Tennessee’s Historic Preservation Plan 2019-2029
n 2019, the Tennessee Historical Commission proudly celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary. For just over half that time—subsequent to the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (NHPA)—the Commission has also served as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The Commission’s ongoing work through its federally and state-mandated programs has benefitted all of Tennessee’s 95 counties.
More than $26 million in matching federal Historic Preservation Fund grants have been awarded by the office to support the restoration of historic places and to facilitate planning, architectural surveys, and archaeological projects. The survey program has documented over 160,000 structures. Since 1978, when the program was established, our office has helped facilitate the rehabilitation of over 1,000 buildings totaling $1.2 billion in certified federal Historic Tax Credit projects. The agency’s state programs include overseeing an important group of 18 historic sites that provide keystone contributions to the tourism economy in the communities in which they are located. And since its establishment 25 years ago, the Tennessee Wars Commission, a division of our agency, has helped save over 7,000 acres of historic battlefield properties that might have otherwise been lost forever.
One of the most important mandates of the NHPA is to develop a comprehensive plan for historic preservation in our state. We are proud to present our plan for 2019-2029, that builds upon prior editions, including “A Future for the Past” that guided our work from 2013-2018. This plan also serves as the agency’s strategic plan.
The vision of the Tennessee Historical Commission over the next decade is that Tennesseans and visitors will continue to appreciate the complex tapestry of the state’s past and value the historic and cultural resources which contribute to each community’s present and future spiritual, intellectual, aesthetic, and economic well-being. The Tennessee Historical Commission envisions that the civic and political environment of Tennessee will offer enhanced opportunities for governments, institutions, organizations, and individuals to preserve and steward historic and cultural resources as part of each community’s unique character. Additionally, the State of Tennessee, and in particular the Tennessee Historical Commission, will continue to work with partners across the state, and will work to create new opportunities, to create tools, resources, and incentives to support historic preservation as an essential component of planning for each community’s growth and sustainability.
The mission of the Tennessee Historical Commission is to encourage the inclusive, diverse study of Tennessee’s history for the benefit of future generations; to protect, preserve, interpret, operate, maintain, and administer historic sites; to mark important locations, persons, and events in Tennessee history; to assist in worthy publication projects; to review, comment on and identify projects that will potentially impact state-owned and non-state-owned historic properties; to locate, identify, record and nominate to the National Register of Historic Places all properties which meet National Register criteria, and to implement other programs of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended.
An executive summary, as well as the complete preservation plan, can be accessed permanently on our webpage.