Arkansas Register of Historic Places
The Arkansas Register of Historic Places is a state historic preservation program created by the Arkansas legislature in Act 155 of 1993 to recognize significant Arkansas properties that are ineligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and to encourage the properties’ rehabilitation through grant programs administered by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP).
The staff of the AHPP was motivated to develop the Arkansas Register of Historic Places by the volume of applications for listing on the National Register of Historic Places for structures that were found ineligible for such things as replacement of historic windows with vinyl or aluminum substitutes, application of synthetic siding, enclosures of historic porches, and relocation to inappropriate sites. The AHPP sought creation of a state register to 1) recognize historically significant properties in Arkansas that did not meet the more stringent requirements of National Register listing, and 2) to allow the owners of those properties to apply for grants through the AHPP’s Historic Preservation Restoration Grant program if the grant-funded work would make the Arkansas Register–listed property eligible for National Register recognition.
State Representative Ernest Cunningham of Helena (Phillips County) introduced House Bill 1171 during the Seventy-ninth Arkansas General Assembly in 1993 to “create a State Register of Historic Places.” It was approved on February 17, 1993, and became Act 155 of 1993.
The criteria under which Arkansas Register properties are nominated are the same as those used in considering National Register nominations: 1) association with events of state or local historical significance, 2) association with the lives of persons of significance in the history of the state or locality, 3) representing a type, style, or period of architecture, or 4) association with important elements of Arkansas’s history or pre-history.
The Arkansas Register, however, recognizes properties that do not meet the National Register’s seven elements of historic integrity: location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. The State Historic Preservation Officer (typically the director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage) is authorized to list properties directly in the Arkansas Register on the recommendation of the AHPP’s State Review Committee for Historic Preservation, also known as the State Review Board. In contrast, National Register nominations must receive final approval through the National Park Service. In addition, Act 155 mandated that “all historic places within the state listed on or nominated to the National Register…shall be deemed to be listed in the State Register.”
With the creation of the Arkansas Register of Historic Places, the AHPP developed an “Option 1” for its Historic Preservation Restoration Grant Program, holding that “grants of up to $10,000 are available to the owners of properties that are 1) listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places and/or 2) identified as a non-contributing structure in a National Register District; if the grant project will make the property eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and the owner follows through with the National Register listing process.” Several Arkansas Register properties have been restored and then listed on the National Register.
The first properties listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places were the Herring-Hurst House at Warren (Bradley County) and Antioch Baptist Church at Sherrill (Jefferson County); they were both listed on September 7, 1994. By February 2015, 125 properties in fifty-eight counties had been listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places.
For additional information:
“Act 155 of 1993.” Arkansas State Legislature. http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/1993/R/Acts/155.pdf (accessed September 8, 2021).
Arkansas Register of Historic Places. Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/Default.aspx?PageID=15734998 (accessed September 8, 2021).
Mark K. Christ
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
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