The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 authorized the NRHP as part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect historic and archeological resources. Each site must meet standard criteria through an application process. There are now over 87,000 historic sites listed. These include everything from historic buildings to other structures such as bridges, lighthouses, ships, and monuments, and even natural features. With a few exceptions, each of these qualifying sites is eligible for a waymark.
Wikipedia - National Registry of Historic Places This Wikipedia entry has an excellent overview of the Registry and its history. It is worth taking a look at to familiarize yourself with the program.
National Park Service Focus Page This is the search interface for the official database of the U. S. National Register of Historic Places maintained by the National Park Park Service. To be eligible for a waymark the site must have an individual listing in the Register. NOTE: Because this is a search engine, a direct link to an individual listing cannot be created.
NRHP Weekly Updates published by the National Park Service are available by email subscription, RSS feed and are accessible at this site. You can check here for the latest additions to the Registry that might be in your area. A DIRECT LINK TO A LISTING ON THIS SITE MAY BE USED AS THE PRIMARY WEB SITE FOR A WAYMARK.
Nationalregisterofhistoricplaces is a privately maintained database. This has been the required site for this category since the beginning, and is still the PREFERRED SITE FOR THE PRIMARY WEB SITE VARIABLE.
Among its features are an easy-to-use interface, a tab to list historic districts, and an arrangement of data fields that can easily be copied and pasted into the waymark variable fields. It is the most complete of the private databases and the most up-to-date.
Landmark Hunter is also a privately maintained database of historic and other interesting sites. Most, but not all, entries from the National Register of Historic Places are listed here. Other, non-qualifying sites, are also listed here, so be sure that the site chosen for a waymark is officially listed in the Register. This site can be used as an alternative in the primary web site variable, although the site above is preferred.
Landmark Hunter has a number of useful features including an interactive map to locate sites, links to the NRHP nomination forms when they are available, links to Wikipedia entries, and coordinates.
CREATE YOUR OWN ENTRY: When an NRHP site is not listed, one may actually create a new entry on Landmark Hunter. Just apply for an account and you can create entries, upload photos to existing entries, add new descriptions, and add a link to your waymark. All of this is entirely optional, of course, and not required to create a waymark in this category.
FindTheData is another privately maintained database that lists most, but not all, entries from the National Register of Historic Places. This site can also be used as an alternative for the primary web site variable, although the first site above is strongly preferred.
Wikipedia - United States National Register of Historic Places Listings Wikipedia also contains a comprehensive list of NRHP entries, but none of the official NRHP data is included at this site. There are, however, often photos and links to Wikipedia articles pertaining to the sites listed, so it can be a valuable resource.
Also of interest:
NRHP Historic Districts - Contributing Buildings This is a companion Waymarking category for listing individual buildings and objects within a Historic District.
Flickr NRHP Group
NRHP Facebook Page
Each site must have an individual listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Sites that are listed as “Address Withheld” will generally NOT be accepted. Usually such a designation indicates an archaeological site that needs to be protected, or a private site that where limited access has been requested. Occasionally these sites are nonetheless open to the public. In cases where it is clear that public access is not restricted, waymarks will be accepted.
Sites that are physically inaccessible because of impassible terrain, or by fences, walls, gates or other barriers to prevent access to the public, will NOT be accepted as waymarks. If you feel that there are extenuating circumstances, exceptions may be considered.
Boundary increases, although they have separate NRHP identification numbers, do NOT qualify as separate waymarks.
Although any of the sites listed above in the Resources section, or others, may be used as guides, the official NRHP listing is the ONLY authoritative validation. A listing in the Landmark Hunter site, a state historical sites, or other sites is not sufficient for qualification.
NRHP plaques may appear on buildings and structures that DO NOT have individual listings in the Register. They often appear on individual buildings within a historic district even though the buildings do not have their own individual listing. (These may have their own individual waymarks in the companion category NRHP Historic Districts - Contributing Buildings
1. PERSONAL VISIT
In order to create a waymark for this category, each site must be personally visited in order to obtain geographic coordinates, take photographs and make observations for writing a description of the historic place.
Coordinates recorded at the site must be used for the waymark. DO NOT rely on mapping programs or published coordinates, even those on Landmark Hunter.
