The Georgia Trust

FAQ

 

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What is The Georgia Trust?
Founded in 1973, The Georgia Trust is the one of the country’s largest statewide, nonprofit preservation organization. Committed to preserving and enhancing Georgia’s communities and their diverse historic resources for the education and enjoyment of all, The Georgia Trust generates community revitalization by finding buyers for endangered properties acquired by its Revolving Fund, provides design assistance to 102 designated Main Street cities and downtowns and encourages neighborhood revitalization; trains Georgia’s teachers to engage students in 63 Georgia counties to discover national and state history through their local historic resources; advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation efforts; and administers two historic house museums. The Georgia Trust is a recipient of the Trustees Award for Organizational Excellence from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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Where is The Georgia Trust located?
The Trust’s headquarters are in Rhodes Hall in Midtown Atlanta. (Directions) Rhodes Hall is owned by the State of Georgia and operated by The Georgia Trust. The Trust owns and operates another house museum—Hay House in Macon. Through partnerships with preservation organizations around the state, the Trust is able to stay abreast of preservation activities statewide.

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How can I join The Georgia Trust?
You can join online or call 404-885-7805 to receive a membership brochure.

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How can I donate money to help further the mission of the Trust?
The Trust’s development office is happy to answer any questions you may have about donating to the Trust. Please call 404-885-7803 and speak to Anne Farrisee for more information or visit our Online Giving area of the site to learn more about making a gift to the Trust.

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Can you recommend an architect/appraiser/preservation professional?
The Georgia Trust does keep a database of preservation consultants. However, we provide the information as a service to the public and do not necessarily endorse the consultants on the list. The list is intended to be used as a starting point for your own research.

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Do you have grant money available to fix up old houses and other historic buildings?
The Georgia Trust does not have grant money available for restoration projects. However, you can look into historic preservation tax credits and property tax incentives and limited grant funds available through the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Click on Financial & Technical Assistance to find information on tax incentives and grants.

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I'm researching a building/house and trying to locate historic photos. Do you have any old photos of the building/house?
The Georgia Trust does not catalog photos, but many newspapers, local historical societies or history museums do. Check with your local historical or preservation organization as well as the Georgia Historical Society or the Atlanta History Center.

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There is a historic building/house in my community scheduled for demolition. What can I do to stop it?
If you are in a crisis or emergency situation and if you live in a community with a staffed historic preservation organization, contact that office first. If your community does not have a staffed preservation organization, call your regional preservation planner. Either of these types of groups can offer technical assistance and support and in some situations, they may also be able to provide you with information on the significance of the property and enlighten you on any local preservation ordinances or laws that may protect the structure. If you cannot locate a local or regional preservation contact, read on for more advice.

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What is Historic Preservation?
Historic preservation is the practice of recognizing, protecting, using and appreciating our nation’s diverse cultural resources so that generations to come may benefit from them. Encompassing a wide range of resources—including houses, neighborhoods, commercial buildings, downtowns, bridges, churches, schools and battlefields—historic preservation is also an economic development tool that has proven to be an effective way to revitalize neighborhoods and downtowns.

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What is the difference between restoration and rehabilitation?
Restoration and rehabilitation are two options available when preserving a property. During a restoration, the goal is to accurately depict the form, features and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time. To stay true to an era, features added during other periods in the structure’s history must be removed and missing features from the restoration period are reconstructed using all available evidence. Typically restoration is used only for museums. This approach often removes authentic, though not original, historic fabric and replaces it with new material that often includes guesswork on details.

On the other hand, rehabilitation makes possible a modern or contemporary use through repair, alterations or additions to a historic structure. This type of project preserves the significant features of the structure, which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values and features, including historic changes. This approach is generally preferred by preservationists because it preserves historic fabric from the course of the building’s history. Because it allows for contemporary or adaptive use, it is also the most prevalent preservation treatment.

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What is the National Register of Historic Places?
The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 assigned the National Register of Historic Places the central role in recognizing buildings, sites, districts, structures and objects significant in national, state or local history, archeology, architecture, engineering or culture. Listing in the National Register does not guarantee full protection from demolition, but any development project using federal money or requiring a federal permit must undergo Section 106 review, required by the Historic Preservation Act, to consider the impact the project might have on nearby sites that are on or eligible for the National Register. Nominations to the National Register are submitted to and approved by the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Register is maintained by the National Park Service, but the vast majority of the buildings on the list are privately owned.

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What is the difference between the National Register of Historic Places, a National Historic District and a National Historic Landmark?
These terms are often confused, but each holds a different level of significance.

