Harford County Earns Federal Historic Preservation Certification

The barn on the Mount Soma property in Bel Air, which Harford County preserved in 2017, is one of several agricultural heritage sites that the county would like to re-survey to obtain updated information for potential historic designation.

Harford County has been accepted to the Certified Local Government (CLG) program following approval by the Maryland Historical Trust and certification by the National Park Service.

Harford joins a network of more than 2,000 Certified Local Governments in the United States, including 10 counties and 11 municipalities (including Bel Air) in Maryland. The federal program recognizes counties and municipalities that have made a special commitment to historic preservation.

To become eligible for the CLG program, Harford County’s historic preservation program had to meet requirements such as having a local historic preservation ordinance and a qualified historic preservation commission.

The CLG program opens up more funding opportunities for preservation projects such as documenting cultural and historic properties, developing historic preservation design guidelines and producing heritage education materials, among others.

If Harford is successful in obtaining a grant this spring, the county will hire a consultant to write historic preservation guidelines to use when reviewing renovations to historic properties. Subsequent grants would be used to survey and research Harford’s historic properties to get a better understanding of them and their history.

Harford has 67 properties that are designated locally as historic landmarks and protected under the county’s zoning code.

Another 72 properties are on the National Register of Historic Places, and one is a National Historic Landmark (Mt. Sion in Havre de Grace), but they are not protected on the local level.

A number of other properties could be added to those protected lists once they are surveyed.

The CLG program also encourages decision-making about historic preservation at the local level with input from citizens and local government.

“Harford County’s historic properties are a window into our past, and by preserving them, we’re preserving our history,” County Executive Barry Glassman said. “This federal certification will help expand our efforts to protect these irreplaceable treasures.”

For more information about Harford County’s historic preservation program visit: http:///www.harfordcountymd.gov/2029/historic-preservation.

For more information about the CLG program, visit https://mht.maryland.gov/grants_clg.shtml.

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