Preservation Posts - March 2017

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A Message from the Director

by: Dr. David Crass,
Division Director & Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer


As March draws to a close, the Historic Preservation Division is launching several big projects.

I’ve written earlier in this space about a reboot of Georgia’s Living Places, or GLP. GLP is a residential architecture context that incorporates landscape and archaeology elements. Several years ago, HPD employed a University of Georgia intern to review the current version (1991) of GLP and develop a plan for a series of modular volumes organized by type. Her excellent work formed the basis for more detailed in-house planning by Bill Hover over the last year for a completely new and revamped edition of GLP. I’m happy to report that HPD secured funding from the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation to support the project, and that Georgia DOT is also supporting it as Section 106 mitigation. We anticipate forming a steering committee to guide development of the modules; we also anticipate that we will prioritize the sequence of volumes based on discussions with GDOT and our federal partners. Look for more as Bill launches this exciting project over the coming few months!

Also, after some hiccups, HPD’s TIERS (Tax Incentive and Environmental Review System) project Phase II has launched. This phase will focus on development of reporting tools that will allow us to compile data to track work flows and loads, which is essential information both for office management and our federal reporting requirements. As a reminder, this project replaces our old dBase II database, developed in the early 1990s. Bryan Tucker is managing this project; hats off as well to Jenn Dixon, Rachel Rice, and their staffs for putting in the time to work with our consultant on business-process mapping. HPD is investing significant financial resources in TIERS as part of a long-range effort to significantly increase our efficiency and reduce paperwork.

On another note: In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew last fall, Georgia DNR convened a debrief involving all six divisions and the Commissioner’s Office. Out of that meeting came two new initiatives. At the agency-level, DNR is developing training for all employees that will focus on the national Incident Command System (ICS) and the DNR All Hazards Manual. I will be serving as one of the instructors in this effort. Additionally, at the division-level, HPD is developing a response guidance document for historic resources, as well as working with our Law Enforcement Division to create a more integrated approach to assessing historic resources following demobilization of first responders. Look for more on both of these projects later this summer.

Lastly, HPD is thrilled to welcome Christy Atkins on board to our National Register and Survey Program. Christy will have a full interview in the next issue of Preservation Posts. She has a strong background in both interior design and historic preservation, as well as some great technical skills. Welcome Christy!

And, don’t forget the upcoming Statewide Historic Preservation Conference! We have an excellent array of sessions and field experiences. Come and network, renew relationships, and learn about the latest in Georgia historic preservation!


A Century Ago: Looking Back


by: Debbie Wallsmith,
      Preservation Specialist

On April 2, 1917, less than a month into his second term, former Augusta resident President Woodrow Wilson asked the U.S. Congress for a declaration of war on Germany.

Four days later, the U.S. declared war on the German Empire. By May 18, Congress had passed the Selective Services Act that allowed President Wilson to draft men for military service. Less than 3 weeks later, conscription began. This was the culmination of a number of steps the president had undertaken for the country to enter World War I.

In early February 1917, Wilson announced to Congress that he had severed diplomatic ties with Germany after being informed of Germany’s intention to resume submarine warfare. He did not ask for a declaration of war because he doubted public support without evidence of a threat to US maritime interests. It also left open the possibility of negotiation.

German submarines later attacked several U.S. passenger and merchant ships leading to the deaths of U.S. sailors and citizens. On February 26, Wilson asked Congress to authorize arming U.S. merchant ships with both equipment and personnel. Several members of Congress were opposed to Wilson’s plan, and the request was never called to a vote. Using an executive order, President Wilson armed merchant ships, invoking an obscure 1819 anti-piracy law to do so.  There was now enough evidence that Germany was unprepared to negotiate.

However, the United States had a difficult task ahead of them: the country was unprepared to mobilize for a war and the U.S. public still needed to be convinced of the need to enter the war.

