Preservation Chapel Hill

Historic Resource Surveys

Historic Resource Survey Projects 



Status as a District on the National Register of Historic Places is the result of detailed historical research and analysis and a thorough application to the US Department of the Interior, National Park Service. The key event in this process is a professionally-conducted survey of all structures in a proposed district. One of the outputs of an historical survey is identification of those buildings, structures, and objects that “contribute” to status as National Register District; and, those that do not. Other outputs of an historical survey include “architectural significance reports”, digital photographs, and supporting materials. 


Franklin-Rosemary National Register District Resurvey and Expansion (1971 and 2015) 


The National Register program was created by Congress in 1966. The first National Register district in Chapel Hill was created effective December 12, 1971. It is not surprising then that 1971 standards for historical surveys were less thorough than contemporary requirements. The reasons for the resurvey and expansion include: 1) the 1971 survey omitted some resources; 2) many of the 1971 descriptions were incomplete; 3) the 1971 survey ended more or less at the south edge of E. Rosemary Street excluding a substantial historic area; 4) the original age of significance ended in the mid-1930’s and was increased to 1964; and 5) “architectural significance reports” were prepared for all properties in both the original district and the expanded area.  


Approximately half of the expanded Franklin-Rosemary National Register district overlaps with the Town’s Franklin-Rosemary local historic district. Notably outside of the Town’s local historic district is the University of North Carolina and areas to the west and north of the local historic district, as well as the 100 E. Franklin Street commercial area. 


This project was implemented with Preservation Chapel Hill, grant funds and donations from members and neighbors. The new expanded district was approved by the National Park Service on April 16, 2015.  


Rocky Ridge Farm National Register District and Expansion (1989 and 2008) 


The Rocky Ridge Farm National Register District was approved on August 8, 1989. A number of neighborhood houses “aged-in” by 2008 as the neighborhood went through significant development shortly after World War II. Several of these newly aged-in houses were of a mid-century modern design. A resurvey of the neighborhood resulted in an expansion of the Rocky Ridge Farm National Register District effective January 30, 2008.  



Gimghoul Neighborhood National Register District and Photographic Update (1993 and 2013) 


The Gimghoul Neighborhood National Register district was created effective August 5, 1993 and is nearly identical to the Town’s Gimghoul local historic district. The original 1993 survey did not include digital photographs, now a requirement and filed at the State Historic Preservation Office. Preservation prepared digital photographs which were filed with SHPO. This project was implemented with Preservation Chapel Hill and grant funds. 



West Chapel Hill National Register District Marginal Expansion (1998 and 2018) 


The West Chapel Hill National Register District was created effective December 31, 1998 generally overlapping the Town’s Cameron-McCauley local historic district created in 1990. An effort to expand the West Chapel Hill National Register district was begun with the goals of: 1) increasing the period of significance from 1940 to 1968; and, 2) including resources in the existing Town’s local historic district that were excluded from the National Register district. 


This project is being implemented with Preservation Chapel Hill and grant funds. 


Town of Chapel Hill Supplemental Resurvey (2018) 


Previous surveys omitted 58 separate properties located in the Town of Chapel Hill Franklin-Rosemary, Cameron-McCauley, and Gimghoul local historical districts. State law requires that properties in local historic districts are to receive an historical assessment. PCH is collaborating with the Town’s Historic District Commission to survey these 58 properties.  


This supplemental resurvey project is being realized with grant funds and Preservation Chapel Hill management support. 


Future Historic Surveys 


Chapel Hill and Carrboro developed rapidly after World War II. Many neighborhoods are beginning to age-in. PCH anticipates conducting an assessment of which neighborhoods have the greatest potential to become the next National Register district candidate. Key considerations are in this assessment are period representation, uniformity of look and feel, architectural style and mass.  

We need your support to make this project successful, so please click below to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Historic Resource Survey project today!



Project Status:


PHASE I: Survey Existing Chapel Hill National Register District

PHASE II: Survey Existing Gimghoul National Register District

Grant Funds: $11,000

Private Funds: $1,475

PCH Funds: $75

Status: Complete


PHASE III: Survey Expansion Area of Chapel Hill National Register Historic District

PHASE IV: National Register Nomination to Expand Chapel Hill National Register District

Grant Funds: $0

Private Funds: $14,367

PCH Funds: $2,813

Status: Survey complete, National Register nomination under review at State Historic Preservation Office


PHASE V: Survey Existing West Chapel Hill National Register Historic District

Grant Funds: $5,000

Private Funds Needed: $5,000

Status: Scheduled to begin in December, pending funding