National Register Districts

National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the American cultural resources worthy of preservation. 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 our historic and archeological resources.

Types of Places
Properties listed in the National Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that are significant in American:
  • Archeology
  • Architecture
  • Culture
  • Engineering
  • History
The Josiah Smith Tavern is located on the National Register as part of the Boston Post Road Historic
These resources contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the nation.The Massachusetts Historical Commission administers the National Register program in Massachusetts.

National Register District and a Local Historic District Differences
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of buildings, sites or areas worthy of preservation. Listing does not restrict what the property owner may do with the property unless the owner is using federal assistance, like federal rehabilitation tax credits.

A local historic district is a district designated by a local ordinance, which falls under the jurisdiction of an appointed citizen-board called a Historic Preservation Commission. It provides communities with the means to make sure that growth, development, and change take place in ways that respect the important architectural, historical, and environmental characteristics.

More Information
The brochure There’s a Difference (PDF) distributed by the Massachusetts Historical Commission, offers a more detailed explanation of the difference between a National Register District and a Local Historic District.