TVA Cultural Resources
Historic Structures and Objects
A structure or object is considered historic if it is at least 50 years old and meets certain criteria as defined by the National Historic Preservation Act. Here’s what the Act says.
The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, and:
A. That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
B. That are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
C. That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
D. That have yielded or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history
A structure or object that meets these criteria would become eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. An application form is filled out and reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Officer, who makes a recommendation to the National Park Service on the validity of the listing (read more about the application process). Most of TVA’s dams and hydroelectric plants are eligible for this listing. Certain significant objects or pieces of equipment are also eligible.
TVA has very few other historic structures on its lands; however, there are many eligible structures along its reservoirs and throughout the Tennessee River Valley. These include historic homes, farmsteads, mills, railroad stations, schools, and churches. Historic districts are groupings of structures and include downtown business districts, residential districts, and rural agricultural districts.