Date of Award

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Planning, Development, and Preservation

Committee Member

Amalia Leifeste, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Carter L. Hudgins

Committee Member

Kristopher B. King

Abstract

The National Register of Historic Places, as outlined in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, records places and spaces worthy of preservation throughout the United States. The legislation indicates, “the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to expand and maintain a National Register of Historic Places composed of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture.” The National Register should arguably reflect the nation’s history, which many resources claim it to achieve: “the National Register is the nation’s inventory of historic places and the national repository of documentation on the variety of historic property types, significance, abundance, condition, ownership, needs, and other information.” However, because the nomination of new listings is a social and political process, it seems that the National Register may be a repository to show preservation preferences over time.

This study investigates whether the National Register in South Carolina meets the goal of being a comprehensive repository of buildings, structures, sites, and objects that narrate South Carolina’s history, using the National Register listings from South Carolina to see if they are evenly distributed across categories. This investigation provides insight into the historic preservation movement and the National Register. A database of all of South Carolina’s National Register listings provides the foundation for analysis. Categories analyzed for each property are: National Register Criteria, architectural classifications and styles, areas and periods of significance, as well as other elements included on nomination forms. The resulting graphs, charts, and other data visualization tools represent the patterns and put forward a unique perspective on the collection of properties that encompass South Carolina’s contributions to the National Register. This thesis presents a critical evaluation of the National Register by analyzing listings in the state of South Carolina to determine whether or not it lives up to its mission of representing the diverse history of the state. Findings indicate that the 1,556 listings added between 1966 and 2017 are fully representative of South Carolina’s history, however with uneven distributions. The methodology can be replicated in other states and results can inform future investigations leading to a broader range of properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

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