National Register

Samuel Clarke Farm, Richmond
Listed in the National Register in 2019, the Samuel Clarke Farm in Richmond includes a farmhouse, wagon shed, and corn crib.

The National Register of Historic Places is the federal government’s official list of properties that are significant in American history and worthy of preservation. Properties listed in the National Register include individual buildings, structures, sites, and objects, as well as historic districts that contain multiple properties. Among Rhode Island’s more than 17,500 National Register-listed properties, you will find colonial houses, farms, archaeological sites, landscapes, factory villages, diners, monuments, military bases, seacoast villages, suburban neighborhoods, and more.

To be eligible for listing in the National Register, a property must have integrity (i.e., convey an accurate and authentic sense of its past) and must be significant in the history of the nation, the state, or the local community, as demonstrated by meeting at least one of four criteria:

  1. it is associated with historically important events or activities
  2. it has a close association with a significant person
  3. it embodies distinct design characteristics, whether high-style or vernacular
  4. it has the potential to provide new information about our past

Ordinarily, cemeteries, birthplaces or graves of historical figures, properties owned by religious institutions or used for religious purposes, buildings that have been moved, commemorative properties, and properties that are less than 50 years old are not eligible for the National Register, though exceptions may be made.

Nomination to and listing of properties in the National Register of Historic Places is a multi-step process. Listing in the National Register is a great honor, and it enables owners of listed properties to apply for financial assistance for preservation projects. Owners may also consult with RIHPHC staff for guidance and technical assistance on protecting and preserving historic places.

National Register listing does not protect a property from being altered or demolished. The listing provides protection only when a project involves federal or state funding, licenses, or permits. Such projects are reviewed by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission to assess their impact on historic properties. Local historic district zoning, which is enacted by individual cities and towns, offers additional protection.