The Alaska Historic Preservation Act created an Alaska Landmark Register, the state's list of historic properties worthy of preservation. The list recognizes all Alaska properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places and includes some that are important to residents that might not meet the federal criteria for listing. The Alaska Historical Commission reviews nominations for the register and makes recommendations to the Governor for designation as an Alaska Landmark.
A property must meet criteria for evaluation established by the Alaska Historical Commission. A property must have historic significance, be old enough to be considered historically (in general, be at least 50 years old), and still look much the way it did during its period of significance (physical integrity). A property's significance can be for its association with important events, activities, or development; for association with the lives of people important in the past; for significant architectural history, landscape history, or engineering achievements; or its potential to yield information or to have yielded information about our past through archaeological investigation.
The process starts with the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology. The office has the nomination forms available, an outline detailing the process, owner information, and provides technical assistance in preparation of a nomination. The property owner must concur with nomination. A complete nomination, with photographs and site plan, are reviewed by the Alaska Historical Commission. Upon favorable review, the nomination is sent to the Governor for official designation.
Owners are not prohibited from changing a building designated an Alaska Landmark. The best preservation is to have a building used and on tax rolls. Owners have no obligations to open the property to the public or to restore it. Listing does not lead to public acquisition. Technical assistance when planning changes to a listed property is available from the Office of History and Archaeology.
Individually owned properties must have the owners concurrence, if the owner does not initiate the nomination, before being considered for listing in the Alaska Landmark Register. Historic districts must have a majority of owners consent.
Listing in the Alaska Landmarks Register is formal recognition of a property's historic, architectural, or archaeological significance to understand the state's history. The documentation provides information for researchers, educators, writers, and the general public.