Is there a difference between “National Register” and “Local Register” designation of historic properties?

A reader posed the question: "Peter, is there a difference between “National Register” and “Local Register” designation of historic properties?

And Peter answered: "Yes! National and Local Listing of Historic Properties differ, and it is an important distinction! "

Listing a historic property in either the National Register or the Local Register encourages its reuse and preservation, and notes the property as an important touchstone of our national or local community’s shared heritage. But there are significant differences to the effects of national and local listing. This is primarily because national listing, unlike local listing, does not include regulatory review for alterations and demolitions of the listed property (unless a federally funded or permitted project like an interstate highway expansion is involved.)

The National Register of Historic Places, established in 1966, is overseen by the National Park Service. The National Register includes more than 95,000 properties that have been listed for their significance in American history, architecture, art, archeology, engineering, and culture.  In St. Petersburg, 23 individual properties and 5 historic districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

For most homeowners, National Register listing for their home has little impact other than offering honorary recognition of the historic, archaeological or cultural significance of the property. In St. Petersburg, a National Register property which is not also locally listed, may be demolished without review just as any other non-historic property. To discourage demolition of a listed property, National Register listing allows a significant portion of the historic building’s renovation costs to be returned to the owner or developer in the form of a tax credit, but only for income producing properties . In Florida, between 2002 and 2015, there were 163 Historic Tax Credit projects completed, resulting in the creation of more than 15,000 jobs and in excess of 1 billion dollars spent in development costs.

Like the majority of local governments, St. Petersburg has adopted a local historic preservation ordinance. It provides for creation of a local historic preservation commission, a local listing (landmark) process for individual properties and districts, and a review process for proposed exterior alterations or demolition of listed buildings. City Council renders the final decision on landmark applications.  The city made its first local designation in 1986; today, the city has nearly 120 individually listed properties and ten historic districts.

To find which properties in St. Petersburg are either listed locally or on the National Register, check out the city’s historic preservation map (hint, be sure to use the “layer list” tool at the top of the map). Go to:

To find out more about the National Register, go to:

To find out more about the St. Petersburg Register of historic properties, go to:

To find out more about the process for creating local historic districts, go to:

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