New York Tops the National Register of Historic Places

National Register by State 2015Whether it’s New York State or New York City, they’re at the top of the list in the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.  The State of New York has 5,774 properties and the City of New York has 766 listed on the National Register as of July 2015, the latest information available from the National Park Service. More than 90,000 properties have been added to the Register since it was established by Congress in 1966 (yes, next year is its fiftieth anniversary).

We might have some fun with the National Register and misuse it to identify the most historic cities in the United States.  New York City is at the top, but what other cities are in the top three?  Sorry, not Boston, Chicago, or Baltimore.  How about Philadelphia (home of Independence Hall) and Portland, Oregon (what? a town on the west coast!). If that surprised you, you’ll enjoying scanning the rest of the list (and perhaps rethink your summer travel plans).   Here are the cities with more than 200 properties listed on the National Register:

  1. New York City, NY: 766
  2. Portland, OR: 571
  3. Philadelphia, PA: 555
  4. Washington, DC: 555
  5. Louisville, KY: 363
  6. Chicago, IL: 363
  7. St. Louis, MO: 357
  8. Price, UT: 342
  9. Denver, CO: 296
  10. Kansas City, MO: 295
  11. Boston, MA: 279
  12. Worchester, MA: 277
  13. Baltimore, MD: 276
  14. Cincinnati, OH: 274
  15. Detroit, MI: 260
  16. Houston, TX: 257
  17. Davenport, IA: 248
  18. Salt Lake City, UT: 245
  19. Cleveland, OH: 243
  20. Little Rock, AR: 233
  21. Indianapolis, IN: 228
  22. Atlanta, GA: 211
  23. Cambridge, MA: 209

If you were wondering about #8 Price, Utah, they’re mostly archaeological sites (such as Nine Mile Canyon, which has the largest concentration of rock art in the United States) added to the Register in the last five years.

2 thoughts on “New York Tops the National Register of Historic Places

    1. Max van Balgooy Post author

      Districts, which usually have several properties, are listed as one entry in the National Register database. So for Chicago, the Auditorium Building, Glessner House, and the Pullman Historic District are each individually listed but can consist of one or more buildings, sites, structures, and objects. It gets really complicated depending on your perspective when you’re looking for numbers (I always thought that James Madison’s Montpelier consisted of just one building until I met an architect). So while the National Register lists more than 90,000 properties, this represents 1,752,995 resources according to the National Park Service. Figuring out which city in America is truly the most historic remains an elusive goal. 🙂


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