Historic Resources Survey:
Identifying what's historic about your community
Historic resources surveys collect and record information about extant historic resources, usually on a county-wide, community-wide, or neighborhood-wide basis. City or county governments generally undertake surveys for their communities as a first step in documenting historic resources for planning purposes. A professional preservation consultant (see HPD’s Consultant’s Directory) is usually hired to complete the survey. Historic resource surveys in Georgia should be completed according to standards and parameters defined in the Georgia Historic Resources Survey Manual.
In Georgia, typical survey information includes an exterior architectural description of each resource 40 years of age or older, photographs, and field notes on its age, history, setting, and geographical location. The survey data is entered into an online database known as GNAHRGIS (Georgia’s Natural, Archaeological and Historic Resources Geographic Information System), which maps the surveyed resources. For tips on using GNAHRGIS, please see HPD’s “Tips for Using GNAHRGIS as Part of a Georgia Historic Resources Survey” document below, and the GANAHRGIS welcome screen at www.gnahrgis.org.
The Georgia Historic Resource Survey Form (PDF) for use with GNAHRGIS, and addendum, can be used in the field to gather the information needed to record a resource in GNAHRGIS. The form lists all questions that should ideally be answered about each resource, and the addendum presents all possible answers for those questions that are multiple-choice in GNAHRGIS.
Each community or county survey typically also includes a final survey report analyzing the survey findings. Typical survey reports include an executive summary, project description, summary of previous preservation projects, developmental history, survey methodology and results, architectural analysis, an appendix listing all GNAHRGIS ID numbers associated with the survey, and maps. A recently completed survey of historic resources in Albany resulted in an exemplary survey report, which can be accessed here: Sample Survey. Also see: Historic Resources Survey (video presentation)
Completed surveys can be used to:
- Identify buildings and districts for possible listing in the Georgia/ National Register of Historic Places
- Assist preservation efforts of Georgia's Certified Local Governments
- Support local designations of buildings and districts
- Expedite environmental review by governmental agencies
- Aid preservation and land-use planning
- Promote research of the state's history and architecture
- Increase awareness of, and interest in, a community's historic buildings
To find out if your community has been surveyed, check the File-User's Guide to Georgia Historic Resources Surveys, which is a list by county of historic resources surveys completed in Georgia, including the date and status of the survey.
Funding for surveys
- Currently there are no state funds for historic resources surveys in Georgia. But, Certified Local Governments may apply for Historic Preservation Fund federal grant money to conduct historic resources surveys in their community.
- FindIT! is a historic resources survey program sponsored by the Georgia Transmission Corporation in partnership with the Historic Preservation Division and the University of Georgia's College of Environment and Design . Data collected through FindIT! surveys is entered into GNAHRGIS.
- Georgia Historic Resources Survey Manual
- Guidelines for Local Surveys: A Basis for Preservation Planning
- Tips for Using GNAHRGIS as Part of a Georgia Historic Resources Survey
The Georgia Archaeological Site File (GASF) is the official repository for information about known archaeological sites of all periods in the state of Georgia, and is housed at the University of Georgia.. Qualified archaeologists can request access to site files available online via GNAHRGIS by contacting UGA:
The Georgia Archaeological Site File
UGA Laboratory of Archaeology
110 Riverbend Road
Athens, GA 30602-4702
phone: (706) 542-8737
fax: (706) 542-8920
Who to Contact:
Stephanie Cherry-Farmer, National Register & Survey Program Manager
Laura Beth Ingle, Architectural Historian