RALEIGH, N.C. – Would you like to visit some of North Carolina's many historic districts and landmarks, but are stuck because you can't afford the time or the price of gas? A new Web site from the Department of Cultural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Office (HPO) called HPOWEB may help.
“By going to http://gis.ncdcr.gov/hpoweb, you may now hop on a virtual magic carpet to fly over the state’s cities and towns or zoom down to the Victorian neighborhoods, old commercial districts, and textile mill villages, and stroll up and down the streets,” says Michael T. Southern, Senior Architectural Historian/GIS Coordinator.
The Web site maps the state's 2,700 listings in the National Register of Historic Places, which includes 500 historic districts, and 32,000 other places that have other types of historic designations or that have been recorded in historic building inventories over the past 40 years. "It may be a little bewildering at first look, because there is so much on it," says Southern, who coordinates computer mapping for the office. Southern reports that eventually all of the approximately 120,000 properties documented in the HPO’s survey files will be mapped.
HPOWEB is part of the Department of Cultural Resources’ efforts to make its historical records more accessible. A chief purpose of the site is to assist environmental planners at other government agencies to make speedy identifications of historic resources that may be affected by a proposed new highway, cell tower or other undertaking. The Web site facilitates that review process for historic buildings and districts, but it does not include archaeological sites.
The site is also fun for virtual touring and is an aid to historical research by the public. A series of short tutorial videos guide visitors through the basics of navigation. Viewing the state map from a distance, the visitor sees the outlines of historic districts and can zoom down and use the Google Street View tool to walk down the streets and look at buildings.
Users may search on keywords in names or descriptions to quickly identify and then zoom to all the schools, churches or Greek Revival houses listed in the National Register. Homeowners or prospective home buyers can search addresses to see if a property is within an existing or proposed National Register district or a locally zoned historic district.
Four hundred of the National Register sites are linked to online copies of their nomination documents, and the remainder will be added over time. Eventually online photos will be linked to many sites.
The State Historic Preservation Office is part of the Division of Historical Resources within the Office of Archives and History, in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. Information on Cultural Resources is available at www.ncculture.com.
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