Bellingham has three types of historic property designations - National, State and Local. Generally to be considered "historic" a building must be 50 years of age and retain many of its original architectural character-defining features. Buildings, districts, sites, structures and objects can be listed on a historic register. Designation can offer financial incentives, expanded land uses and building code flexibility, depending on the project and the type of listing. Click here to view an interactive map of Bellingham's National Historic Register properties.
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the official listing of historically significant sites and properties throughout the United States, and is maintained by the National Park Service. The National Register includes districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that have been identified and documented as being significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and/or culture.
Listing in the National Register of Historic Places is honorary, and offers no preservation protection. The National Register Overview (PDF) contains additional information.
Incentives: The National Park Service and the Internal Revenue Service offer a 20% Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit for income-producing rehabilitation projects for buildings listed in the National Register. For more information, check out the Federal Investment Tax Credit Overview (PDF).
Washington Heritage Register
The Washington Heritage Register is an official listing of historically significant sites and properties found throughout the state and maintained by the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP). Click here to view an interactive map of Bellingham's Washington Heritage Register designated properties.
Listing in the Washington Heritage Register is honorary and offers no preservation protection. Visit their website for more information: https://dahp.wa.gov/historic-registers/washington-heritage-register.
Incentives: While there are presently no financial incentives available for the rehabilitation of listed properties, listing in the Washington Heritage Register can help public and non-profit building owners to obtain grants and other funding.
Bellingham Register of Historic Places
The Bellingham Register of Historic Places is the City's official listing of historically significant buildings, districts, objects, structures and sites. Properties are listed voluntarily and are approved by the City's Historic Preservation Commission. Click here to view an interactive map of Bellingham's Local Historic Register designated properties.
Listing in the Bellingham Historic Register is honorary, but once listed the property owner is required to prevent deterioration and decay that may threaten the historic features of the property. Changes to a building may require a Certificate of Alteration and review by the City's Historic Preservation Commission.
Incentives: Buildings listed on the Bellingham Register of Historic Places may be eligible for Special Tax Valuation, Adaptive Use permits and/or building code flexibility. Visit the Historic Preservation Incentives webpage for more details.
Visit the City's additional resources webpage for even more helpful documents and websites.