north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program

Criteria for Historical Markers

F or a variety of reasons, the state marker program simply cannot mark all historic places in North Carolina. To attempt do so would be impractical and beyond the authorized scope of the program. Aside from the cost involved, an unchecked proliferation of historical markers would create an obstruction to traffic flow and lessen the distinction of those signs designating deserving sites.
Subjects of primarily local or regional, as opposed to statewide, significance are not eligible for state markers. An individual cannot be considered for a marker until twenty-five years after his or her death. Structures are not marked for their individual architectural value. Rather, an individual or historic event associated with a site is more likely to receive consideration. Architecturally significant buildings may be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, administered by the State Historic Preservation Office of the Division of Historical Resources.
Over the years the Marker Advisory Committee has devised the following set of criteria, under which the program presently operates and which are promulgated in the state administrative code (07NCAC 04T.0104):

(a) All highway historical markers shall designate places, events, or persons of statewide historical significance. Historical Significance shall mean any person, place, or event of the past that has been recorded, documented, or recognized in a primary or secondary source, such as in books, diaries, journals, newspaper articles, speeches, documentaries, textbooks, artifacts, or other items, as having a lasting contribution to North Carolina history. Subjects of local or regional importance shall not be approved for highway historical markers. Statewide historical significance must be documented by the applicant. Applications shall be submitted to determine historical significance as set forth in this Rule.

(b) Applications shall be requested from and submitted in writing to the Historical Research Office of the Division of Archives and History, 4610 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-4610, and include the following:
(1) the subject to be marked;
(2) the location associated with the subject;
(3) a detailed statement describing the subject's significance and its impact on North Carolina's history; and
(4) copies of primary and secondary sources detailing the subject's historical significance to North Carolina.

(c) An individual shall be eligible for consideration of a historical marker 25 years following his or her death.

(d) Statewide historical significance shall be determined by the Highway Historical Marker Advisory Committee based on the following factors:
(1) the relationship of the subject to North Carolina's history;
(2) the relationship of the subject to existing markers, such as whether the subject is included on an existing marker;
(3) the subject's contributions to North Carolina; and
(4) consequence of the subject on North Carolina's history.

(e) If a person is named in the text of a marker, that individual will not be approved as the subject of a separate marker.

History Note: Authority G.S. 100-8; 121-4(7);
Eff. June 1, 1989;
Pursuant to G.S. 150B-21.3A, rule is necessary without substantive public interest Eff. July 26, 2015;
Amended Eff June 1, 2017.




north carolina highway historical marker program
first marker dedication
The first marker erected under the program (above) was dedicated alongside U.S. 15 in Stovall, Granville County, in 1936. (Marker District G)

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources