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TERMINOLOGY

 ACRONYMS, ABBREVIATIONS

  • ACHP – Advisory Council on Historical Preservation
  • GIS – Geographic Information System
  • HHC – Harvard Historical Commission
  • HHS – Harvard Historical Society
  • LHD – Local Historic District
  • LL – Local Landmark
  • MA/HL – MA Archaeological/Historic Landmark
  • MACRIS – MA Cultural Resource Information System
  • MHC – Massachusetts Historical Commission
  • NPS –  National Park Service
  • NHL – National Historic Landmark (properties of outstanding national significance, designated directly by the Department of Interior)
  • NRDIS – National Register (of Historic Places) District
  • NRIND – National Register (of Historic Places) Individual Property
  • PR – Preservation Restriction
  • RHD – Regional Historic District

WORD USAGE

DEFINITIONS

The definitions listed below are designed specifically for use by the Commission in their historical preserving work. Some of the definitions are based on the National/Massachusetts Register of Historic Places and the national Historic Preservation Act.

  • Addition: new construction added to an existing building or structure.
  • Adverse Effect:  An adverse effect occurs when a project may directly or indirectly diminish the integrity of an historic property by altering any of the characteristics that qualify that property for National Register inclusion. Specifically, if the project diminishes the integrity of a property’s location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, then there is an adverse effect. Examples of adverse effects include:
    • Physical destruction or damage;
    • Alteration inconsistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties;
    • Relocation of the property;
    • Change in the character of the property’s use or setting;
    • Introduction of incompatible visual, atmospheric, or audible elements;
    • Neglect and deterioration;
    • Transfer, lease, or sale out of federal control without adequate preservation restrictions
  • Alteration: any act or process that changes any portion of the exterior architectural appearance or exceptionally significant interiors of a building, structure or object, including, but not limited to the erection, construction, reconstruction, Of removal of any exterior architectural features or interior architectural design of a structure, treatments such as sand blasting,water blasting, chemical cleaning, chemical stopping, or removal of any architectural feature, but not including changes to the color of exterior paint.
  • Appropriate: especially suitable or compatible.
  • Architectural Compatibility:  To be defined (TBD).
  • Architectural Feature:  The style, design, general arrangement, and components of all the outside surfaces of a structure which characterize the landmark or district, including but not limited to the following: the architectural style and general arrangement and setting thereof; the kind and texture of exterior building materials, or other materials applied to exterior surfaces and the type and style of windows, doors, lights, signs, and other appurtenant exterior fixtures.
  • Architecturally Harmonious Exterior Relationships of Buildings:  To be defined (TBD).
  • Architectural Integrity:  TBD.
  • Building: a building, such as a house, barn, church, hotel, or similar construction is created principally to shelter any form of human activity. “Building” may also be used to refer to a historically and functionally related unit, such as a courthouse and jail or a house and barn. Examples include: carriage house, church, courthouse, house, library, shed, stable, store, theater, train station, garage, detached kitchen, barn, or privy.
  • Compatible: in harmony with location, context, setting, and historic character.
  • Compatible with Existing Structures:  TBD.
  • Contemporary: reflecting characteristics of the current period. Contemporary denotes characteristics which illustrate that a building, structure, or detail was constructed in the present or recent past rather than being imitative or reflective of a historic design.
  • Contributing Historic Property: An historic structure that adds to the historic architectural qualities, historical integrity, historic associations, or architectural qualities that make the historic district, listed locally or federally, significant, including all detached structures on an historic property which contribute to the above qualities.
  • Curtilage: the immediate area or context surrounding a historic .resource, dwelling, or property. The curtilage will vary depending on the historic context and setting of the property, but generally incorporates up to fifteen acres.
  • Demolition:  Any act or process that destroys in part or whole a building, structure, or resource. This definition often refers to deliberate demolition of a building or site or allowing a building to fall into such a state of disrepair that it becomes necessary or desirable to demolish it.  Any act of pulling down, destroying, removing, or razing a building or structure, or any portion thereof, or commencing the work of total or substantial destruction with the intent of completing the same, without replacement.
  • Demolition by Neglect – Inadequate maintenance or lack of maintenance of any structure, part thereof, or any other improvements thereon which results in substantial deterioration.
  • Design Guidelines: the “Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings” as adopted by the Secretary of the United States  Department of the Interior, and other guidelines which are adopted by local Historic District Commissions and Historical Commissions.
