Local Historic Districts

Local Historic Districts offer one of the best methods of protecting historic buildings and structures from demolition and inappropriate alterations. In a local historic district, certain changes to exterior architectural features visible from a public way are reviewed by a locally appointed Historic District Commission.  This includes additions, demolitions and major alterations.  Local historic district commissions can be credited with saving historic areas across the state from the loss of significant resources.

In some communities with local historic districts, the Historical Commission and Historic District Commission are combined into one Commission. This combined commission is known as either the Historical Commission or the Historic District Commission.

There is a substantial difference between a local historic district and a national register historic district. Review the Massachusetts Historical Commission brochure, There’s a Difference, for more information. 

The Massachusetts Historical Commission has guidebooks on Establishing Local Historic Districts and Administering Local Historic District Commissions.  Please contact the Massachusetts Historical Commission for more information. 

Local Historic Districts in Massachusetts

Map of Cities and Towns with a Local Historic District

Examples of Local Historic District Applications