Historic Preservation Information

Historic Tax Credits

The Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit (RITC) Program is a government sponsored tax incentive program that covers historic and non-historic structures.

Historic Tax Credit Program

The Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit (RITC) Program is the most widely used incentive program for historic preservation in the United States. The current tax incentives were established by the Tax Reform Act of 1986. They allow a 20% tax credit for the certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure and a 10% tax credit for the rehabilitation of non-historic, non-residential buildings built before 1936. To be eligible for the 20% Tax Credit:

  • The building must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places either individually or as a contributing building within a district, or be a contributing building to a Local Certified District.
  • It must be used for income producing purposes.
  • The rehabilitation work itself must be undertaken according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
  • The project must meet the “substantial rehabilitation test.” This test is where the amount of the money to be spent on the rehabilitation is greater that the adjusted basis of the buildings or at least $5,000.
  • Generally, projects must be finished within a 24-month period.

In Pennsylvania, two government agencies review all RITC projects. They are the Bureau for Historic Preservation of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the National Park Service.

For more information about the RITC program or if your project qualifies, use this link http://www.nps.gov/tps/tax-incentives.htm or contact Historic York, Inc.

National Register of Historic Places

Read about the criteria for nominations to the National Register of Historic Places that guides our state and federal officials.

National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places was created in 1966 as part of the National Historic Preservation Act. This is the official list of historic properties recognized by the Federal Government as worthy of preservation for their significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, or culture.

In reviewing nominations to the National Register, state and federal officials are guided by the following criteria: The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association and:

• that are associated with events that have made significant contributions to the broad pattern of our history; or

• that are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or

• that embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that may represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or

• that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important to prehistory or history.

Many nominations are initiated by concerned citizens or homeowners who wish to see their buildings preserved as being valuable pieces of history. The first step in listing a property on the National Register is to determine eligibility, where the property’s significance is evaluated using the above criteria. If the property is determined eligible, a formal nomination can begin.

For additional information on the National Register of Historic Places uses this link http://www.nps.gov/nr/, or contact Historic York, Inc.

Secretary of the Interior’s Standards

A list of the standards of rehabilitation that allows for changes to a building to adapt to its new function.

Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation

1. The basic purpose of the Standards is to maintain the primary character-defining elements of a property. They generally do not require the restoration of missing elements; rather, they are designed to allow for changes that are needed to adapt a building to a new function.

2. A property will be used as it was historically or be given a new use that requires minimal change to its distinctive materials, features, spaces and spatial relationships.

3. The historic character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of historic materials or alteration of features and spaces that characterize property will be avoided.

4. Each property shall be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings will not be undertaken.

5. Changes to a property that have acquired historic significance in their own right will be retained and preserved.

6. Distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a historic property will be preserved.

7. Deteriorated historic features will be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature will match the old in design, color, texture, and other visual qualities and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary and physical evidence.

8. Chemical or physical treatments, if appropriate, will be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. Treatments that cause damage to historic materials will not be used.

9. Archeological resources will be protected and preserved in place. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures will be undertaken.

10. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction will not destroy historic materials, features and spatial relationships that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and will be compatible with historic materials, features, size, scale, proportion, and massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment.

11. New additions and adjacent or related new construction will be undertaken in such a manner that, if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.


Preservation Briefs

Preservation Briefs are a product from the National Park Service and provide guidance on preserving, rehabilitating and restoring historic buildings. Please note that the web versions of the Preservation Briefs differ somewhat from the printed versions. Many illustrations are new, captions are simplified, illustrations are typically in color rather than black and white, and some complex charts have been omitted.

Hard copies of the Briefs may be purchased from the Government Printing Office. The following link will take you to the main Preservation Page where the 47 Preservation Briefs are listed. The Preservation Briefs can be downloaded from these links. You can also order the Preservation Briefs from the U.S. Government Printing Office Online Bookstore.


01: Assessing Cleaning and Water-Repellent Treatments for Historic Masonry Buildings

02: Repointing Mortar Joints in Historic Masonry Buildings

03: Conserving Energy in Historic Buildings

04: Roofing for Historic Building

05: The Preservation of Historic Adobe Buildings

06: Dangers of Abrasive Cleaning to Historic Buildings

07: The Preservation of Historic Glazed Architectural Terra-Cotta

08: Aluminum and Vinyl Siding on Historic Buildings: The Appropriateness of Substitute Materials for Resurfacing Historic Wood Frame Buildings

09: The Repair of Historic Wooden Windows

10: Exterior Paint Problems on Historic Woodwork

11: Rehabilitating Historic Storefronts

12: The Preservation of Historic Pigmented Structural Glass (Vitrolite and Carrara Glass)

13: The Repair and Thermal Upgrading of Historic Steel Windows

14: New Exterior Additions to Historic Buildings: Preservation Concerns

15: Preservation of Historic Concrete

16: The Use of Substitute Materials on Historic Building Exteriors

17: Architectural Character – Identifying the Visual Aspects of Historic Buildings as an Aid to Preserving Their Character

18: Rehabilitating Interiors in Historic Buildings – Identifying Character-Defining Elements

19: The Repair and Replacement of Historic Wooden Shingle Roofs

20: The Preservation of Historic Barns

21: Repairing Historic Flat Plaster – Walls and Ceilings

22: The Preservation and Repair of Historic Stucco

23: Preserving Historic Ornamental Plaster

24: Heating, Ventilating, and Cooling Historic Buildings: Problems and Recommended Approaches

25: The Preservation of Historic Signs

26: The Preservation and Repair of Historic Log Buildings

27: The Maintenance and Repair of Architectural Cast Iron

28: Painting Historic Interiors

29: The Repair, Replacement, and Maintenance of Historic Slate Roofs

30: The Preservation and Repair of Historic Clay Tile Roofs

31: Mothballing Historic Buildings

32: Making Historic Properties Accessible

33: The Preservation and Repair of Historic Stained and Leaded Glass

34: Applied Decoration for Historic Interiors: Preserving Historic Composition Ornament

35: Understanding Old Buildings: The Process of Architectural Investigation

36: Protecting Cultural Landscapes: Planning, Treatment and Management of Historic Landscapes

37: Appropriate Methods of Reducing Lead-Paint Hazards in Historic Housing

38: Removing Graffiti from Historic Masonry

39: Holding the Line: Controlling Unwanted Moisture in Historic Buildings

40: Preserving Historic Ceramic Tile Floors

41: The Seismic Retrofit of Historic Buildings: Keeping Preservation in the Forefront

42: The Maintenance, Repair and Replacement of Historic Cast Stone

43: The Preparation and Use of Historic Structure Reports

44: The Use of Awnings on Historic Buildings: Repair, Replacement and New Design

45: Preserving Historic Wooden Porches

46: The Preservation and Reuse of Historic Gas Stations

47: Maintaining the Exterior of Small and Medium Size Historic Buildings


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