The bedrock of preservation planning and actions, a thorough local survey forms the basis for many preservation decisions. Survey reports, files, and maps are maintained as a permanent record with many long-term benefits: they permit evaluation of properties for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places; facilitate decision-making about the potential impact of government funded or licensed projects on historic properties; benefit protection of local districts and properties by local preservation commissions; and boost private investment in renovation and preservation of historic buildings for new uses. Over the years, architectural surveys in town after town and county after county have provided the first step toward preservation success stories--directing new attention to familiar sights and encouraging citizens to rescue long neglected houses, rejuvenate traditional neighborhoods, and focus new investment in the economy and quality of life in historic town centers.
The Survey and National Register Branch is the repository for architectural survey records, and maintains files on an estimated 137,000 historic buildings.
The branch has developed a Geographic Information System (GIS) known as HPOWEB, to map the statewide architectural survey.
Architectural Survey Files
The HPO maintains physical survey files that contain written materials and photographs, organized by county. Those files are housed at the State Historic Preservation Office in Raleigh and at the Western Office of the Office of Archives and History. Please contact the appropriate File Room to make arrangements to work with these files.