No City can hope to understand its present or forecast its future if it fails to recognize its past. By tracing and preserving its past, a City can gain a clear sense of the process by which it achieved its present form and substance. Arcata's rich and varied historical and cultural resources include buildings, structures, objects, sites, landscapes, districts, archaeological sites, and traditional cultural properties that possess historical, scientific, architectural, aesthetic, cultural, or ethnic significance.
Although not always easily distinguishable, these resources, with their inherent ability to evoke the past, represent important aspects of the history of Arcata and the region. They include evidence from the time before and during European contact with Native Americans of this area, examples from the periods of development in and around the City's core, early transportation routes and the spread of development outward, through both world wars and beyond. The identification, evaluation, registration, and protection of these resources, and thereby the preservation of Arcata's past for its current and future residents, are the essential components of Arcata's historical preservation program. This Element includes policies intended to guide the preservation of Arcata’s past, with more specific regulatory guidance provided in the City’s Zoning Ordinance.