With respect to historic preservation, the First Tennessee Development District’s mission is to protect, preserve, and promote the historic resources of the region. This is accomplished through an agreement with the Tennessee Historical Commission, which receives federal funds from the Department of the Interior and National Park Service.
Historic preservation activities include assisting with the preparation of nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, promoting preservation tax incentives, preparing applications for Federal Preservation Grants, promoting the Certified Local Government program, assisting with historic surveys, and providing documentation for Section 106 reviews.
Interactive Map of Historic Places
The FTDD’s Interactive Map of Historic Places provides information about every building, district, site, structure, and object listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Northeast Tennessee. The map symbols that appear as pushpins represent the historic places. You may zoom in or out by using the sliding scale in the upper left corner of the map, and you may pan to a different location by dragging the map in any direction. Click on any pushpin to find out the name of the historic place and some basic information. At the bottom of the information table, click on “More Info” and a photo will appear in a new tab of your browser.
Nominations to the National Register of Historic Places
The nation’s official listing of historic places that are worthy of being preserved is called the National Register of Historic Places. Buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects that are determined to be significant with respect to history, architecture, archeology, engineering, or culture, may be placed on this growing list. The FTDD assists with compiling and synthesizing required documentation, maps, and photographs to develop nominations, which are then considered by the State Review Board.
Atlas of Historic Districts
The FTDD’s Atlas of Historic Districts provides information about areas in the eight counties of northeastern Tennessee that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places as designated historic districts. For each of the region’s 39 historic districts, the Atlas includes a large scale, satellite photo-based map showing the district’s boundaries and a separate page which provides a narrative description, location information, the district’s period of significance, the year the district was added to the National Register, the district’s areas of significance, photos, and the National Park Service Reference Number. Maps and information are grouped by county.
The National Park Service defines a historic district as “a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, or objects united historically or aesthetically by plan or physical development.” Districts in FTDD’s region include college campuses, central business districts, residential areas, commercial areas, rural “villages”, large farms, TVA hydroelectric projects, cemeteries, recreation areas, and a hospital complex. Uses of the Atlas could include information for a Tennessee Historic Development Grant Program application, heritage tourism, historic tax incentives, National Register signs, and identification of historic resources that could be impacted by a federally-funded project. To view the Atlas, click here.
Preservation Tax Incentives
The owner of an income-producing, historic building is eligible to receive a federal tax credit of up to 20% of the cost of renovation if they restore the building in accordance with the National Park Service’s standards. The FTDD promotes awareness of this program and provides information concerning eligibility and the Secretary of the Interior’s guidelines for rehabilitation and restoration.
Federal Preservation Grants
Each year, federal funds are made available to each state for local historic preservation projects. These funds may be used for up to 60% of the cost of architectural, archeological, or historic surveys; preservation planning studies; preparation of National Register nominations; restoration planning or restoration of historic properties. Project proposals from throughout Tennessee must compete for funding. The FTDD assists with preparation and submission of applications.
Certified Local Government Program
Local governments that meet certain criteria, including establishment of a historic zoning commission and passing a historic preservation ordinance, receive the designation of “Certified Local Government” or CLG. With this designation, a local government is eligible to receive technical assistance from the staff of the Tennessee Historical Commission, and their chances of being selected for Federal Preservation Grant funding are improved. FTDD works with historic zoning commissions, promotes training opportunities, and provides information concerning the CLG program.
Local historic resources that are fifty years old or older are documented through a comprehensive written and photographic record compiled in county surveys. The staff of the Tennessee Historical Commission is working to have county survey data available on the internet. FTDD assists the staff by serving as a local resource and helping to fill “information gaps” that may be discovered.
Section 106 Reviews
When federal funds are used for construction projects, a review must be conducted to determine if historic properties will be affected, and if so, the extent of the effect. The process is known as a Section 106 Review. FTDD gathers the information that is required, consults with interested parties, and submits all materials and comments to the Tennessee Historical Commission.
The District's Historic Preservation Planner is Gray Stothart, and can be reached at 423-928-0224.