Nebraska Historic Resources Survey & Inventory (NeHRSI)
A survey is a systematic
method of documenting historic resources such as buildings, structures,
sites, objects and districts. The information derived from survey
work is entered into the statewide historic resources inventory
which acts as an archive of information on historic properties.
Surveys conducted by the NSHS, Certified Local Governments, and
by federal and state agencies, contribute to this inventory.
No restrictions are placed on properties included in the inventory,
nor does the inventory require any level of maintenance or public
accessibility. Rather, the inventory provides basic documentation
on historic properties throughout the state.
Survey files on various historic buildings
began being collected by the NSHS in 1961. Though quite limited
in scope and activity, this was the start of NSHS efforts to
document historic resources throughout the state. Surveys efforts
were bolstered by the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act,
which established the State Historic Preservation Office and
required statewide inventories. In 1974, with increased funding
offered to the State Historic Preservation Office by the National
Park Service, a comprehensive survey program was formed called
the Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey. This newly organized
survey program provided a systematic methodology and priorities
for the completion of surveys. Over time procedures and levels
of documentation have changed but the goal of creating an archive
of information about the historic resources of the state holds
Above: David Murphy is photographing
the Kearney Canal & Electric Street Railway Power Plant in
Kearney, Nebraska during a 1978 survey.
Current surveys are usually conducted on
a county-by-county basis. Researchers
conduct the survey by driving every rural and urban public road
in the project area and recording each property that is at least
40 years old and has maintained its historic integrity. Surveyors
never enter private property without permission. In addition
to this fieldwork, surveyors research the history of the area
in order to better understand it. The Nebraska Historic Resources
Survey often includes studies of statewide thematic
subjects. The current survey employs a variety of technologies
for documentation and often includes additional program work
such as heritage tourism assessments, intensive level research,
or the creation of driving tour brochures.
Why survey? The
survey helps local preservation advocates, land-use planners,
economic development coordinators, tourism promoters and the
public understand the wealth of historic properties in their
communities. The Nebraska Historic Resources Survey provides
a basis for preservation and planning at all levels of government
and for individual groups or citizens. It is important to note
that the survey is not an end in itself, but a beginning for
public planners and individuals who value their community's history
and wish to benefit from these resources.
What properties are surveyed? Generally, the Nebraska Historic Resources Survey
includes properties that possess historic architectural integrity.
Properties that have known historical significance are also documented
during survey. These properties may be buildings, structures,
sites, objects, or districts. Collectively these property types
are referred to as resources. The Nebraska Historic Resources
Survey is partially funded by the National Park Service, and
the State Historic Preservation Office must use federal
guidelines when identifying and
evaluating historic properties.
What will I find in a survey report?
Findings of the survey are summarized
in county reports. Since
the late 1980s, findings from county surveys have been summarized
in county reports. Each report contains a brief historical overview
of the county and its individual towns, as well as photographs
of select historic properties. In addition, reports include a
discussion of how certain historic resources reflect local, statewide
or national history in areas like settlement, agriculture, commerce,
education and government. The reports also make recommendations
regarding properties within the county that may be eligible for
listing in the National Register of
Historic Places. Please note that these reports are completed
by consultants and do not necessarily represent the views or
determinations of the NeSHPO, nor the state government or National
Where can I get a copy of a county report?
Reports are available in county
libraries, local historical societies, or through interlibrary
loan. Most county reports are downloadable
in PDF. A limited number of hard copies are available for
each county. Contact Patrick Haynes at 402.471.4770 or email@example.com
to find out if the county report you are looking for is available.
The inventory consists of over 73,000 properties
and includes historic buildings, agricultural structures, bridges
and roads, cemeteries and many more types of historic places.
The Nebraska Historic Resources Inventory is open to the public
for research. Information usually includes basic location data
and photographs; however, more in-depth information may be available
for some properties. While we still have many hard copy files,
we also have many forms and maps digitized. For those wishing
to access research materials please make an appointment with
staff by calling 402.471.4787. For those interested in archeological
resources, please contact the Archeology Division at 402.471.4760.
Much of the information
on USGS and plat maps has been converted to a digital mapping
system allowing for greater analysis.
When will the inventory be complete?
With the progression of time, new
becomes old, which is why the inventory is part of an on-going
process. Every year properties grow a little bit older, and many
are altered or torn down. Surveys continue to document historic
properties missed in previous surveys. Often 30 years or more
pass before an area gets resurveyed, and many properties become
historic during that time. It is also important to document in
the inventory when properties have been demolished or significantly
altered. In an effort to keep our information up to date we rely
heavily upon the general public to submit information to the
How can you help? Download
a copy of the Nebraska
Historic Resources Inventory Form . For historic cemeteries
please use the cemetery specific
form . Completed forms may be sent via mail or email. Educators
interested in having students submit inventory information might
find the lesson plans and activities on the Public
Outreach and Education page beneficial.
For Contractors/Consultants conducting
compliance required surveys
Those conducting surveys to comply
with federal regulations should contact Jill Dolberg, Review
& Compliance Coordinator, at 402.471.4773 or by email at
for the appropriate survey forms.
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/ Historians Contractors List: Contractor
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