Find Information About a Property's History

Start by learning whether the property in question has already been identified as historically significant. The answer will determine where you should look for more information. A property may have been:

  • Identified during a history/architecture survey of a community, conducted to uncover properties of potential historical interest.
  • Designated as significant by a city with a heritage preservation commission.
  • Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Who maintains inventories of surveyed properties?

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) maintains statewide inventories of properties surveyed in its ongoing survey program. These files can be accessed by the public. Cities with a heritage preservation commission (HPC) maintain inventories of local properties, including those that have been designated locally.

Who has information on National Register properties?

The State Historic Preservation Office maintains the National Register files for Minnesota. The National Register searchable database lists National Register properties in Minnesota.

Where can I do research on properties?

The Minnesota Historical Society Library has extensive collections of primary and secondary sources, including such materials as insurance maps, city directories and photographs.

Public libraries and county historical societies are good sources of information on historic properties.

Drafting a house history offers guidance in documenting the history of a house.

National Register Bulletins are available online. Bulletin #39, Researching a Historic Property is especially useful.