Coordinates should be recorded as close to the actual site as possible. For buildings this generally means the main entrance or other reasonable entry point. If access is limited in some way, then a reasonable place may be selected, but please explain this in the description.
For historic districts and other sites that encompass a large geographic area, please select a logical point for coordinates and indicate the exact point of the coordinates in the description.
Each waymark should include at least TWO personally taken photos. Ideally one photo should show the entire site, where feasible, and the other should be a close-up, or show a different angle or feature. Many sites actually require more photos to represent them fully. Clear close-up photos of signs and items of identification are particularly encouraged. In the rare cases when a single photo can adequately represent the historic site, exceptions may be considered. Each waymark will be judged on its own merits.
The two description areas are the heart and soul of a waymark. The Quick Description is what people see on the front page when browsing, so a succinct line or two giving a general idea of what the historic site is will invite people to stop and take a look at the waymark.
The Detailed Description is where one provides additional historical information about the site. Usually a small amount of research will yield interesting results. Check to see if the nomination form is available from the NRHP database or another source. The web sites listed above may also give you a starting point. Of course simple web searches often yield good results. For some sites, such as individual residences or other buildings, however, information may be meager. Just do your best.
The best descriptions are summaries of information obtained from other sources. Other sources may be quoted, but try to avoid lengthy passages or just pasting entries from other web sites. When quoted material is included, it MUST be clearly indicated as quoted, usually by using quotation marks or setting it off in some other way. ALWAYS give the source of the quoted material within the description. This should include the name of the source and the URL if it is from a web site. Observe all copyright restrictions.
Personal observations are your unique contribution to the waymark! In an objective way, simply DESCRIBE the historic place. What does it look like, what are the special features, where is it located, what is its condition? These are all good questions to answer in the description area. If there are particular things to note about access to the site, parking, etc. please include these observations as well. The idea is to encourage visits to your waymark, so write anything that will help the potential visitor.
Keep in mind that this category is about HISTORY, so that should be the focus of the description.
5. VARIABLE FIELDS
This category has a lot of variable fields. They are all keyed to correspond with fields in the NRHP database listing. The best source for this information is the Nationalregisterofhistoricplaces
The waymark variables are keyed to these data fields and can be easily copied and pasted. The information should be exactly the same. The only exception is when there is an error in the data, such as in incorrect address, or where the data needs to be updated, such as a change for “Current Function” from “vacant” to whatever the new function is.
The Primary URL must be a link to the specific page of the Nationalregisterofhistoricplaces site that contains the listing for the historic site.
Only as an alternative, the link may be to an individual listing on the Landmark Hunter site. Landmark Hunter or FindTheData. (It is not possible to link directly to an individual listing in the official NRHP database).
If the listing is too new to appear in one of these databases, then link directly to the weekly newsletter containing the new listings at NRHP Weekly Updates
The Secondary Websites can be any other site, including the NRHP nomination forms, that contains information relevant to the historic site. The nomination forms should be used as the primary web site only if there is no other listing available.
6. NAMING THE WAYMARK
Each waymark must follow the naming convention that has been adopted.
The waymark name must be the full name of the site followed by a dash and the city and state. Do NOT include AKA names or ID numbers in the title. The waymark name must be exactly as it appears in the NRHP listing. In the case of houses named for people, the surname goes first. (The Landmark Hunter site does not follow this format, so be sure to check the official listing.) The following examples may be used as a guide:
Baker, Sophenia Ish, House - Medford, OR
Tavern, The - Eufaula, AL
Wilkinson-Swem Building - Medford, Oregon
7. HISTORIC DISTRICTS
There are special considerations to keep in mind when creating a waymark for a historic district. These special historic places may be comprised of just a few buildings, or hundreds of buildings and objects. They may even encompass hundreds of acres. So the object is to create a waymark that adequately represents the scope and nature of the historic district.
Multiple photos should be included. Ideally they should include one or more overviews of the district, and several of the specific buildings, structures or objects that represent the district.
A logical location for coordinates must be selected and this should be clearly indicated in the description.
Keep in mind that each qualifying building, object and structure may be individually waymarked in the companion category NRHP Historic Districts - Contributing Buildings