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Historic Designation

Updated: Sep 9, 2021
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In order to be eligible for nomination to the National, State, or Local listing, an historic property must meet certain criteria. Properties that are eligible for the National Register are significant for one of the following reasons:

  • They are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
  • They are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past;or
  • They embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
  • They have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.

For more detailed information regarding a structure or property's eligibility, refer to the State Historic Preservation Office website.

For those curious or concerned about the impact of Historic Designation on their property, the Department of the Interior publishes a helpful guide entitled "My Property's Important to America's Heritage, What Does That Mean: Answers to Questions for Owners of Historic Properties".

Historic Designation offers a number of economic benefits. Properties that are listed on the National Register are eligible for certain tax credits and deductions as well as some grants. Michigan has a State Historic Preservation Tax Credit program for the rehabilitation of historic structures.
Information on this program can be found at the State's Historic Preservation website.


Historic places are nominated to the National Register by the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) of Michigan. The process for nomination is described on the SHPO website.


Michigan has its own Register of Historic Sites and an Historical Marker Program. Application for these historic makers is made through the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and is then reviewed by the Michigan Historical Commission. For more information on the process of nomination, refer to the SHPO website.


The City of Birmingham has several designated historic districts as well as individually designated resources. Resources may be added or the boundaries of historic districts changed through the adoption of an ordinance by City Commission after the review of a report and recommendation by the Historic District Commission. For a detailed description of Birmingham's historic districts and resources, refer to the Birmingham Code, Section 127.

Appeals Process

According to the National Park Service, a property cannot be formally listed in the National Register of Historic Places or designated as a National Historic Landmark if the private owner of the property, or a majority of private owners, has filed a notarized objection prior to its listing or designation.

If a property owner wishes to appeal the State or Federal decision regarding historic properties, he or she should contact the appropriate State or Federal Historic Preservation Officer.