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Glossary of Historic Sites and Districts Terms

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adaptive use-The reuse of a building or structure, usually for a purpose different from the original. The term implies that certain structural or design changes have been made to the building in order for it to function in its new use. Examples might include a commercial building now used for apartments, or a house now used as a funeral parlor.

alteration-Any act or process that changes any portion of the exterior architectural appearance or exceptionally significant interiors of a building, structure or object, including, but not limited to, the erection, construction, reconstruction, or removal of any exterior feature.

antebellum-Latin, "before war"; used in archeology, architecture, and history to refer to the period before the American Civil War. See also postbellum.
archeology-The scientific study of the physical remains of past human life, including prehistoric and historic societies.

archeological site-A concentration of archeological resources, including artifacts (human-made objects), ecofacts (bone, shell, plant remains), or modifications to the landscape (e.g., terraces, vegetative elements, mounds, trenches) that provide information on past human activities. Archeological sites may include structures; however, unlike historic properties such as houses, the location of an archeological site is not always apparent. Archeological sites may qualify to become historic sites if they meet the criteria of Subtitle 29-104, after review by the Historic Preservation Commission and an amendment to the Historic Sites and Districts Plan or to an area master plan or sector plan.

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balustrade-A railing, often constructed around porches, with a horizontal handrail on top and a row of individual vertical members (or balusters) below.

building-A structure created principally to shelter any
form of human activity, such as a house.

burial grounds-A term used to describe tracts of land for
burial of the dead.

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catslide roof-A roof with one side longer than the other, continuing at the same pitch over a building extension. A house referred to as a saltbox will also have this type of roof.

cemetery-A burial ground set apart that contains graves, tombs, markers or funeral urns.

character-defining feature-A prominent or distinctive aspect, quality, or characteristic of a historic property or historic district that contributes significantly to its physical character. Structures, objects, vegetation, spatial
relationships, views, furnishings, decorative details, and materials may be such features. See also significant features.

circa-Latin for "around" is used when an exact date is not known. For example, "The house was built circa 1840." May also be abbreviated as "c." as in "c. 1840."

clapboards-Also called weatherboards, clapboards are the exterior covering of frame buildings in which overlapping wood boards are placed horizontally.
Pronounced "klăb’erd." See also German siding.

Colonial Revival-An architectural style beginning in the late 19th century and continuing to the present day that was inspired by the study of American colonial building styles. Examples of historic Colonial Revival buildings
abound in College Park, University Park, Hyattsville, and across the county. Colonial Revival buildings frequently employ design cues such as columns,
multipane windows, paneled doors, shutters, gable roofs, and brick chimneys.

contributing-A classification applied to a site, structure or object within a historic property or district signifying that it generally shares, along with most
of the other sites, structures or objects, the qualities that demonstrate cultural, historic, architectural, or archeological significance as embodied by the criteria for designating a historic site or district. These resources are of the highest importance in maintaining the character of the historic district. Typically, contributing resources have been modified very little over time. See also

cornice-A molded projection extending across the top of a wall or forming the top element of a door or window frame.

cruciform-Used here to describe the plan of a building, usually a church, in the shape of a cross; two straight line segments intersecting at right angles.

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façade-Any of the exterior faces of a building; often refers to the architectural front, which is distinguished from other walls by its degree of elaboration or as the location of the principal entrance.

fish-scale shingles-Individual wood shingles with a curved end, which when laid together form the appearance of a fish’s scales.

Flemish bond-A brick wall with a pattern of alternatingheaders and stretchers at each course. Often, someof the headers are burned or glazed black to form a decorative pattern on the facade.

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German siding-Also known as drop siding, it is a flatfaced board with a concave top and notched bottom. German siding is installed by nailing the notched bottom of the upper board over the concave top of the lower board in a staggered joint pattern. German siding is very common on 19th and 20th century frame buildings throughout the county. See also clapboards.

Greek Revival-A style of architecture based on Classic Greek temples; used for both public buildings and houses, common in Prince George’s County from circa 1820–1860.

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historic-Mentioned, celebrated, or having influence in history.

Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)-Architectural and engineering documentation programs of the National Park Service that produce a thorough archival record of buildings, engineering structures, and cultural landscapes.

historic district-A geographically definable area, urban or rural, possessing a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures or objects united by past events or aesthetically by plan or physical development. County historic districts may be designated by the Historic Preservation Commission or (or by plan amendment) by the County Council based on recommendations from the Historic Preservation Commission; National Register Districts are listed by the National Park Service in the National Register of Historic Places. County historic districts are protected by the Historic Preservation Ordinance, but National Register districts have no local regulatory controls.

historic fabric-The particular materials, ornamentation and architectural features that together define the historic character of a historic building.

historic preservation-Also known as heritage conservation, is a professional endeavor that seeks to preserve, conserve, and protect buildings, objects, landscapes, or other artifacts of historic significance.

Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)-The Prince George’s County Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), appointed by the County Executive,
administers the provisions of the Prince George’s County Historic Preservation Ordinance (Subtitle 29 of the Prince George’s County Code) and the county’s preservation tax credit program. The HPC’s responsibilities are to protect the historic resources, historic sites, and historic districts listed in the county Inventory of historic resources.

Historic Preservation Ordinance-Subtitle 29 of the Annotated Code of Prince George’s County "Preservation of Historic Resources" establishes the
Historic Preservation Commission and its powers and duties.

historic register-A vernacular term referring to any local, state, national, or international list of significant sites, districts, buildings, or objects. Examples include the National Register of Historic Places and the World Heritage List.

historic register criteria-Generally refers to the standards that a site, district, building, or object must meet in order to be listed in a historic register.

historic resource-(1) as defined in the Historic Preservation Ordinance, a historic resource is a historic property listed in the county Inventory of Historic Resources; (2) any site, building, structure, or object that is part of, or constitutes, a historic property; (3) anything of cultural or economic value, including the natural environment.

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integrity-The authenticity of physical characteristics from which historic resources obtain their significance. Integrity is the composite of seven qualities: location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and
association. When historic properties retain integrity, they are able to convey their association with events, people, and designs from the past.

Inventory of Historic Resources-The inventory of identified and protected historic resources in Prince George’s County associated with the Historic Sites and Districts Plan.

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Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties-A broad-based repository of information on districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects of known or potential value to the prehistory, history, upland and underwater archeology, architecture, engineering, or culture of the 262 State of Maryland. The inventory was created shortly after the Maryland Historical Trust was founded in 1961, and now includes data on more than 8,000 archeological sites and 80,000 historic and architectural resources. Inclusion in the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties involves no regulatory restrictions or controls.

Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Created by the Maryland General Assembly in 1927 to develop and operate public park systems and provide land use planning for the physical development of most of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.

mortar-The material used to fill the joints of masonry.Various mixtures are used, including adobe, cement mortar, hydraulic mortar, and lime sand mortar. The main function of mortar is to evenly transfer the loads downward through the masonry units.

muntin-A secondary framing member that holds individual panes of glass within a window or glazed door.

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National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)-The list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, or culture maintained by the Secretary of the Interior under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

noncontributing-A classification applied to a site, structure, or object within a historic property or district indicating that it is not representative of the qualities that give the historic property or district cultural, historic, architectural, or archeological significance as embodied by the criteria for designating the historic property or district. Buildings constructed after the property or district’s period of significance, or dating from the property or district’s period of significance but that have undergone significant alterations, usually
comprise this classification. See also contributing.

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ordinary maintenance-For a historic site, ordinary maintenance is work that does not alter exterior features. Ordinary maintenance will have no material effect on the historical, architectural, cultural, or archeological value of a historic resource within a historic district. This definition applies to appurtenances and environmental settings. Ordinary maintenance is usually not subject to review by the Historic Preservation Commission.

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pent-A secondary structure with a shed roof built against the main part of a building. Used here to refer to the enclosed spaced between a pair of chimneys.

period of significance-That period of time in which a historic property achieved significance. The period may be as short as one year, as in the case of an architecturally significant property built in a given year. A property can also have achieved significance during several distinct periods of time, as in the case of an archeological site. In the case of a historic district, or a complex of buildings and features, the date of significance is the date of the oldest building within the boundaries of the property proposed for nomination. The ending date of the period of significance is the time by which significant
development of the property, or the property’s importance, ended.

PG ID-The eight- or nine-digit number identifying a resource on the Inventory of Historic Resources in Prince George’s County. For example, 66-021-01
identifies a property within Planning Area 66, within historic community 021, with the individual site number 01. Each documented property in the county
has a unique PG ID number.

planning area-The name given to a specific geographic area within Prince George’s County for planning purposes. Within the county there are 34 planning areas of roughly equal size. All documented properties are
identified in part by the planning area in which they are located. For example, the number 87B-001-01 denotes a property in planning area 87B. See also PG ID.

pointing-The material with which joints in a masonry wall are filled. Also the process of placing mortar in a masonry joint as the units are laid up; repointing refers to removing an outer portion of deteriorated mortar and refilling the joint with new mortar.

postbellum-Latin, "after war"; specifically refers to the period after the American Civil War. See also antebellum; Reconstruction.

Pratt truss-A bridge truss with rectangular or trapezoidal panels formed by vertical posts, a top chord in compression and a bottom chord in tension; diagonal ties slope downward toward the center. See the Duvall Bridge
(64-002), Governors Bridge (74B-001) and Queen Anne Bridge (74B-012), Historic Sites.

preservation-The act or process of applying measures to sustain the existing form, integrity, and material of a building or structure, and the existing form and vegetative cover of a site. It may include initial stabilization work, where necessary, as well as ongoing maintenance of the historic building materials.

preservation easement-A voluntary legal agreement that provides a significant historic, archeological, or cultural resource. An easement provides assurance to the owner of a historic or cultural property that its intrinsic values will be preserved through subsequent ownership. In addition, the owner may obtain substantial tax benefits. Once recorded, an easement becomes a part of the property’s chain of title and usually "runs with the land" in perpetuity, thus binding not only the owner who grants the easement but all future owners as well. (National Park Service, Historic Preservation Tax Incentives, Technical Preservation Services). A preservation easement is conveyed to and held by a nonprofit organization or governmental agency, which has the right and obligation to monitor the property and enforce the terms of the easement. The terms and conditions of each easement are established by the document creating the easement and may vary in purpose and nature of restrictions, though they may contain similar terms.

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Queen Anne-A style of architecture popular in the United States from about 1880–1910. Distinctive essential features of American Queen Anne style
include an asymmetrical facade; dominant front-facing gable, round, square, or polygonal tower(s); shaped and Dutch gables; a porch covering part or all of the front facade, including the primary entrance area; a second-story porch or balconies; pedimented porches; differing wall textures, such as patterned wood shingles shaped into varying designs, including resembling fish scales, wooden shingles over brickwork, etc; dentils; classical columns; spindle work; oriel and bay windows; horizontal bands of leaded windows; monumental chimneys; white painted balustrades; and slate roofs.

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reconstruction-The act or process of reproducing by new construction the exact form and detail of a vanished building, structure, or object, or a part thereof, as it appeared at a specific period of time.

Reconstruction or Reconstruction Era-In U.S. history, the period 1865–77 after the Civil War during which the nation was reunited under the federal government after the defeat of the Southern Confederacy.

rehabilitation-The act or process of returning a property to a state of utility through repair or alteration that makes possible an efficient contemporary use while preserving those portions or features of the property that are significant to its historical, architectural, and cultural values.

The act of moving a historic resource. Relocation is discouraged because the significance of properties is often intrinsic to their historic settings.
A historic building should be moved only as a last resort to avoid demolition.

remodeling-See renovation

renovation-The process of repairing and changing an existing building for contemporary use so that it is functionally equal to a new building. The terms
renovation and remodeling are generally not used in historic preservation, unless the renovation occurred during the property’s period of significance.

repointing-See pointing and mortar.

restoration-The process or product of returning, as nearly as possible, an existing site, building, structure, or object to its condition at a particular time in its history, using the same construction materials and methods as the
original, where possible.

revival-The term used to describe later interpretations of historic architectural styles. If the building was designed after the original style period, "Revival" is added to the style name. Examples include Greek Revival and Colonial Revival.

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sash-The perimeter frame of a window, including the horizontal rails and vertical stiles that hold the glass panes; it may be movable or fixed.

Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, The-A set of ten standards established by the National Park Service to serve as general guidelines for preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction projects nationwide. They can be applied to all types of structures, buildings, and sites.

significance-The importance of a historic property as defined by the National Register criteria in one or more areas of significance; in particular, for archeological sites, it means retaining integrity of context.

significant features-Those features of a historic building that give it its historic character. Examples of significant features include, but are not limited to, windows, roof materials and configuration, and porches. Significant features can also include finishes, such as paint or other decoration. Also known as character-defining features.

Stick style-An architectural style popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in America; it sought to bring a translation of the balloon framing used in houses in the era by alluding to them through plaintrim boards, soffits, aprons, and other decorative features, while eliminating overtly ornate features such as rounded towers and gingerbread trim. Recognizable details include the wraparound porch, spindle detailing, the "panelled" sectioning of blank walls, crown detailing along the roof peaks, and radiating spindle details at the gable peaks.

structure-Any kind of human construction; often used to refer to an engineering work, such as a bridge or monument, as opposed to a building. For National Register purposes, it means a functional construction made for purposes other than creating shelter.

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vergeboard-One of a pair of sloped boards at the edge of a projecting eave at a gable end, often decoratively carved or scrolled.

vernacular building-A building designed without the aid of an architect or trained designer; also, buildings whose design is based on a particular ethnic and/or regional building tradition.

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water table-The projecting decorative molding of a masonry wall at the point where the wall thickens, often just below the first floor joist.

wrought iron-Iron with a small amount of carbon used for decorative hardware and iron work.

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