A HISTORIC RESOURCE can be a site, property, building, structure, landscape, district, or object, including its appurtenances and environmental settings, that is fifty years or older and is significant in national, state, or local history, architecture, archaeology, or culture.
Harford County contains more than 2,500 documented historic resources that range from 19th century grist mills to Victorian houses, from African American schools to 19th century iron truss-bridges to soaring natural rock outcrops. The documented historic resources in Harford County include both surveyed and designated resources, such as those listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, Harford County Historic Landmarks, and Maryland Historical Trust Easement Properties.
It is important to distinguish a surveyed historic resource from the separate process of historic designation. A survey is a record of gathered information about the history and characteristics of a historic resource. Historic designation lists a historic resource or area as having an official and sometimes legal historic status. A survey may determine that a resource is eligible for historic designation, but it does not initiate the process of historic designation. Often, eligible resources remain undesignated.
Although surveys do not officially designate resources as historic, the information gathered is an important tool to build awareness of historic preservation and inform property owners of potential benefits and incentives that are available.