As outlined in the historic preservation ordinance, the primary purpose of the Wake County Historic Preservation Commission is to safeguard the heritage of the county, including its municipalities, by preserving districts and landmarks that embody important elements of its culture, history, architectural history or prehistory; and to promote the use and conservation of such districts and landmarks for the education, pleasure and enrichment of the residents of the county and state as a whole. The goals of the county's historic preservation program are to fulfill this charge to the Historic Preservation Commission and to integrate preservation concepts in the county's planning program.
To implement the goals of the preservation program, the primary activities are to:
  • Initiate and recommend properties for designation as historic landmarks
  • Review Certificates of Appropriateness
  • Keep the historic architecture survey up to date and maintain the historic resources database
  • Initiate National Register listing and comment on National Register nominations
  • Develop a historic preservation plan and ensure that historic resources are recognized in county and municipal plans
  • Provide information to the public about the county's preservation program and historic resources.


Effective March 1, 2003, Wake County began contracting with Capital Area Preservation, Inc. (CAP), to provide historic preservation programming. CAP is the only countywide historic preservation organization dedicated to protecting Wake County's historic resources.
The Wake County Historic Preservation Commission (WHPC) continues to be appointed by the Board of Commissioners and remains responsible for designation of historic landmark properties and review of Certificate of Appropriateness (CA) applications within the county and all of its municipalities, with the exception of Raleigh and Wake Forest. CAP provides staff support to the WHPC. CAP also undertakes a variety of educational initiatives to complement the County's existing historic preservation activities. Initiatives include historic landmark tours, publication of a newsletter and a website. Additionally, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, CAP can place protective covenants on historic properties. All questions regarding the County's historic preservation program or its historic resources should be directed to CAP at 919-833-6404.
Also on March 1, 2003, Wake County and the City of Raleigh began a four-month transition period while the City prepared to assume full responsibility for administration of historic landmarks within the City. Previously, the WHPC reviewed landmarks and CA applications in Raleigh if the properties were located outside one of Raleigh's five locally designated historic districts. The Raleigh Historic Districts Commission (RHDC) reviewed only those landmark CA applications within a historic district. That arrangement was confusing to the public and City and County staff.
Beginning July 1, 2003, all landmark and CA applications within Raleigh's planning jurisdiction will be handled by the RHDC. The commission can be reached at 919-832-7238.
Wake Forest has had its own historic preservation commission since the 1970s, and the town will continue to maintain its program. All inquiries within the Wake Forest jurisdiction should be directed to 919-554-6140.