Persistence is the most characteristic attribute of long-term memory (LTM). To understand LTM, we must understand how memory traces persist over time despite the short-lived nature and rapid turnover of their molecular substrates. It is widely accepted that LTM formation is dependent upon hippocampal de novo protein synthesis and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) signaling during or early after acquisition. Here we show that 12 hr after acquisition of a one-trial associative learning task, there is a novel protein synthesis and BDNF-dependent phase in the rat hippocampus that is critical for the persistence of LTM storage. Our findings indicate that a delayed stabilization phase is specifically required for maintenance, but not formation, of the memory trace. We propose that memory formation and memory persistence share some of the same molecular mechanisms and that recurrent rounds of consolidation-like events take place in the hippocampus for maintenance of the memory trace.