Individual structures are listed on the National Register, but entire neighborhoods or areas can also be designated as a National Historic District. To qualify, the area must retain architectural integrity and reflect an aspect of the area’s history. A historical overview of the entire district is needed. The purpose of the overview is to provide a basic background history of the area and to justify the significance of the district. Historic resources survey documentation is required for all proposed districts, which involves photographing and mapping all buildings in the district, recording their architectural characteristics, and assessing whether or not they contribute to the historic character of the district. For more information, contact the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The highest level of designation is a National Historic Landmark, and therefore specific criteria are used to determine a site’s eligibility. National Historic Landmarks are properties deemed significant to all Americans because of their exceptional values or qualities, which help illustrate or interpret the heritage of the United States. If a property is named a National Historic Landmark, it is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and able to obtain federal historic preservation funding, when available. Only three percent of properties on the National Register are also Landmarks and they are usually owned by private individuals or groups; others are owned by local, state, tribal or federal government agencies. For more information, visit the National Park Service Web site.

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What is the difference between local landmarks or historic districts vs. the Georgia Register
of Historic Places?

A local landmark or historic district is designated under city or county ordinance that seeks to retain the character of the building or area. To receive local designation, a building or district must be historically, architecturally or culturally significant and retain most of its character. A historic preservation commission reviews and comments on projects affecting designated buildings. Under most local laws, owners of designated properties cannot demolish, move or change exterior features of the structure without permission from the preservation commission.

Similar to the National Register, the Georgia Register of Historic Places is a form of recognition which makes individually listed structures eligible for state property tax incentives and provides for a review of some state-funded undertakings. The Georgia Register is the official listing of historic resources for the state and is maintained by the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

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How can I find out if a building/house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places?
The National Park Service posts its National Register Information System on the Web. Here you can search by name, location, agency, subject and more.

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How can I nominate a property to the National Register of Historic Places?
For information about National Register districts or listings in Georgia, contact the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. HPD nominates eligible properties in Georgia to the National Register. For more information about the National Register, visit the National Park Service’s Web site.

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What is the National Historic Preservation Act?
The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) was enacted due to public concern that so many of the nation's historic resources were not receiving adequate attention as the government sponsored much-needed public works projects. The NHPA, strengthened and expanded by several subsequent amendments, is today the basis of America's historic preservation policy.

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What is the Georgia Historic Preservation Act?
The Georgia Historic Preservation Act of 1980 strengthens the concept of historic preservation within Georgia and favors the development of meaningful local preservation programs by establishing a framework for local governments to use in order to protect historic resources within their jurisdictions.

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What does "Section 106 Review" mean?
Section 106 refers to a particular part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 that requires every federal agency to take into account how each of its undertakings could affect historic properties.

Section 106 Review refers to the federal review process designed to ensure that historic properties are considered during federal project planning. The review process is administered by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent agency, in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer. The council must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to comment on such projects. Any project involving federal funds is subject to Section 106 Review.

It is important to note that Section 106 Review extends to properties that possess significance and are determined eligible for listing on the National Register, but have not yet been listed.

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What are preservation tax incentives?
Preservation tax incentives are available for any qualified project that the Secretary of the Interior designates as a certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure. A certified historic structure is any building that is listed individually in the National Register or located in a registered historic district and certified as historically significant to the district. A certified rehabilitation is any rehabilitation of a certified historic structure that is certified as being consistent with the historic character of the property and the district in which it is located. Property owners are eligible for a 20 percent tax credit on rehabilitation costs if all criteria are met.

To be eligible for tax incentives for rehabilitation, a project must meet the basic tax requirements of the Internal Revenue Codes as well as the certification requirements. Applications are processed by the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and passed on with comments to the National Park Service for certification.

In Georgia, owners of income-producing commercial and owner-occupied residential National Register-listed structures that have undergone substantial rehabilitation qualify for an eight year freeze on property appraisals at a pre-rehabilitation amount. This is referred to as the State Property Tax Freeze and is administered by the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

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Important Sites to Visit:
National Historic Landmark: National Park Service, www.cr.nps.gov/nhl
National Register of Historic Places: National Park Service, www.cr.nps.gov/nr
Georgia Register of Historic Places: Historic Preservation Division, 404-656-2840, www.gashpo.org
Local Historic District: Contact your local government or regional preservation planner (for contact information, visit www.gashpo.org and click on “Planning & Local Assistance”)

Please see our links page for additional contact information.

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