  • Exemptions:  The following structures, activities or features are excluded from review by the Commission:
    • Ordinary maintenance and repair of any exterior feature which does not involve a significant alteration in design, material, or outer appearance. This provision includes re-shingling or replacement of wooden clapboards. Activities not requiring a building permit are automatically exempt.
    • Non-contributing structures in a National Register district.
    • Temporary signs.
    • Terraces, walks, driveways, sidewalks, and similar structures, provided that any such structure is substantially at grade level and not within the outside faces of exterior walls.
    • Fences, decks, walls, flagpoles, arbors and trellises, storm doors and windows, window air conditioners, lighting fixtures, and similar appurtenances. Radio antennae, satellite dishes, and similar appurtenances are not exempt.
    • Emergency actions pursuant to Section 24 of the Act and Administrative Regulations, or the reconstruction, pursuant to the Regional’ Policy Plan, of a structure or exterior architectural feature damaged or destroyed by fire, storm or other disaster, provided that such reconstruction is substantially similar to the original in exterior design, is begun within the time limits specified by the local building code, and is carried forward with diligence. Under these conditions the building inspector shall issue a written certificate that an emergency condition exists and that immediate action to remove the hazard is necessary, pursuant to Section 5 of the Administrative Regulations.
    • Demolition or alteration of historically inappropriate additions.
  • Enlarge: to extend a building, structure, or resource beyond its existing footprint, usually through the construction of an addition or new exterior· feature.
  • Fenestration:  The arrangement of windows on a building .
  • Historically Appropriate:  Alterations which are consistent with the predominant architectural style and historic qualities of the structure.
  • Historic Structure/Building: A structure/building at least 50 years of age and/or of significant local, regional, historic, architectural or cultural value. A combination of materials forming a shelter for persons, animals or property, including but not limited to a garage, office, or shed as well as functional construction created for purposes other than creating shelter, including but not limited to a windmill, bridge, or gazebo. Historic structure/building may also be used to refer to a historically and functionally related unit, such as a house and barn.
  • Historic lntegrity: the ability of a property to convey its significance; the retention of sufficient aspects of location, design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling, or association for a property to convey its historic significance.
  • Historic Preservation: according to the National Historic Preservation Act, includes identification, evaluation, recordation) documentation, curation, acquisition, protection, management, rehabilitation, restoration, stabilization, maintenance, research, interpretation, conservation, and education and training regarding the foregoing activities or a combination of the foregoing activities.
  • Historic Property:  An historic property is any property that is included in, or eligible for inclusion in, the National Register of Historic Places (National Register). National Register-listed or -eligible properties fall into five broad categories:
    • Buildings: constructions designed principally to shelter human activity, including houses, barns, commercial buildings, government buildings, etc.
    • Structures: functional constructions not principally designed for human shelter, including bridges, canals, lighthouses, dams, boats, aircrafts, etc.
    • Sites: Locations of significant events, or prehistoric or historic occupation or activity, including ceremonial sites, battlefields, shipwrecks, trails, designed landscapes, archaeological remains of habitation sites, natural features having cultural significance, etc.
    • Objects: Constructions that are relatively small in scale, frequently artistic in nature, and associated with a specific setting or environment. They are not museum objects, but include sculptures, monuments, fountains, boundary markers, etc.
    • Districts: A concentration or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, or objects that are united by their history or aesthetics. The identity of a district results from the interrelationship of its resources. Frequently encountered districts include residential areas, commercial areas, transportation networks, large farms, rural villages, groupings of habitation sites or ceremonial sites.
  • Historic Significance: determines why, where, and when a property is important. Historic significance is the importance of a property with regard to history, architecture, engineering, or the culture of a state, community, or nation. The key to determining whether the characteristics or  associations of a property are significant is to consider the property within its historic context.  Properties can be significant for their association or linkage to events or persons important in the past, as representatives of manmade expression of culture (design/construction) or technology, or for their ability to yield important information about history or prehistory.
  • Historic Fabric: original or old building materials (masonry, wood, stone, metals, marble) or construction.
  • Historic Context: patterns or trends in history by which a specific occurrence, property, or site is understood and its meaning and significance within history or prehistory is made clear. Historic contexts are historical patterns that can be identified through consideration of the history of the property and the history of the surroundings. Historic context may relate to an event or series of events, pattern of development, building form, architectural style, engineering technique, landscape, artistic value, use of materials of methods of construction, or be associated with the life of an important person; also the setting in which a historic element, site, structure, street, or district exists.
