Kentucky Heritage Council
KY Historic Resources Inventory tops milestone 90,000+ buildings and sites
FRANKFORT, Ky. – A registry with detailed information about historic buildings and sites throughout the Commonwealth has now topped 90,000 entries, according to the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office. With files dating to the first statewide survey in 1971, the Kentucky Historic Resources Inventory is the primary record of Kentucky's historic places – including individual listings of houses, barns, outbuildings, commercial buildings and landscape features such as rock fences – documented through extensive research and fieldwork.
The survey form listing the 90,000th entry is for a 1½-story log residence in Bedford, in Trimble County, topped by a side-gable, wood-shingle roof and built on a cut-stone foundation, documented by Wilbur Smith Associates.
The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires state historic preservation offices to collect and maintain survey records, which are used to help identify resources for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places as well as to provide data for federal, state and local projects. The historic resources inventory documents the breadth and variety of Kentucky’s built environment and cultural resources, and the Heritage Council adds to this inventory each year by conducting ongoing surveys of communities, neighborhoods and counties.
Heritage Council staff conduct fieldwork and facilitate the survey process with the assistance of local groups, individuals and consultants. Many of the individual survey files contain multiple historic resources – ranging from houses and battlefields to agricultural and industrial complexes to entire streetscapes of commercial buildings – and cover a broad historic period, from Kentucky’s settlement period in the 18th century to the recent past. In addition to noting a site’s primary function, surveyors record construction date, architect and/or builder, stylistic influences, construction methods and materials, dimensions and major modifications. Each survey is also required to be submitted with photos documenting the surveyed resources.
“Ninety thousand documented resources is a big milestone, reflecting more than 40 years of painstaking fieldwork, research and data management with contributions from hundreds of dedicated professionals, students and amateurs. Our work, however, is far from done,” said Bill Macintire, Heritage Council survey coordinator. “Many historic sites remain undocumented, and as time passes, many more become old enough for our consideration. In recent years we have faced the challenge of decreased funding for historic sites survey, but our pace of documentation has remained pretty steady. At the current rate, we will probably hit 100,000 sites by 2014 or 2015.”
Survey files are maintained in the Heritage Council office and logged into a searchable database. Archaeology survey files of historic and prehistoric archaeological resources are recorded and maintained by the Office of State Archaeology and the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, a partnership between the Heritage Council and University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology.
The National Register is the nation’s official list of historic and archaeological resources deemed worthy of preservation. Kentucky has the fourth highest number of National Register listings in the nation – more than 3,200 districts, sites and structures encompassing more than 42,000 historic features. According to Macintire, Kentucky’s strong showing in the National Register program reflects the strength of the Commonwealth’s historic resources inventory program. Notably, sites listed in or eligible for the National Register can qualify for tax credits and other state and federal incentives for historic rehabilitation.
For more information about the survey program, forms and instructions, or examples of historic contexts, visit the Heritage Council website at www.heritage.ky.gov or contact Macintire, firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-564-7005, ext. 124.
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An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of prehistoric resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens. This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life. www.heritage.ky.gov