The journey to becoming a nationally recognized historic site begins at the National Register of Historic Places, the agency that determines if a landmark or location deserves to be so called. The National Register lists the buildings, sites, structures, districts and even objects that have been deemed significant in American culture, archaeology, history, engineering, architecture, and culture. These locations also bear the distinction of being so honored because of their contribution to their community, state, and/or the nation. And no doubt local residents feel a special pride when they notice that a part of their lives that they may have loved and believed to be iconic has been acknowledged in this very public way.
In terms of how a property or location becomes a national historic place, it is nominated by a public agency, if it is owned or controlled by the United States government or by Tribal Historic Preservation Officers for properties located on Tribal grounds. For private properties, individuals and organizations can nominate them, as well as local governments. From there, the professional review board of the resident state evaluates the proposed property and makes a recommendation on its eligibility.