Integrity is the ability of a property to convey its significance.

To be listed in the National Register of Historic Places, a property must not only be shown to be significant under the National Register criteria, but it also must have integrity. The evaluation of integrity is sometimes a subjective judgment, but it must always be grounded in an understanding of a property’s physical features and how they relate to its significance.

Historic properties either retain integrity (this is, convey their significance) or they do not. Within the concept of integrity, the National Register criteria recognizes seven aspects or qualities that, in various combinations, define integrity.

To retain historic integrity a property will always possess several, and usually most, of the aspects. The retention of specific aspects of integrity is paramount for a property to convey its significance. Determining which of these aspects are most important to a particular property requires knowing why, where, and when the property is significant. The following sections define the seven aspects and explain how they combine to produce integrity.


Seven Aspects of Integrity

Location is the place where the historic property was constructed or the place where the historic event occurred.

Setting is the physical environment of a historic property.

Design is the combination of elements that create the form, plan, space, structure, and style of a property.

Materials are the physical elements that were combined or deposited during a particular period of time and in a particular pattern or configuration to form a historic property.

Workmanship is the physical evidence of the crafts of a particular culture or people during any given period in history or prehistory.

Feeling is a property’s expression of the aesthetic or historic sense of a particular period of time.

Association is the direct link between an important historic event or person and a historic property.


(National Register Bulletin 15)

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