Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Historic Landmark vs Historic Places

Pueblo Grande Museum is listed as a National Historic Landmark and has held that distinction since 1964.  Originally, in 1963, it was the Park of Four Waters that was first designated a National Historic Landmark and it wasn't until 1974 that the Park of Fours Waters and the site of Pueblo Grande were combined into one National Historic Landmark. Recently, a visitor asked what was the difference between a historic landmark and a historic place. 

I guessed – wrongly – that historic spaces would be large areas of historic significance such as battlefields or other locations and buildings or structures or significant land features would be national landmarks. Yet the Orpheum Theater beside City Hall in downtown Phoenix and other structures were listed as historic places. I decided to go to the source online and check out the National Historic Places Register’s website www.nps.gov/nr.  I found that buildings, sites, structures, objects and districts may be listed as one of our Nation’s “historic places worthy of preservation.”  On the National Historic Landmark webpage www.nps.gov/history/nhl, they describe a National Historic Landmark as a national historic place of national significance “possessing exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.”  There are less than 2,500 National Historic Places designated as National Historic Monuments. Both lists are overseen by the National Park Service.

Now, the next time someones asks me what's the difference between a historic landmark and a historic place... I won't have to guess.

Posted By Dan Gronseth, Park Ranger II

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