In today's Bee Sam McManis explores the National Register of Historic Places, the coveted distinction granted to treasured sites deemed worthy of preservation. Administered by the National Park Service, the listing "is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources."
As McManis explains, not all NRHP sites are stately old buildings. Some are bridges, factories, ships and archeology mounds. Some aren't even visible, having been torn down, burned, submerged or buried.
The four-county region is home to over 100 designated sites. Many are concentrated in Sacramento's central city. You can browse the local list geographically with The Bee's interactive map. If you'd like search for U.S. historic places by name or location, check out the NRHP online database.
Just for the fun of it (and because newspapers love rankings) The Bee asked three local experts to help compile the "Top Ten Historic Sites" in the region. This was hardly a scientific survey. We just asked our judges to pick out ten items from the Register which are the most recognizable, interesting and visually striking. There was general agreement on several of the usual suspects: Old Sacramento, Memorial Auditorium, Tower Bridge, Locke Historic District, Sutter's Fort, Delta King, etc. You can see the finalists in this Sacbee photo gallery.
Many thanks to the following people for taking the time to assist The Bee with the NRHP story: Marcia Eymann, Sacramento City Historian; Roberta Deering, Senior Planner for Historic Preservation, Sacramento Community Development Department; and Dr. Robin Datel, Professor and Chair, CSUS Geography Department.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sutter's Fort Central Building. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Manny Crisostomo