Los Angeles Department of City Planning

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Federal and State Designation Programs


National Register of Historic Places

The National Historic Preservation Act, enacted in 1966, established the National Register of Historic Places program under the Secretary of the Interior. The program is maintained by the Keeper of the Register, within the National Parks Service (hyperlink). The National Register is the nation’s official list of historic districts, sites, buildings, and objects.

The National Register established four criteria to evaluate significance and eligibility for listing. They are:

  1. Property is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history.
  2. Property is associated with the lives of persons significant in our past.
  3. Property embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values, or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components lack individual distinction.
  4. Property has yielded, or is likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.
The National Register program also includes National Historic Landmarks, which are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. The City of Los Angeles’ National Historic Landmarks are the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Watts Towers, Hollyhock House, Angelus Temple in Echo Park, the Ralph J. Scott Fireboat and the SS Lane Victory in San Pedro, the Little Tokyo First Street Historic District, the Bradbury Building, Baldwin Hills Village (Village Green), and the Eames House in Pacific Palisades (Case Study House #8).


The California Register of Historical Resources program is administered by the State Office of Historic Preservation and the State Historical Resources Commission (hyperlink to OHP web site). Since 1997, the California Register has included properties previously designated under two other long-established State designation programs: the California Historic Landmark and California Points of Historical Interest programs.

California Register of Historical Resources

The California Register is the State’s authoritative guide to California’s significant historical and archaeological resources. The California Register encourages recognition and protection of significant resources, determines eligibility for state historic preservation grant funding, and affords certain protections under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The California Register criteria are very similar to those used by the National Register program. Properties may be eligible if they are:

  1. associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of local or regional history or the cultural heritage of California or the United States;
  2. associated with the lives of persons important to local, California or national history;
  3. embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, region, or method of construction or represent the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values;
  4. has yielded, or has the potential to yield, information important to the prehistory or history of the local area, California, or the nation.
Resources listed in the National Register are automatically placed on the California Register.

California Historical Landmark

Properties eligible for designation as California Historical Landmarks must demonstrate statewide significance to California. The criteria for listing as a State Historical Landmark are that a resource should be:

  • the first, last, only, or most significant of its type in the state or within a large geographic region (Northern, Central, or Southern California)
  • associated with an individual or group having a profound influence on the history of California
  • a prototype of, or an outstanding example of, a period, style, architectural movement or construction, or is one of the more notable works or the best surviving work in a region of a pioneer architect, designer, or master builder

California Point of Historical Interest

State Points of Historical Interest represent historic resources within California that are of local interest. The criteria governing the designation of Points are the same as those used in the California Historical Landmarks program, but with local (city or county) emphasis. A historical resource may not be designated as both a Landmark and a Point.