The records of the South Carolina Statewide Survey of Historic Properties include information on over 82,000 historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and landscapes. The records include documentation on properties in every county within the state. Relatively few properties have been recorded in some counties, while thousands have been recorded in others. Most survey records are available for public use, for further information see the Consultant's Guide to Survey and National Register Files (PDF). The location of sensitive or endangered sites, however, may be restricted.
A historic resources survey is the process of systematically identifying historic properties within the boundaries of a specific geographical area, documenting their location and physical characteristics, and evaluating their significance within an appropriate historical context.
In some cases, survey documentation may be the only record of buildings and structures that have been destroyed since they were surveyed. As such, it provides an important glimpse into the lives of past generations.
The Survey Process: A Continuing Need
The Statewide Survey is an ongoing process. Many architecturally and historically significant resources have yet to be documented, and comprehensive surveys have not been conducted in many parts of the state. Also as time passes, some properties achieve significance and others are altered or destroyed. These changes must be recorded so that the survey records are accurate and up-to-date.
Survey Guidance (PDFs)
Survey Manual: Statewide Survey of Historic Properties (New, released December 2018, revised August 2019 Errata, revised hyperlinks September 2020; revised August 2022 Errata)
Request a blank copy of SHPO's Master Survey Database (New version, released November 2017)
SHPO Survey Form (New version, released November 2017)
Electronic Submission Requirements for Planning Surveys and Review & Compliance Surveys (New, released November 2017; revised December 2018, August 2019, and September 2021)
Survey Finding Aid
A finding aid index to the survey records with brief information about each survey is listed below by county. Survey records are available by request through the Research Room at the SC Archives and History Center, or via the SC Historic Properties Record (SCHPR) and SC Electronic Records Archive (SCERA), our searchable web portals that contain an increasing number of digitized survey and National Register records. See also Historic Contexts/Survey Reports for select countywide, municipal, and thematic survey reports. Finding aid orientation document.
NOTE: The records of the statewide archaeological survey are maintained by the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA). The inventory includes data on more than 33,000 archaeological sites. Information about using the archaeological site files is available on the SCIAA website.
Select a County to view the finding aid index (PDFs):