  • Gross Floor Area:  The sum in square feet of the area at each floor level that is included within the outside faces of exterior walls, not including architectural setbacks or projections. Included are all stories;- attached or detached structures that have floor surfaces with clear standing head room (six feet, six inches minimum) regardless of their use, including but not limited to cellars, basements, mezzanines, penthouses, corridors lobbies, or offices. All structures included on the National or State Register listing may be included in the gross floor area calculation. Where a ground level area, or part thereof, within the outside faces of the exterior walls is left unenclosed, (for example, an atrium), the gross floor area of the unenclosed portion is said to be considered as a part of the overall square footage. The area to be demolished is included in calculating the total gross floor area of an existing structure.
  • Intrusive Contemporary Features:  TBD.
  • Listing: the formal entry of a property in the National Register of Historic Places; also referred to as registration.
  • Local Historic District: an area designated as a “historic district” by ordinance of the city council and which may contain within definable geographic boundaries one or more landmarks and which may have within its boundaries other proportions or structures that, while not of such historic or architectural significance to be designated as landmarks, nevertheless contribute to the overall historic or architectural characteristics of the historic district.
  • Local Landmark (LL):  A landmark is a place, structure, feature, or object that has been designated by the Board of Selectmen as historically or architecturally significant by itself or because it is associated with events, persons, or trends significant in the history of the town of Harvard. Designation as a Town of Harvard Landmark is an honor that recognizes the importance of its design or its unique place in the town’s history. Landmark designation recognizes only a select number of individual properties that are important to the town as a whole, protecting them so that their unique qualities are maintained for the benefit of all of the residents of Harvard.
    • Individual properties may also be protected by the donation of  Preservation Restriction/Easement to the town of Harvard by a property owner.  Changes proposed for a Local Landmark must be reviewed by the Historical Commission to ensure that the landmark’s special qualities are not lost through inappropriate alterations. The Commission works closely with owners both before and after designation to develop design solutions that respect the landmark’s significance while acknowledging its on-going use. Many alterations, such as additional construction on a landmark site, can be incorporated into the designation order itself, thereby assuring owners of their ability to move forward with planned changes. Otherwise, the Commission manages proposed changes to a Local Landmark using the same policies and procedures as those for historic districts.
    • The process of designating a Local Landmark may begin when registered voters petition the Historical Commission to study a property for landmark designation. Alternatively, the Historical Commission may initiate the landmark study process on its own. The Commission prepares a report on the proposed landmark, detailing its significance, developing boundaries and standards for the property.  The report is considered at a public hearing. If the Commission so votes, the study report is transmitted to the Board of Selectmen with a recommendation to designate. Designations are made by a majority vote of the Board of Selectmen.
  • Maintain: to keep in an existing state of preservation or repair.
  • Mothball (Stabilization): temporarily closing or stabilizing a building to protect it from the weather as well as to secure it from vandalism; the act or process of applying measures essential to the maintenance of a deteriorated building as it exists at present, establishing structural stability and a weather-resistant enclosure.
  • National Historic Landmark (NHL):   a building, site, structure, or object that is officially recognized by the United States government for its national-level historical significance. Out of more than 85,000 places on the National Register of Historic Places only about 2,500 are NHLs.  NHLs are designated by the United States Secretary of the Interior because they are:
    • Sites where events of national historical significance occurred;
    • Places where prominent persons lived or worked;
    • Icons of ideals that shaped the nation;
    • Outstanding examples of design or construction;
    • Places characterizing a way of life; or
    • Archaeological sites able to yield information.
  • National Historic Landmark District (NHLD):    a historic district that has received similar recognition. The district may include contributing properties that are buildings, structures, sites or objects, and it may include non-contributing properties. Contributing properties may or may not also be separately listed.
  • National Historic Site (NHS):     a protected area of national historic significance in the United States. An NHS usually contains a single historical feature directly associated with its subject. Not to be confused with National Historic Landmark.
  • National Register Criteria:  To be National Register-listed or -eligible, the property must be significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture, and possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. Furthermore, the property must meet one or more of the following criteria:
    • Be associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
    • Be associated with the lives of significant persons in or past; or
    • 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
    • Have yielded or may be likely to yield, information important in history or prehistory.
