Throughout my internship, I have been looking through several county interim reports. County Interim reports began in 1971 when the Indiana State Legislature authorized creation of a state preservation program within the Department of Natural Resources, and the Department's director was designated as the SHPO. The first full-time staff was hired in 1973, and the comprehensive survey program began in earnest in 1975. In 1978, an initial five-county survey project was completed by Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana utilizing federal grants-in-aid administered by the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. An average of four counties has been inventoried by the Foundation each year since then.
Uses of the Survey Upon completion of any county inventory, all original survey forms, maps, and photographs are submitted to the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. The inventory is used extensively by the Division in administering the state and federal programs for historic preservation, particularly the environmental review process put into place by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, requiring the review of all federal projects potentially affecting historic resources. By examining the inventory data, the Division staff can see whether any historically significant properties are located within the area to be impacted by the proposed project and steps can be taken to mitigate that impact. The Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology also uses the survey in the nomination process for the National Register of Historic Places.
The survey form is designed to indicate which properties are likely to be eligible for the National Register and to provide information that can be used in preparing nominations. When National Register applications are prepared by owners or other interested citizens, the Division uses the survey data to evaluate the property's significance relative to others that have also been recorded in the inventory and to check the completeness of the information provided. The survey data is used by other governmental agencies and organizations involved in project planning and development to forewarn them if historic properties will be affected by their projects. The inventory and its summary report also serve to boost private citizens' awareness of the cultural heritage present in their own communities. Finally, the inventory materials provide a permanent historical record of a county's resources at a particular point in time. The inventory materials are made a part of the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology archival records.
Several county Interim reports have be digitized for the Wilbur D. Peat Collection, check the reports here, there are still some that need to be digitized. Digitizing the reports, making them accessible and searchable increases the chances of scholars furthering their research on Indiana Architecture. You can find more information about Indiana Landmarks and their mission here.