Best Practices

Architectural Examples, Successful Projects and Good Infill

| Armories | Barns | Baseball Fields | Bridges | Chain Hotels | College Campuses | Conservatories/Greenhouses |
High Rise | Institutional Buildings | Jails | Labor History Sites | Linear Features | Medical Clinics | Outdoor Ampitheaters |
Streetscapes | Surrender Sites| Theater Seating | Trailers/Mobile Home Parks | Wood Grain Elevators|


Armories

Colorado:
http://www.bouldercoloradousa.com/docs/Walking_Tour%20Map.pdf (page 4)
http://boulderarmory.com/

Georgia:
http://www.scad.edu/savannah/visit/tour/aca_poetter.cfm

Maryland:
www.waterfowlfestival.org
http://www.harfordhistory.net/fotobelair.htm

Massachusetts:
www.denix.osd.mil/denix/Public/ES-Programs/Conservation/Legacy/Still-Serving/stillserving.html

Michigan:
http://www.bouma.com/blog/?page_id=78

New York:
http://www.armoryonpark.org/index.php
http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/22/nyregion/22armory.html

Oklahoma:
http://www.route66interpretivecenter.org.

Virginia:
http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/richmond/FirstBattalionArmory.html

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Barns

Missouri has recently started our first nonprofit barn alliance, Missouri BARN (Barn Alliance and Rural Network). The group has a number of goals, one of which is a rural survey program that primarily focuses on barns. Does anyone have a good example of what their state is doing with rural or barn surveys? Do any states have programs that specialize in historic barns?

Connecticut

The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation has good barn program
Web: www.cttrust.org

Iowa

One of the qualifying structures for the Iowa Historic Tax Credit program is a barn built prior to 1937.

Washington State

Check out the Washington Heritage Barn Preservation Initiative...a tremendous success!
http://www.dahp.wa.gov/pages/HistoricSites/HeritageBarnRegister.htm

Maine

In Maine the survey and preservation of barns (rural or otherwise) has been a priority for about 10 years. In 1999 we developed a Barn Preservation Grant Program for privately owned barns which are listed in the National Register. Sadly, we’ve only been able to fund three rounds of grants in that time – the last was in 2006. The funding is dependent on either state bonds or legislative appropriations and in both cases, the Barn Grants are a very small subset of a larger grant program that covers seven branches of cultural agencies within state government. Average grants have been about $5,000, the property owners have to match that amount, and the work has to meet SOI Standards. Based on the economy, I doubt the program will receive funding again in the near future.

In order to evaluate the relative significance of barns for listing in the Register we developed specific Barn and Farmstead survey forms. These have been in use since 2002, and we require all surveyors (Section 106 or grant funded) to use them. The forms are also distributed to property owners who wish to be considered for the grant program, although I think we only get about a 15% return rate. Even though I designed the forms I will be the first to acknowledge that they are not great – they were too closely based on our regular survey forms – but we now probably have several thousand barns recorded. Someday I hope to put together a barn MPDF for different parts of the state.

The National Barn Alliance developed barn survey forms a few years ago which are much better. http://www.barnalliance.org/documentation.html

Kansas

For larger scale barn and rural property surveys, we utilized HPF monies a couple years ago to survey over 300 barns and agricultural properties in the state and produce a multiple property documentation form to provide the historic context for these properties in our state. The MPDF is available to read online at http://www.kshs.org/resource/national_register/ if you are interested. We hope to continue adding to the survey information gathered to date and encourage more property owners to nominate their properties to the state and/or national registers.

There is a statewide non-profit dedicated to barn preservation in Kansas. See the Kansas Barn Alliance website at: http://kansasbarnalliance.org/

In partnership with the Kansas Barn Alliance, the Kansas SHPO has surveyed over 300 barns and farmsteads across the state over the last 3 years or so. The report is available at this link: http://www.kshs.org/resource/Survey/barnssurveyreport.pdf

The survey project was also featured in our agency's quarterly magazine: http://www.kshs.org/resource/ks_preservation/kpjulaug08.pdf

Maryland

In response to the 2004 listing of Southern Maryland Tobacco Barns on the National Trust's 11 Most Endangered list, the Maryland Historical Trust worked with NTHP, Preservation Maryland and the five Southern Maryland counties to raise awareness of and preserve tobacco barns. These structures are particularly threatened due to economic forces, development pressure from Washington DC, and the State of Maryland's tobacco buyout program which paid farmers not to grow tobacco. Using SAT and other funds we created a tobacco barn restoration that provided grants to private owners to rehab their barns. After three rounds of grants the funding ran out and is not likely to be replenished. We also completed a historic context report, multiple property NR nomination, and measured drawings of the most significant barns.