  • National Register of Historic Places (NR):    the official list of the American cultural resources worthy of preservation. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archaeological resources.
    • The NR is a federal program of the National Park Service, administered in Massachusetts by the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC). Properties listed in the National Register (NR) include districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. Listing in the NR recognizes historic properties that are significant to our communities, our state, and our nation. The NR recognizes unique and irreplaceable historic resources that give a sense of time and place to our down-towns, neighborhoods, village centers, and rural landscapes, and contribute to our communities’ character, making Massachusetts a special place.
    • NR listing is an important preservation planning tool that encourages preservation, but it does not guarantee that listed properties will be preserved.  Read MHC’s “Know How #3″ for the details and advantages of NR listing.
    • Properties must meet at least one of the following criteria to be eligible for listing in the National Register:
      • association with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history;
      • association with the lives of persons significant in our past;
      • embodiment of distinctive characteristics of a type,period, or method of construction, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
      • likelihood of yielding information significant in history or prehistory.
  • Nomination: official recommendation for listing a property in the National Register of Places.
  • Non-Contributing Structure:  A structure located within a Local, Massachusetts or National Register Historic District which does not add to the historic architectural qualities, historic associations or archaeological values for which a property is significant because
    • it was not present during the period of significance;
    • due to alterations, disturbances, additions, or other alterations, it no longer possesses historic integrity reflecting its character at that time or is incapable” of yielding important information about the period; or
    • it does not independently meet the National Register criteria.
  • Object: the term object is used to distinguish from buildings and structures those constructions that are primarily artistic in nature or are relatively small in scale and simply constructed. Although it may be, by nature or design, movable, an object is associated with a specific setting or environment. Examples include: boundary markers, mileposts, fountains, monuments, and sculpture.
  • Obscured: covered, concealed, or hidden from view.
  • Ordinary Repairs or Maintenance – Work done to prevent deterioration of a structure or any part thereof by returning the structure as nearly as practical to its condition prior to such deterioration, decay
    or damage.
  • Period of Significance: the length of time when a property was associated with important events, activities, or person, or attained the characteristics which qualify it for National Register listing. Period of significance usually begins with a date when significant activities or events began giving the property its historic significance; this is often a date of construction. For prehistoric properties, the period of significance is the broad span of time about which the site or district is likely to provide information; it is often the period associated with a particular cultural group.
  • Portland cement: a strong, inflexible hydraulic cement used to bind mortar. Mortar or patching materials with a high Portland cement content should not be used on pre-1920 buildings. The Portland cement is harder than the masonry, thereby causing serious damage over annual freeze-thaw cycles.)
  • Preservation: the act or process of applying measures necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity, and materials of an historic property. Work, including preliminary measures to protect and stabilize the property;generally focuses upon the ongoing maintenance and repair of historic materials and features rather than extensive replacement and new construction. New exterior additions are not within the scope of this treatment; however, the limited and sensitive upgrading ofmechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and other code-required work to make properties functional is appropriate within a preservation project.
  • Preservation Restriction (PR) or Preservation Easement (PE):  protect historic and archaeological properties from changes that may be inappropriate.  A PR/PE may restrict or limit any or all alterations to exterior or interior features, changes in site appearance, inappropriate uses, archaeological field investigations, or other uses or actions inappropriate to the preservation of an historic structure or site.
    • A PR/PE on a property restricts present and future owners from altering a specified portion of that building, structure, or site. A restriction can run for a few years or in perpetuity and may be included as part of the property deed. Preservation restrictions can be donated or purchased by a government body or private preservation organization and are enforced by the holder of the restriction.
    • Alterations or changes to a property with a ‘PR’ designation generally require prior written notification to and approval by the holder of the Preservation Restriction.
    • Charitable donations of easements on historical buildings or archaeological sites may qualify for federal income tax deductions.  *(MGL Ch. 184 Sections 31-33)
  • Reconstruction: the act or process of depicting, by means of new construction, the form, features, and detailing of a non-surviving site, landscape, building, structure, or object for the purpose of replicating its appearance at a specific period of time and in its historic location.
  • Refurbish: to renovate, or make clean, fresh, or functional again through a process of major maintenance or minor repair.
  • Rehabilitation: the act or process of making possible a compatible use for a property through repair, alterations, and additions while preserving those portions or features which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values; also referred to as adaptive reuse.
