National Register Historic District Process

The National Register of Historic Places,  was authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as a program of the National Park Service to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources. In Washington State, the program is administered in partnership with the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP), which acts as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

The comprehensive National Register application requires an area’s significance to be fully documented including a discussion of integrity and an inventory of every resource within the district boundary. This results in a valuable record of our neighborhood and an excellent planning tool to aid the long-term management of growth and development in a way that supports informed change. The information compiled for a National Register district application can also be used to support grant applications and tax incentives to help fund the repair and maintenance of qualifying resources within the district. 

While specific criteria must be met and detailed information must be submitted for nomination, a National Register district is an honorary designation. It does not affect an owner’s ability to alter their property but could encourage more sensitive exterior revisions. A historic district designation can’t prevent demolitions, but it may give builders pause and encourage renovations instead. Learn more about what it means to be listed on the National Register with this detailed summary on DAHP’s website

From inception to listing, this project took over three years and more than 2,000 volunteer hours to complete. Follow along with the steps to listing by expanding each section below:

Step 1: The Feasibility Study

With support from King County’s cultural funding agency, 4Culture, Historic Wallingford sponsored a historic district feasibility study directed by preservation consultant Northwest Vernacular. The study involved gathering previously compiled histories, historic resource surveys, and neighborhood plans followed by walks around the area to observe and document what survives. The social and cultural history of our community was also a focus of the study to understand better the people who built Wallingford and have called this place home. Historic Wallingford is grateful for the involvement of dedicated volunteers to complete the study. 

The goal of this study was to gather information that can guide future preservation and historical interpretation efforts in Wallingford. Objectives included identifying potential historic district boundaries based on the neighborhood’s platting and development patterns and developing a public information and outreach plan to gauge interest in a possible historic district. Seeking this type of designation, we hoped to stimulate pride in our neighborhood and bring awareness to the value of Wallingford’s historic built environment.


May 2019
1. Grant funding obtained and Northwest Vernacular preservation consultants retained.
2. Announced in May newsletter
3. Volunteer recruitment began
4. Wallingford plat maps pulled
5. Data was compiled from city and state historic resource databases

June 2019
1. Volunteers trained for field observations and plat map research
2. Collected information on the history of Wallingford
3. June 20: hosted member meeting to share progress-to-date and get input

July/August/September 2019
Worked with preservation consultants to gather any additional information to aid in their analysis

October 2019
Hosted a public meeting to share results of study and gather input on next steps

Using the information gathered, the Wallingford Historic District Feasibility Study offered guidance on what areas in the neighborhood may qualify for historic district designation. Four areas were identified as potentially eligible National Register of Historic Places districts (noted in the study as A, B, C1, C2, and D).

Step 2: Project Launch

Based on the input of DAHP staff, the public, and a working group of volunteers, we opted first to pursue historic district designation for study areas A and D together. This area included the highest percentage of potentially contributing properties. It allowed for a large district with contiguous boundaries generally between NE 50th Street and NE 46th Street to the north and south, and 5th Ave NE and Interlake Ave N on the east and west.

The National Register application requires a justified and documented argument for the historic district boundary based on the concentration of buildings that have maintained historical integrity. Beyond the district boundaries are newer or modified properties. Development over time plays a part in this justification, so streetcar lines in Wallingford, for example, are a factor to consider. Lastly, most of the structures in the proposed district must be deemed contributing, and the higher the percentage, the stronger the nomination.


Summer-Winter 2020
Volunteers conduct field surveying

  1. Fall 2020-Summer 2021
  2. 1. Volunteers conduct archival research
    2. All data gets compiled in a specially-made database that is shared with our consultant, Northwest Vernacular, for analysis

July 2021
Historic Wallingford receives a 4Culture Special Projects Grant to support a broader demographic analysis and informational maps that serve as a cornerstone of the historic district nomination.

Step 3: Public Meetings

October 12 and December 7, 2021
Historic Wallingford hosted two virtual community meetings, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to discuss the National Register process and what designation means for property owners, as well as to present neighborhood history and research findings. An in-depth analysis of census data is being used to reveal a richer story of the ethnic roots and occupations of early Wallingford residents.

October 12 presentation slides
October 12 Meeting Recording (YouTube)

December 7 presentation slides
December 7 Meeting Recording (YouTube)

Step 4: Nomination Form Submission

Spring 2022
Our consultant, Northwest Vernacular, completed two rounds of revisions to our National Register nomination following feedback from the Washington Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation. Revisions included fact-checking property histories, reviewing architectural styles, and reworking district boundaries at some of the edges.

July 2022
The final draft of the nomination form was submitted.

Step 5: Consideration and Listing

October 14, 2022
The Washington State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation voted in unanimous support of the National Register nomination for the Wallingford-Meridian Streetcar Historic District during a public hearing. The nomination was then forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register for consideration. 

December 16, 2022
The National Park Service announced that the Wallingford-Meridian Streetcar Historic District was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places on December 9.

What’s Next? 
At this time, Historic Wallingford’s current leadership has no plans to pursue additional historic districts, as there is still much to do to celebrate and promote the listing of the Wallingford-Meridian Streetcar Historic District.

The projects listed on this page and the creation of this webpage were sponsored, in part, by generous grants from 4Culture.