The National Register of Historic Places was established under
the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) and is an
official list of significant state, local, and national historic
properties. To be eligible for listing on the National Register,
properties must meet certain criteria and possess “integrity”—the
essential physical features which illustrate the historic significance.
National Register properties may be single buildings or sites or
may include multiple properties in a district. According to the
provisions of NHPA and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA),
federal agencies must take into account the effects of their undertakings
on properties which are eligible for listing on the National Register.
A National Historic Landmark is a historic property or district
that has been recognized for possessing exceptional value in interpreting
the heritage of the United States. Fewer than 2,500 of these landmarks
presently exist across the United States. National Historic Landmarks
(NHL’s) are also listed on the National Register of Historic
Places; however, only a small proportion of National Register properties
are National Historic Landmarks. What sets the NHL’s apart
is their significance on a national level and their recognition
by the Secretary of the Interior specifically for that significance.
In 1985, portions of the original Ladd Field were designated a
National Historic Landmark in recognition of Ladd’s World
War II contribution to cold weather testing, its role as an air
depot, and its use as the transfer point for ALSIB Lend-Lease aircraft.
The Ladd Field NHL is a multiple property district encompassing
the core permanent buildings around the North Post, the airfield,
the Birchwood hangars, and Butler warehouses. The Ladd Field NHL
facilities are currently in use by the Army and are subject to the
full range of Army regulations and mission priorities.
In 1947, Ladd Field was renamed Ladd Air Force Base. It played
a significant role in Cold War air defense, strategic reconnaissance,
and Arctic research. The Ladd AFB Historic District recognizes the
significance of Cold War events at the base between 1947 and 1961,
when the installation was turned over to the Army. Although the
footprint of this district overlaps the Ladd Field NHL, it is a
separate entity. Unlike the WWII resources, the Cold War district
is not a National Historic Landmark. Properties in the Cold War
district must be managed as recognized historic properties under
NHPA and NEPA but are not designated with NHL status. These facilities
are also currently in use serving present-day mission requirements.
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