Wilson used artists and the film industry to create a propaganda blitz of posters, movies and pamphlets depicting Germans as savages. The President also developed his democratic plan for the world known as “Fourteen Points,” and used American troops fighting alongside the Allies to hammer home his plan. When Germany offered to end the war based on Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the war weary European Allies agreed. The war officially ended on November 11, 1918, less than 2 years after President Woodrow Wilson and the US declared their intentions. 



Common Questions: State Tax Incentives


by: Molly McLamb,
      Tax Incentives Architectural Reviewer and Specialist


The Georgia Historic Preservation Division administers tax credits for the rehabilitation of historic buildings. Federal credits are available for income-producing buildings, and state credits (the subject of this post) are available for both income- and non-income producing buildings.

If interested in pursuing state tax incentives for the rehabilitation of historic properties, the first question a property owner should ask is, “Is my property individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places or contributing to a National Register Historic District?” If the answer is “yes", the property is eligible for state tax incentives. If "no," pursuing an individual or district listing will need to be a first step. 

Secondly, the property owner must determine if costs associated with a project will meet the Substantial Rehabilitation Test, which is calculated based on whether a property is income-producing or a primary residence, and its current assessed value. If the property is income-producing, the owner may also be eligible for Federal Tax Incentives.

And third, the owner must ensure the project meets the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Periodically, HPD will deny a tax credit application. When this does occur, it is almost always for one of two reasons. First, the applicant sent the project plans to HPD after completion and requests ex post facto approval, or in the alternative, the applicant did not comply with conditions issued with project plan approval. For these reasons HPD strongly recommends that applicants send projects to HPD for review prior to project initiation, and that applicants comply with any conditions that are issued with the project plans.

Although each project is reviewed on an individual basis, some common questions we receive regarding state tax incentives are: 

  • Do you (HPD) review both interior and exterior work?
    Yes. Our review covers both interior and exterior work, as well as any site work on the property. 
  • Can I put an addition on my house?
    You may be able to add on to your house if the addition is compatible in massing, size and scale, and if the design is approved by our office.
  • What is a Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditure?
    A Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditure(QRE) is any expenditure for a structural component of a building, as well as other “soft costs” that would normally be charged to a capital account. Some examples are walls, floors, windows, doors, electrical and plumbing systems, and lighting fixtures. Appliances, cabinets, furniture, and landscaping are some examples of expenditures that are not qualified.
  • How long do I have to complete my project?
    For non-phased projects, you may select a 24-month period in which your QREs will meet the Substantial Rehabilitation Test. 
  • What are some important historic materials or features?  
    These are determined individually, but in general, an owner will want to preserve the historic elements of the building such as doors, windows, trim, plaster and unique features, as well as other less tangible aspects, such as the volume of space and the sequence of spaces. The National Park Service has created helpful guidelines called Preservation Briefs and Preservation Tech Notes which can help give you a general idea of how we review rehabilitation plans. 
  • Are grants available?
    Grants are not available for private entities. Only non-profits and Certified Local Governments (CLGs) are able to apply for grants administered by the Historic Preservation Division.
  • Can I use insurance money to count toward my Substantial Rehabilitation Costs?
    No, insurance money does not count toward your Substantial Rehabilitation Cost, but money that is spent over and above insurance money can count toward your substantial rehabilitation test. 

Our office is available to answer questions regarding our application or specific rehabilitation questions, or point you in the right direction to find someone who can answer your questions, especially if they are related to items beyond our purview, such as those administered by the Georgia Department of Revenue.

For more information about Tax Incentives for the rehabilitation of historic property, visit the HPD website



News and Announcements

  • Georgia Historic Theatres Project: Internship Opportunity
    In partnership with the Fox Theatre Institute and Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Georgia Historic Preservation Division, Georgia DNR, is offering a paid internship to further develop the existing Georgia Historic Theatres project created in the summer of 2014 and 2016, through a previously funded internship with UGA CED. 
    The position will require work in cooperation with staff from the Fox Theatre Institute, Historic Preservation Division, and Georgia Department of Community Affairs to increase awareness of and access to Georgia’s historic theatre data by updating an online database, completing project report and developing outreach initiatives. The internship period is from June 5, 2017 to August 11, 2017, for 10 weeks, and includes $2,250 total financial compensation. A complete summary of duties, qualifications, and instructions to apply can be found on the Internship Announcement.

