The National Register of Historic Places, established in 1966, is the nation’s official list of historical sites, buildings, districts, structures, and objects of local and state historical significance. Queen Creek is home to one such building; the Rittenhouse Elementary School named after Charles Rittenhouse and used for classes from 1925 to 1982.
The National Register serves as a means for identifying places that are of special significance to a community and worthy of preservation. Designation on the National Register is an honor, providing the community with a sense of pride in the public significance of a landmark. The Arizona State Historic Preservation Office and other agencies regularly engage in surveys of historic cultural resources.
Generally, properties eligible for listing in the National Register are at least 50 years old. If the property appears to meet the criteria, and also meets standards regarding its physical condition, the property is considered potentially eligible for listing in the National Register. Listing of a building affords it a certain prestige which can raise community awareness and pride. It does not prevent remodeling, repairing, altering, even demolishing a building, nor does it provide assurance that a federal or state project cannot adversely affect a listed property. This is why it’s important for the community to closely monitor its historic treasures.
Thanks to the efforts of the San Tan Historical Society members and volunteers, the Rittenhouse Elementary School was placed on the Arizona Historical Registry in 1990, and accepted by the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. We encourage everyone to visit the historic Rittenhouse School, home and museum of the San Tan Historical Society, to learn more about Charles Rittenhouse, other local historic landmarks, and the histories of Queen Creek, Higley, Combs, and Chandler Heights.
For more information on State Historic Preservation programs and the National Register of Historic Places, please visit http://www.pr.state.az.us/partnerships/shpo/shpo_nr.html