Bellingham's Local Historic Preservation Ordinance (BMC 17.90) identifies improvements, objects, features and sites, within the City, that reflect special elements of Bellingham's architectural, cultural, archeological, aesthetic and historical heritage. Since that ordinance was written, a number of buildings, including several that are owned by the City, have been listed on the Local Historic Register (PDF).
The City of Bellingham encourages preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings and offers financial and other incentives to help property owners accomplish these goals.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture. From the federal perspective, a property owner can do whatever they want with their property as long as there are no federal monies attached to the property. The City of Bellingham currently has historic buildings, historic districts and thematic nominations featured on the National Register.
Over the years, the City of Bellingham has been awarded different grant monies, and it has utilized those funds to complete a historic resource survey and inventory on some of the older neighborhoods throughout the city and in some instances nominate a district of that neighborhood to the National Register of Historic Places.
See examples of common features, elements, and styles found in Bellingham's Historic Neighborhoods.