The Maryland General Assembly established an agricultural buildings grant fund several years ago, but it has never been funded. While barns are surveyed as part of our general historic sites survey program, there is no separate effort to document barns or agricultural buildings.

Michigan

Contact the Michigan Barn Preservation Network. Their website is http://www.mibarn.net/. Here is a link to their barn and farmstead survey page http://michiganbarns.org/

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Baseball

While we gnash our teeth over inaccurate reports, I want to talk about baseball. And fields that have been listed, their integrity and association with players. I visited yesterday the field Stan Musial played on when he started in minor league in Williamson, WV. By googling, I found a mention that Stan the Man stayed at the Frederick Hotel in St. Louis, but that wasn't the specific reason for listing, so what examples can folks share with me about minor league baseball - what gets listed for association with early players. Many thanks, and let's eat some Cracker Jack!


Arkansas

Lamar Porter Athletic Field Lamar Porter Athletic Field (Little Rock - Pulaski County)
W. 7th & S. Johnson Sts.
1936 Works Progress Administration-built baseball field
Listed in National Register of Historic Places on 12/6/1990.

Taylor Field Taylor Field (Pine Bluff - Jefferson County)
1204 E. 16th Street
1939-1940 Works Progress Administration-built baseball field.
Listed in National Register of Historic Places on 1/21/2010.

Virginia

Calfee Athletic Field is one of our most intact 1930s minor league stadiums (listed).

Nomination:
http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Pulaski/125-0102_Calfee_A
thletic_Field_2000_Final_Nomination.pdf

Image:
http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Pulaski/CalfeeAthleticFie
ld_Photo.htm

Wisconsin

Carson Park Baseball Stadium in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Associated with Hank Aaron, who played there in the minors in 1952.
http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/hp/register/viewSummary.asp?refnum=03000698

 

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Bridges

Concrete Arches | Eligibility | Preservation

Bridge Eligibility

We are debating the eligibility of a bridge. We are reviewing the replacement (demolition) of a truss bridge in which some of the truss members have been replaced. According to the highway dept., the appearance matches the original to the “untrained eye.” Essentially, to me this is replacement in kind. So is the integrity compromised?
What do you look at regarding integrity issues when reviewing bridge projects?

Colorado

I suggest that you apply the rehabilitation standard and consider the preservation brief that allows for substitute materials that are acceptable, primarily on the basis of the visual characteristics associated with size, materiality, color, etc.

Florida

We had this question come up a little while back for several bridges in Florida. We talked to the "Bridge Guy" with the National Register office in DC and he agreed that as long as it is replacement in-kind over time, not a wholesale non-historic reconstruction/rehabilitation, the integrity of a bridge is not compromised, like any other type of historic property. If the rehab/reconst work on a bridge is now 50+ years of age, etc., it could be possibly eligible in its current state. A bridge over water (particularly saltwater) or an environmentally wet setting especially, has to be be repaired frequently and metal or wooden members must often be replaced over time.

Bridge Preservation

Missouri :

Owned by the city of Madison, IL, the Chain of Rocks Bridge (1929) connects Missouri and Illinois over the Mississippi River. Located just north of St. Louis, the bridge closed to auto traffic several years ago. Trailnet leased the bridge beginning in 1997 and raised funds to restore and maintain the bridge for use as a pedestrian/bike trail. Trailnet also uses the site educational programs. More information on this bridge can be found at: http://www.trailnet.org/p_ocorb.php.

In 1982 a flood on Apple Creek in southeast Missouri swept the 1879 pin connected Pratt through truss off its piers and into the creek. The town salvaged the bridge trusses, storing them until funds could be raised to restore and rebuild the bridge in its original location. The bridge was stored and reopened as a pedestrian/bike crossing in 2006 or 2007. This is a very small community who now use the bridge as a tourist attraction and center piece. More information on the bridge restoration project can be found at: http://oldappleton.com/bridge.asp.

