The Architectural Surveys and National Register Branch of the State Historic Preservation Office coordinates or participates in five major program areas related to the preservation of historic structures in North Carolina:
(1) the statewide historic building survey
(2) the National Register of Historic Places program
(3) Environmental Review of state and federal projects that affect historic structures
(4) Local Historic Preservation Commissions, including the Certified Local Government program
(5) public information and assistance.
The branch includes staff in Raleigh, Greenville, and Asheville.
The Statewide Historic Building Survey
For almost fifty years, the State Historic Preservation Office in the Office of Archives and History has conducted North Carolina's statewide architectural survey program. The Preservation Office sponsors and co-sponsors, assists and guides dozens of local and regional architectural surveys throughout the state--all part of the statewide program whose mission is to identify, record, and encourage the preservation of North Carolina's rich and varied historic and architectural heritage.
For each community and county, as for the state and nation as a whole, creating a photographic and written record of historic places is the first, crucial step in recognizing, valuing, and preserving the heritage of the past for the benefit of the present and the future. Each survey project provides a local base of information about community history and architecture. Ideally the surveyor and the survey serve as a prism--gathering information from many different residents and many different places, then reflecting that knowledge back to the community in a way that offers residents and others new understanding of the whole and its parts.
The National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places official list of buildings, sites, objects, and districts that warrant special preservation consideration in public planning. The National Register Coordinator and other staff edit and process an average of sixty National Register nominations annually, most of which are prepared by private consultants engaged by local governments, private institutions, or private property owners. North Carolina now has over 2,900 listings in the National Register, of which over 540 are historic districts that may encompass hundreds of historic buildings.
Additional Program Areas
Staff participates in the Environmental Review program and reviews more than 3,000 state and federal undertakings annually to assess their impacts on historic resources and to initiate mitigation procedures when a public action affects historic properties.
North Carolina has over 100 Historic Preservation Commissions established by local governments under state enabling legislation to designate and monitor historic properties locally. Staff assists the Preservation Commission Services/Certified Local Government Coordinator in helping local governments in establish preservation commissions, advising commissions on operations and procedures required by law, reviewing local landmark and designation reports, and administering the state Certified Local Government.
All staff members respond to public inquiries concerning historic properties in North Carolina and several offer lectures on historic preservation and architectural history topics.