Michigan's State Historic Preservation Office

James and Sarah Kirkpatrick House, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Historic Preservation in Michigan

Detroit's East Ferry Avenue Historic District, the Chippewa County Courthouse in Sault Ste. Marie, the North Pier Catwalk in Manistee. These properties, and thousands more, have been preserved through the programs of Michigan's State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

Historic preservation enhances the quality of our environment and lives. Urban areas are renewed. Small towns retain the character that set them apart from other communities. Neighborhoods are reclaimed from decline and are revived. Cultural landscapes are protected from uncontrolled development. Historic preservation is more than an attempt to maintain old buildings for posterity's sake; it serves as a planning and economic development tool that enables communities to manage how they will grow and change. Once historic sites are identified and registered, protection programs and tax incentives can be used to preserve them. A commitment to the preservation of the character of our communities makes good economic sense because it enhances property values, creates jobs, revitalizes downtowns, and promotes tourism.


In 1966, in response to growing public interest in historic preservation, Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act  (NHPA of 1996, amended 1980, 1992 [USC Sec. 470-470t]). The act required that each state establish a SHPO and that the governor of each state appoint an officer to oversee the preservation activities. Each year Michigan receives a Historic Preservation Fund grant from the National Park Service to operate its program. The Michigan SHPO identifies, evaluates, registers, interprets and protects the state's historic properties.

Michigan's SHPO was established in the late 1960s. Its main function is to provide technical assistance to local communities in their efforts to identify, evaluate, designate, and protect Michigan's historic above- and below- ground resources. The SHPO also administers an incentives program that includes state and federal tax credits and pass-through grants available to Certified Local Governments. The SHPO is led by the state historic preservation officer, who is designated by the governor to carry out provisions of the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended. The SHPO's programs are funded through a Historic Preservation Fund grant, an annual federal matching grant administered by the National Park Service.

The SHPO programs are funded, in part, with federal funds from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. However, the contents and opinions herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of the Interior, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Department of the Interior. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color national origin, or disability or age in its federally assisted programs. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: Office for Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20240.

State Historic Preservation Office, Michigan State Housing Development Authority
Send comments about this page to preservation@michigan.gov.