  • Longview-Huntley Hills Historic District Listed in the National Register
    The Longview-Huntley Hills Historic District in Chamblee (DeKalb County) has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Press Release

  • U. S. Civil Rights Sites World Heritage Initiative 
    Georgia State University has embarked on an effort to nominate a group of U.S. Civil Rights site to the World Heritage List, thereby achieving the highest possible level of recognition for these historic resources and affirming the universal significance of the nation’s struggle for racial justice and its importance to the world. Next month, civil rights scholars and historic preservationists from around the country will gather in Atlanta to discuss this exciting project. Free and open to the public, the World Heritage and U. S. Civil Rights Sites Symposium offers sessions that will explain the World Heritage program and its nomination process, the global significance of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, and what might be expected of property owners and stakeholders of historic sites if they receive a World Heritage designation. Information Here.

  • 2017 Centennial Farm application deadline EXTENDED
    The deadline to apply for recognition as a Georgia Centennial Farm, has been extended to June 1, this year.The Georgia Centennial Farm Program was developed in 1993 to distinguish family farms that have contributed to preserving Georgia's agricultural history by maintaining working farms for more than 100 years. The program has recognized 504 farms around the state.Information about the program, and an directions to apply can be found on the Centennial Farms website.

Upcoming Events

April 26 - Garden Club of Georgia, 2017 Historic Preservation Fundraiser

Annual fundraiser to fund Historic Landscape and Garden Grants. The goals of the Historic Landscape and Garden Grants are to promote awareness of Georgia's historic landscapes and gardens, encourage preservation of threatened historic landscapes and gardens, and provide seed money to assist organizations and communities in developing sound landscape preservation projects which provide public benefit.
Save the Date! Laurel District is pleased to host Tara Dillard, nationally recognized author and speaker, who hosted her own TV Show, "The Better Gardening Show." Tara is the author of five books. Tara will lecture on Modern Garden Design with Historic Inputs, a subject that is close to her heart. The lunch and lecture will take place Wednesday, April 26, 2017, on the beautiful campus of Berry College in Rome Georgia. The $40 individual ticket includes lunch, lecture and tour of Martha Berry's House and Gardens at Oak Hill located across the street from Berry College. Prior registration is required. Information here.

May 9 - Advisory County on Historic Preservation: Section 106 Training

The "Section 106 Essentials" is a two-day course designed for those who are new to federal historic preservation compliance or those who want a refresher on the Section 106 regulations and review process. This course explains the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, which applies any time a federal, federally assisted, or federally approved activity might affect a property listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Information here.


May 18 - Statewide Historic Preservation Conference - Madison
The Georgia Historic Preservation Division (HPD) is happy to announce the return of the Statewide Historic Preservation Conference! The Historic Preservation Division, in partnership with the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the Georgia Alliance of Preservation Commissions, and the City of Madison, invites you to Madison for the 2017 Statewide Historic Preservation Conference, May 18-20.
This conference brings together preservationists, architects, architectural historians, archaeologists, city and county administrators, city and county council members, genealogists, historians, historic preservation commissioners, and planning and preservation students from across Georgia for two days of informative presentations, interactive field sessions, and unique networking opportunities. For additional information, visit the 2017 Statewide Conference website.

Would you like to see an event listed? Email


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Submit a Guest Article

Preservation Posts is published to inform the public about historic preservation issues and developments from the perspective of the SHPO. In keeping with that purpose, HPD has inaugurated a policy of occasionally soliciting guest articles that are directly related to our statutorily mandated programs. Please note that we do not publish opinion pieces. We also retain editorial control as well as the right to reject any submission.

To pitch or submit a piece, or ask questions concerning an idea, email HPD Public Affairs Coordinator Jeff Harrison at