Skip to main content

Cultural Resource Documentation

Hundreds of historic Illinois properties have been documented (or "recorded") following the standards and guidelines established by the National Park Service. The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) was created in 1933 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal to provide much-needed work for architects, photographers, and historians. The ongoing effort has provided an invaluable historical record of sociological, technological, and design development as well as art, information, and inspiration for Americans from that time through ours. The Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) was founded in 1969 to parallel HABS, providing for documentation of engineering works and industrial sites. In October 2000, the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) was permanently established to document historic landscapes.

Since the early 1990s, the IL SHPO has overseen parallel state-level documentation programs called the Historic Illinois Building Survey (HIBS; formerly the Illinois Historic American Buildings Survey) and Historic Illinois Engineering Record (HIER; formerly the Illinois Historic American Engineering Record).

Documentation of historic resources, which we also refer to as "recordation," is performed under uniform standards and includes three main components—drawings, history, and photography—which work together to create a comprehensive understanding of the historic resource. The resulting recordation comprises a public archive of measured and/or sketch drawings, historical essays or reports, and photographic imagery of important and representative examples of our built environment, ranging in type and style from the monumental and architect-designed to the utilitarian and vernacular. While creating a lasting record for future generations, this rich collective archive can be used for historical research and to assist in the understanding, restoration, and interpretation of historic properties.

Recordations prepared under these programs can be voluntary as a way for owners and advocates to record a historic resource for posterity, and they can be completed to mitigate the adverse effects of undertakings on cultural resources under state and federal preservation laws.

Below is a current (as of April 2024) list of all recordations in Illinois, organized alphabetically by county, town, resource name, and address. Hyperlinks to digital content are provided where available. The physical, archival HABS/HAER/HALS recordations are held at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, which makes digital versions available through its website. The physical HIBS/HIER recordations are held at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, IL, and we are working on making the digital versions of those recordations available here on this webpage. The list of all recordations is also available as a separate downloadable file. Please e-mail us to report any errors or technical issues.

HABS = Historic American Buildings Survey
HAER = Historic American Engineering Record
HALS = Historic American Landscapes Survey
HIBS = Historic Illinois Building Survey (also denotes the former Illinois Historic American Buildings Survey)
HIER = Historic Illinois Engineering Record (also denotes the former Illinois Historic American Engineering Record)
photos = photographic documentation only
recordation = non-standardized documentation
survey = historic resources survey
video = video documentationHABS = Historic American Buildings Survey
covenant = preservation covenant
easement = preservation easement
letter of agreement = agreement regarding disposition or financial support

Click on each county name to display its list of recordations