship in prehistoric contexts include Paleo-Indian clovis projectile points; Archaic period beveled adzes; Hopewellian birdstone pipes; copper earspools and worked bone pendants; and Iroquoian effigy pipes.
Feeling is a property's expression of the aesthetic or historic sense of a particular period of time. It results from the presence of physical features that, taken together, convey the property's historic character. For example, a rural historic district retaining original design, materials, workmanship, and setting will relate the feeling of agricultural life in the 19th century. A grouping of prehistoric petroglyphs, unmarred by graffiti and intrusions and located on its original isolated bluff, can evoke a sense of tribal spiritual life.
Association is the direct link between an important historic event or person and a historic property. A property retains association if it is the place where the event or activity occurred and is sufficiently intact to convey that relationship to an observer. Like feeling, association requires the presence of physical features that convey a property's historic character. For example, a Revolutionary War battlefield whose natural and manmade elements have remained intact since the 18th century will retain its quality of association with the battle. Because feeling and association depend on individual perceptions, their retention alone is never sufficient to support eligibility of a property for the National Register.
3. Assessing Integrity in Properties
Integrity is based on significance: why, where, and when a property is important. Only after significance is fully established can you proceed to the issue of integrity.
The steps in assessing integrity are:
Ultimately, the question of integrity is answered by whether or not the property retains the identity for which it is significant.
b) Defining the Essential Physical Features
All properties change over time. It is not necessary for a property to retain all its historic physical features or characteristics. The property must retain, however, the essential physical features that enable it to convey its historic identity. The essential physical features are those features that define both why a property is significant (Applicable Criteria and Areas of Significance) and when it was significant (Periods of Significance). They are the features without which a property can no longer be identified as, for instance, a late 19th century dairy barn or an early 20th century commercial district.
1. How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation. Part VIII. How To Evaluate The Integrity Of A Property
© 2012 Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society