New Hampshire:

The towns of Boscawen and Canterbury New Hampshire share a 1907 Parker high truss metal bridge, designed by the outstanding NH engineer John W. Storrs. The bridge was closed to traffic several years ago. The bridge crosses the Merrimack River in a rural area; in the past there was limited interest in rehabbing it for bike / pedestrian and snowmobile use, but none is evident now. The towns consider the bridge to be a safety hazard (an "attractive nuisance" to adventurous swimmers) and are asking the NH DOT to help them demolish it. There appear to be no Corps of Engineers or other federal permits required and therefore no Section 106 review, although the state-level review procedure of RSA 227-C:9 -- http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XIX/227-C/227-C-9.htm -- is applicable. The consulting engineers assert that there is a 40% section loss, but it is mostly in the floor beams, stringers, and joists, which could be replaced, along with the deck, without substantially affecting the bridge's historical and structural significance.

New Jersey:

Raritan Borough & Hillsborough Township,

County Bridge No. EO 801 is commonly called the Nevius Street Bridge over the Raritan River. It is an example of a publicly funded project that owes its success to creative minds who were willing to grapple with a problem until the solutions became simple and obvious.

Constructed in 1886, the Nevius Street Bridge is the oldest metal highway bridge in the County and ranks as one of the oldest and most complete examples of its truss design in the entire State. Individually listed in the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, the bridge served for many years as a link connecting River Road in Hillsborough to Nevius Street in Raritan Borough. But after numerous repairs, it was not possible to strengthen the existing structure to continue to carry vehicular loads or provide sufficient width for current traffic volumes. Replacement of the crossing on an alternate alignment was recommended. The bridge was rehabilitated for pedestrian use and a new bridge was constructed as the replacement crossing for vehicle traffic.

This project cost slightly over $8M and took over a decade from the initial scoping phase. Recognition went to the County of Somerset - and its Board of Chosen Freeholders.

The Elm Street Lenticular Truss Bridge

Photos: http://www.seocom.com/stan/njnasst1.html
Additional info: http://setmar.com/Bridges/Elm/Elm.htm
http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2007/09/historic_bridge_gets_facelift.html

Sources for Concrete Arch Maintenance

Books

Emmons, Peter H.: Concrete Repair and Maintenance Illustrated: Problem Analysis, Repair Strategy, Techniques

Taylor, Frederick W. and Sanford E. Thompson: A Treatise on Concrete Plain and Reinforced

Tilly, Graham: Conservation of Bridges

Organizations

American Concrete Institute
Portland Cement Association

Websites

http://www.wocbookstore.com/w-crv03.html
http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/briefs/presbhom.htm

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Chain Hotels

Hampton Inns

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College Campuses

Colorado:

University of Colorado (Denver)

Connecticut:

Yale University (New Haven)

Delaware:

University of Delaware (Newark)

Georgia:

Valdosta State University (Valdosta)
University of Georgia (Athens)

Illinois:

Northwestern University (Evanston)

New Jersey:

Rutgers University (Highland Park)

New York:

Columbia University (New York City)

North Carolina:

Duke University (Durham)
North Carolina State University (Raleigh)
Peace College (Raleigh)

Pennsylvania:

Gettysburg College (Gettysburg)
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

Rhode Island:

Brown University (Providence)

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Conservatories and Greenhouses

I am working with a friends group on the restoration of a 1882 conservatory that was remodeled in the early 1930's with new technology. There has been talk that it is the oldest western greenhouse/conservatory still extant west of the Mississippi but have nothing to confirm this so I am looking for historic extant greenhouses in the Western States.

California:

http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org/

Missouri:

http://www.towergrovepark.org/
http://www.mobot.org/explore/linnean.asp

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High Rise Buildings (Modern)

We have a mid-1960s apartment building in Omaha that has been vacant for a number of years. It is truly different from any other buiding in Omaha, both in terms of its architecture and the people it served versus other high rise apartment buildings in town. Where the others were all low income housing, this one was market rate and a bit pretentious at that. The architecture defies description to a point, but it is ten stories over a concrete piered plinth, shall we say? It is enveloped in white asbestos panels that apparently weren't watertight from the moment they were installed, according to records of a lawsuit with the manufacturer. It was constructed to complement a slightly earlier building, also not yet 50 years in age, that was a rehabilitation of an old 1919 Sears warehouse. They are attached by the second floor, but the south building is condos and therefore has multiple owners. We have thus far only been discussing eligibility with the owner of the north tower, but clearly their stories are linked.

The north tower is about five or six years under the fifty year cut off, and we are trying to consider what an argument for exceptional significance might be? Have any of you successfully listed any mid-1960s highrise apartment buildings in the National Register? What were your arguments?

