State Historic Preservation Office Begins Person County Comprehensive Architectural Survey with Grant Funds from National Park Service


Person County has been chosen as the subject of a comprehensive survey of historic buildings and landscapes planned from 2021-23. Funding for this architectural survey comes from the Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Fund (ESHPF), administered by the National Park Service, for hurricanes Florence and Michael. Because the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared a major disaster in Person County following these storms, the county is an eligible location for planning projects intended to document the degree of damage from past storms as well as provide preparedness for future disasters.

As national emergencies arise, Congress may appropriate funding from the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) to provide relief for historic preservation projects in areas impacted by natural disasters. The HPF uses revenue from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to assist a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars. In 2018, hurricanes Florence and Michael, as well as Typhoon Yutu, caused extensive damage to communities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, the Northern Mariana Islands, South Carolina, and Virginia. Congress subsequently passed Public Law 116-20 to provide ESHPF assistance to these six states and one territory related to damages from these storms.

North Carolina has chosen to allocate funding to support the survey of historic resources to determine the overall degree of damage, as well as provide data for resiliency planning for our state’s treasured cultural resources. Person County was selected from among other eligible counties because the State Historic Preservation Office (HPO) has not previously conducted a comprehensive architectural survey of the county. The 2021-2023 architectural survey will intensively document historic buildings and landscapes from the late 18th century through the 1970s, including those in Roxboro and rural areas. Data gathered during the survey will assist Person County in planning for the preservation of its historic resources.

The State of North Carolina has hired hmwPreservation, a Durham, N.C-based cultural resources consulting firm, to complete the project. Heather Slane and Cheri Szcodronski will serve as Principal Investigators. Preliminary fieldwork will start in early October. A survey of rural Person County will occur in late fall 2021 into winter 2022. A survey of the town of Roxboro is anticipated to occur in late 2022 and early 2023. The project will conclude no later than September 2023.

Architectural survey entails documentation of buildings and landscapes that are at least 50 years old. Fieldworkers take photographs, draw site plans, and collect oral history from people they meet on site. They conduct a limited amount of archival research to establish countywide patterns of historical development. hmwPreservation will also identify properties that appear to be potentially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, either individually or as historic districts. National Register properties are potentially eligible for state and federal tax credits for certified historic rehabilitation. The Person County Comprehensive Architectural Survey will culminate in a final report that analyzes the history of the county through the lens of its historic architecture.

At the conclusion of the survey, the HPO will share the final report and geospatial data collected during fieldwork with the National Park Service and will retain all materials from the survey as part of the statewide architectural record. Public access to the information will be available through HPOWEB, the HPO’s geographic information system, which is accessible online at The survey material will facilitate the environmental review necessary for state and federal undertakings and will aid in planning for future economic and community development projects. Survey products also will be useful for the continued development of heritage tourism programs in Person County.

For more information on the Person County Comprehensive Architectural Survey, contact Elizabeth C. King, Architectural Survey Coordinator for the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, at or 919-814-6580, or Heather Slane of hmwPreservation, at

About the State Historic Preservation Office
In North Carolina, the State Historic Preservation Office (HPO) is an agency of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The HPO carries out state and federal preservation programs that assist private citizens, non-profit institutions, local governments, and agencies of state and federal government in the identification, evaluation, protection, and enhancement of properties significant in North Carolina’s history and archaeology. The HPO oversees the statewide architectural survey; administers the National Register of Historic Places for North Carolina properties; conducts environmental review of state and federal actions affecting historic and archaeological properties; provides technical assistance to owners in the restoration of historic properties, including those owners seeking state and federal rehabilitation income tax credits; provides grant assistance for historic preservation projects; provides technical assistance to local preservation commissions; and provides historic preservation education, including publication of preservation plan updates and the HPO newsletter, Worth Saving (

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