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National Register of Historic Places

The Nation's historic places worthy of preservation.

Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archaeological resources.

Beaufort’s 304-acre historic district running from the intersection of Boundary Street and Bladen Street and extending east and south to the Beaufort River was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in December 1969 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973.

Listing on the National Register is an honor and a responsibility for the property and the property owner. Maintaining the property’s integrity through thoughtful stewardship ensures the designation is maintained. Properties designated as contributing to the Beaufort Historic District are eligible for local, state and federal tax credits through a specialized program.

What is a National Historic Landmark?

National Historic Landmarks are buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects that have been determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be nationally significant in American history and culture.

Two residential buildings in Beaufort are individually designated National Historic Landmarks:

  • The Dr. James Robert Verdier House (Marshlands), on Pinckney Street and
  • The Henry McKee-Robert Smalls House on Prince Street. 

And, The Penn Center Historic District on St. Helena Island has also been awarded designation as a National Historic Landmark.

Nationally significant properties help us understand the history of the nation and illustrate the nationwide impact of events or persons associated with the property, its architectural type or style, or information potential. A nationally significant property is of exceptional value in representing or illustrating an important theme in the history of the nation. Properties listed in the National Register are primarily of state and local significance. With a state or locally significant property, its impact is restricted to a smaller geographic area.

All National Historic Landmarks are included in the National Register of Historic Places.

National Historic Landmarks constitute more than 2,500 of more than 90,000 entries in the National Register nationally.  South Carolina currently has 1,563 National Register listings, of which there are 197 historic districts.  In addition, there are 76 designated National Historic Landmarks including 4 National Historic Landmark Districts: Charleston Historic District; Beaufort Historic District; Penn Center Historic District and the Graniteville Mill Historic District.

Differences in Listing Properties to the National Register and being designated a National Historic Landmark

The process for listing a property on the National Register is different from that for Landmark designation with different criteria and procedures used. Some properties are recommended as nationally significant when they are nominated to the National Register, but before they can be designated as National Historic Landmarks, they must be evaluated by the National Park Service’s National Historic Landmark Survey, reviewed by the National Park System Advisory Board, and recommended to the Secretary of the Interior. Some properties listed in the National Register are subsequently identified by the Survey as nationally significant; others are identified through theme studies or special studies. Both the National Historic Landmark and the National Register Programs are administered by the National Park Service under the Secretary of the Interior.