When Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) 50 years ago, it affirmed historic preservation’s importance to the United States’ cultural, environmental, and economic well-being. The passing of the NHPA also formed an official framework for what had previously been a largely informal activity, taken up in grassroots efforts like those seen in Charleston in the 1920s and 1930s. The NHPA charged the Secretary of the Interior (SOI) with establishing professional standards for preserving historic properties and created the Section 106 process, among other programs.
Every profession has its jargon, and from the NHPA comes a complexity of terminology, which can, at times, make historic preservation and its processes inaccessible. With May being Preservation Month, let’s clarify some of the ambiguous aspects of preservation parlance. Continue reading