36 CFR 65.1 - Purpose and authority.
The purpose of the National Historic Landmarks Program is to identify and designate National Historic Landmarks, and encourage the long range preservation of nationally significant properties that illustrate or commemorate the history and prehistory of the United States. These regulations set forth the criteria for establishing national significance and the procedures used by the Department of the Interior for conducting the National Historic Landmarks Program.
(a) In the Historic Sites Act of 1935 ( 45 Stat. 666, 16 U.S.C. 461et seq.) the Congress declared that it is a national policy to preserve for public use historic sites, buildings and objects of national significance for the inspiration and benefit of the people of the United States and
(b) To implement the policy, the Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to perform the following duties and functions, among others:
(1) To make a survey of historic and archeological sites, buildings and objects for the purpose of determining which possess exceptional value as commemorating or illustrating the history of the United States;
(2) To make necessary investigations and researches in the United States relating to particular sites, buildings or objects to obtain true and accurate historical and archeological facts and information concerning the same; and
(3) To erect and maintain tablets to mark or commemorate historic or prehistoric places and events of national historical or archeological significance.