  • Remodel: to change a building without regard to its distinctive features or style. Often involves changing the appearance of a structure by removing or covering original details and substituting new materials and forms.
  • Renovate: To repair a structure and make it usable again, without attempting to restore its historic appearance or duplicate original construction methods or material. (Note: Although this word is commonly used and widely accepted outside the preservation community, historic preservationists prefer to use the term’rehabilitate” since it incorporates careful retention of historic; architectural, or cultural features).
  • Repair: Acts of ordinary maintenance that do not include a change in the design, material, form, or outer appearance of a resource, such as repainting. This includes methods of stabilizing and preventing further decay and may incorporate replacement in kind or refurbishment of materials on a building or structure.
  • Replication: constructing a building so that it is an exact replica or imitation of an historic architectural style or period.
  • Restoration: is defined as the act or process of accurately depicting the form, features, and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of features from other periods in its history and reconstruction of missing features from the restoration period. The limited and sensitive upgrading of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and other code required work to make properties functional is appropriate within a restoration project.
  • Retain: to keep secure and intact. In the guidelines, “retain” and “maintain” describe the act of keeping an element, detail, or structure and continuing the same level of repair to aid in the preservation of elements, sites and structures.
  • Rhythm: regular occurrence of elements or features such as spacing between buildings.
  • Scale: proportional elements that demonstrate the size, materials, and style of buildings.
  • Significant: having particularly important associations within the contexts of architecture, history,and culture.
  • Site: the location of a significant event, a prehistoric or historic occupation or activity, or a building or structure, whether standing or ruined, or vanished, where the location itself possesses historic, cultural, or archaeological value regardless of the value of any existing structure. Examples include: battlefield, campsite, designed landscape, shipwreck, ruins of a building or structure, natural feature,trail, rock carvings, ceremonial site.
  • Stabilization: is defined as the act or process of applying measures to sustain the existing form, integrity, and material of a building or structure, and the existing form and vegetative cover of a site. It may include initial stabilization work, where necessary, as well as ongoing maintenance of the historic building materials.
  • State Register of Historic Places:  Properties listed in the NR are automatically listed in the State Register of Historic Places as well. The State Register is a compendium of properties with historic designations, listed by municipality, and serves as a reference guide, helping to determine whether a state funded, permitted, or licensed project will affect historic properties. The State Register review process helps ensure that listed properties will not inadvertently be harmed by activities supported by state agencies.  With the consent of the owners, a site or ‘Building’ of substantial historical significance to the Commonwealth, may be listed on the State Register as a historic landmark. No landmark in the State Register may be altered without the permission of the State Historical Commission if the alteration seriously impairs its historical value.  The State Register includes:
    • districts, structures, buildings, and sites in the National Register of Historic Places;
    • local historic districts;
    • landmarks designated under local by-law; and
    • historic or archeologic landmarks.
  • Streetscape: the distinguishing character of a particular street as created by its width, degree of curvature, paving materials, design of the street furniture, and forms of surrounding buildings.
  • Structure: the term “structure” is used to distinguish from buildings those functional constructions made usually for purposes other than creating human shelter. Examples include: bandstand, bridge, canal, corn-crib, dam, earthwork, fence, gazebo, grain elevator, highway, irrigation system, lighthouse, railroad grade, silo, trolley car, tunnel, and windmill.
  • Style: a type of architecture distinguished by special characteristics of structure and ornament and often related in time; also a general quality of a distinctive character.
  • Substantial Alteration:  An alteration which jeopardizes a structure’s individual eligibility for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, or its status as a contributing structure in a National or Massachusetts Register of Historic Places.  It is recommended that local historical commissions refer to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings for assistance in determining a substantial alteration. Examples of such alterations includes:
    • addition, removal, alteration or substitution of defining architectural features, such that the building/structure is incapable of yielding important historical information about its period, including alterations to the following: exterior siding, roof pitch, fenestration, and the compatibility of additions in terms of general scale, massing and materials.
    • isolation of a property or alteration of its setting such that the historic character and integrity are no longer reflected in the site. Examples may include the following: introduction of parking lots, removal of subsidiary buildings or relocation of a structure from its original site.
    • Use of surface cleaning and maintenance methods which endanger the building, structure, or object’s historic building materials, such as sandblasting and improper masonry repointing.
  •  Vernacular: a regional form or adaptation of an architectural style.