National Register of Historic
Architectural surveys identify, document, and
evaluate a community's physical historic resources.
A survey is the basic step in creating a realistic
preservation program, both at the state and local
level. The survey is a practical planning tool.
Knowing your historical assets is the first step in
keeping them from disappearing. You can learn how to
use them to your advantage and to your children's
advantage. A survey will preserve for posterity a
record of your area's material history. Surveys can
provide the information needed to find out what
resources or groups of resources are eligible for
listing in the
Alabama Register of Landmarks
List of the Architectural Survey Files
AHC Architectural Survey Guidelines
Building Survey Form
Instructions for Completing the AHC Building Survey
List of County Abbreviations for Survey Form
Frequently Asked Questions
What does an architectural survey entail?
Survey work is generally broken down into two parts:
Doing research on the history of the community and
actually documenting the historic resources.
Completing the architectural survey forms, taking
photographs, and recording the location of the
resources on a detailed map accomplishes these
We target a wide variety of resources to survey,
however most have to be 50 years or older.
Frequently, there are misconceptions of what exactly
is an architecturally or historically significant
property. Some people find it hard to believe the
old buildings in their hometown are significant,
because, day after day, they walk by them and see
nothing more than just an old building. It is just
something we take for granted. Not only do we survey
mansions, but we also focus on modest neighborhoods
and houses, churches, schools, cemeteries, public
buildings, commercial buildings, outbuildings,
bridges, and recreational resources.
Why is it important to hire a professional historic
preservation consultant to perform the survey?
By having an expert take part in your survey, you
may discover those buildings you never thought of as
important are in some way very significant. They
will help you understand how your area developed.
They also help in understanding some element of the
past that gives a truer expression of how things
A thorough examination of the countryside may result
in finding resources that no one had thought about
for years, but that are of importance.
Where can I find a professional to perform an
The Alabama Historical Commission does not maintain a list
of historic preservation consultants who do work in
Alabama. Please visit the following website to find
How much does a survey cost?
The cost will depend upon how many historic
resources your community has and upon the
consultant. It is best to contact the consultant and
ask how much he or she has charged to survey
If you did not find your questions addressed
here, please contact Lee Anne Wofford, Survey
Coordinator, at (334) 230-2659 or
The Alabama Historical Commission maintains files
for the Alabama Register, National Register,
Cemetery Register, and Architectural Survey
programs. To use the AHC research files, make your
appointment at least two days in advance, Monday
through Friday, between 8:30am-11:30pm and/or 1pm to
The AHC is closed state holidays.
When requesting an appointment, please provide the
county/counties of interest, an emergency contact
number where you can be reached the day of your
appointment, and whether you prefer the morning
and/or afternoon appointment. Contact Nicole
to make appointments or for further information.
AHC Research Policy
AHC Copy Policy