Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Historic Roadside Properties

on Minnesota Highways

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Historic Roadside Properties

  1. How many historic roadside properties does MnDOT have?
  2. Why does MnDOT restore and rehabilitate its historic roadside properties?
  3. What is Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act?
  4. Who is my State Historic Preservation Officer and what does s/he do?
  5. What is the National Register of Historic Places?
  6. What are the results of listing?
  7. If a road project will result in the alteration of a historic property, what will happen?

See FAQs about State Entrance Monuments


How many historic roadside properties does MnDOT have?

Between 1996 and 1998, the MnDOT Cultural Resources Unit and the MnDOT Site Development Unit collaborated in a research project to identify all of the historic roadside properties within the MnDOT trunk highway right of way. 

The research was conducted by Gemini Research and identified 102 properties. 

At the end if the initial research in 1998, Gemini Research identified eleven properties already on the national Register of Historic places or located within historic Districts.  In addition, the study recommended that 51 individual properties and one historic district containing seven properties that met the registration requirements of the historic context entitled “Roadside Development on Minnesota trunk Highway, 1920-1960” and were therefore eligible for the National Register under this context. The remaining 32 in the initial set were not considered eligible for various reasons.

The inventory was supplemented in 2005, evaluated eight new properties to bring the total to 110 historic roadside properties. As of 2016, te program has 100 properties, with 10 having been lost to deterioration or development.

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Why does MnDOT restore and rehabilitate its historic roadside properties?

Senate Bill 3035, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), was signed into law on October 15, 1966, and is the most far-reaching preservation legislation ever enacted in the United States. The act created the National Register of Historic Places, the list of National Historic Landmarks, and the State Historic Preservation Offices.

Among other things, the act requires agencies to evaluate the impact of all federally funded or permitted projects on historic properties through a process known as Section 106 Review.
In other words, MnDOT is required by law to protect its historic properties.

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What is Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act?

Section 106 of NHPA requires each agency to identify and assess the effects of its actions on historic resources. MnDOT’s Cultural Resources Unit has delegated authority by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to manage the Section106 review process, functioning as the Federal Agency.

Effects are most often resolved by mutual agreement, usually among the affected State Historic Preservation Officer or the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, the Federal agency, and any other involved parties. Section 106 applies when two thresholds are met: there is a Federal or federally funded action, including grants, licenses, and permits, and that action has the potential to affect properties listed or eligible for being listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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Who is my State Historic Preservation Officer and what does s/he do?

Designated by the governor of their respective State or territory, State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) carry out the national historic preservation program as delegates of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). SHPOs:

  • locate and record historic properties;
  • nominate significant historic properties to the National Register;
  • foster historic preservation programs at the local government level and the creation of preservation ordinances;
  • comment upon preservation projects under consideration for the federal rehabilitation tax credit;
  • review all federal projects for impact on historic properties under Section 106 of NHPA and the regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; and
  • provide technical assistance on restoration and other preservation activities to Federal agencies, State and local governments, and the private sector.

Federal agencies seek the views of the appropriate SHPO when identifying historic properties and assessing effects of an undertaking on historic properties. Agencies also consult with SHPOs when developing Memoranda of Agreement to mitigate adverse effects.

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What is the National Register of Historic Places?

The National Park Service administers the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the official Federal list of historic districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.

National Register properties have significance to the history of their community state, or the nation. Private individuals and organizations, local and state governments, and American Indian tribes often initiate this process and prepare the necessary documentation. A professional review board in each state considers each property proposed for listing and makes a recommendation on its eligibility. National Historic Landmarks (NHL) are a separate designation, but upon designation, NHLs are listed in the National Register of Historic Places if not already listed.

A property can be listed in the National Register of Historic Places by submitting the proper forms and documentation to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) of the state where the property is located.

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What are the results of listing?

In addition to honorific recognition, listing in the National Register has the following results for historic properties:

Consideration in planning for Federal, Federally licensed, and Federally assisted projects

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires that Federal agencies allow the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation an opportunity to comment on all projects affecting historic properties either listed in or determined eligible for listing in the National Register. The Advisory Council oversees and ensures the consideration of historic properties in the Federal Planning process.

Eligibility for certain tax provisions

Owners of properties listed in the National Register may be eligible for a 20% investment tax credit for the certified rehabilitation of income-producing certified historic structures such as commercial, industrial, or rental residential buildings. This credit can be combined with a straight-line depreciation period of 27.5 years for residential property and 31.5 years for nonresidential property for the depreciable basis of the rehabilitated building reduced by the amount of the tax credit claimed. Federal tax deductions are also available for charitable contributions for conservation purposes of partial interests in historically important land areas or structures.

Qualification for federal grants for historic preservation, when funds are available

Owners of private property listed in the National Register are free to maintain, manage, or dispose of their property as they choose provided that no Federal monies are involved.

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If a road project will result in the alteration of a historic property, what will happen?

If a project requires alteration, rehabilitation, removal, demolition, or any other modification of a property that is listed on or eligible for the register, the Federal agency (MnDOT CRU) must then determine whether or not there will be an adverse effect.

The majority of projects will have "no adverse effect" on the historic property. MnDOT CRU requests concurrence from SHPO regarding MnDOT CRU determination and the project work may proceed as soon as concurrence from SHPO is received. 

In some cases  a "conditional no adverse effect" determination may be made, which means that, if the agency or applicant agrees to make certain changes to the project plans, the work may proceed without further review.

If it is determined that the project will have an "adverse effect" on the property, the agency must consult with the SHPO to determine how these effects can be eliminated or reduced and mitigated. Guidance about assessment of effect is found in the Council's regulations (36 CFR Part 800.5).

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See FAQs about State Entrance Monuments