The other issue is that its owners have applied for a HUD-FHA secured loan. Do your offices consider federally secured loans to be enough of a federal hook to trigger Section 106 Review?

Michigan: One NR example from Michigan would be the Lafayette Park complex in Detroit with buildings by Mies. The period of signficance is 1956-1963 and it was listed as a district in 1996.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lafayette_Park,_Detroit

http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/detroit/d11.htm

Michigan has asked HUD this question about FHA before and the answer has consistently been no. We do not review FHA-secured loans. I would encourage you to contact your regional HUD office and confirm this, since it is the fed agency that needs to determine whether a particular action is an undertaking. I'll add one little disclaimer - HUD has required us to review mulitfamily projects that receive HUD loan insurance, but not individual-owner FHA-insured properties. Definately check with either your local HUD field environmental officer or the HUD-ACHP person on that.

Oregon: I would talk to your NR reviewer about it. If there is sufficient context, you may not need to make the case for exceptional importance. Five years is close enough to 50, in some cases.

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Institutional Buildings

Massachusetts:

Boston Sanitorium
Foxborough State Hospital

Oregon:

http://www.thevillagetc.com/index.html

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Historic Jails

West Virginia:

In Charles Town, West Virginia, the Jefferson County Jail was rededicated on September 20, 2008 after a multi-year effort to save the building. Designed by A.B. Mullett, the jail is most noted for its role in the coal mine wars. After the Battle of Blair Mountain in southern West Virginia, miners arrested for treason were held in the jail during their 1922 trial.

The County Commission had decided upon demolition of the jail. The building was considered structurally unsound and inappropriate for reuse. Local citizens opposed this decision and the WV SHPO commented according to a state review process. The matter ended up at the WV Supreme Court. County Commission membership changed; the public continued to support reuse of the building. A second structural opinion was more positive than the first. The WV SHPO provided a state development matching grant ($42,000) to replace the roof. The County invested considerable funding and decided to adaptively reuse the building. Having toured the building both before and after, it is a beautiful project. The portion of the building once used as the jailer’s residence is now office space. The majority of the cells were removed. There is a courtroom and record storage space also.

For more information, check out http://www.savethejail.org/index.html and the following local news article, http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/510499.html?nav=5006.

Frances Morgan is the current President of the Commission. Their contact information is found at http://www.jeffersoncountywv.org/jcc.html

Massachusetts:

Boston's Charles Street Jail, is now the Liberty Hotel, a luxury hotel. The article indicates it received state and federal tax credits. In a nod to the building's past, jail cells were preserved within areas now housing the hotel's restaurants/bars, named "Clink", "Alibi" and "Scampo" (Italian for "escape"). http://libertyhotel1-px.rtrk.com/

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Labor History Sites

New Mexico SHPO received an inquiry about National Register eligibility for the Union Hall of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Local 890 in Hanover, NM. Events related to the Empire Zinc Mine Strike from Oct 1950 - Feb 1952, took place at the Union Hall. The strike was the subject of the 1954 movie Salt of the Earth. NM SHPO is looking for National Register nominations for properties related to labor strikes, to assist the property owner and our office in determining eligibility and advising on an approach for a National Register nomination.

Montana: Butte-Anaconda NHL is a labor history landmark too. Here's the NPS link: http://www.nps.gov/history/nhl/designations/samples/mt/Butte-Anaconda.pdf

New Jersey: The Pietro and Maria Botto House in Haledon, NJ is a National Historic Landmark associated with the 1913 Paterson Silk Strike. It is also the current home of the American Labor Museum. Here are some links to more information on the resource:

http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1455&ResourceType=Building

http://labormuseum.net/

Nevada: Consider looking at the National Historic Landmark nomination for the Ludlow Massacre site (it has a good context). Also, NPS has a Labor History theme study for the Landmark program.

Virginia: We have recent nomination that focuses on the 1917 Women Wage Earner’s Association (WWEA) strike at the American Cigar Company (stemmery) in Norfolk.

http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Cities/Norfolk/122-0658_American_Cigar_Company_Stemmery_2009_NR_FINAL.pdf

http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Cities/Norfolk/122-0658_Amer.Cigar.Co.photos.htm

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Linear Features

I am curious as to how other State Historic Preservation Offices record linear features/properties. Are you recording them on archaeological site forms, historic site forms, or do you have special forms for linear features? Do you divide them by type e.g. railroads - historic form, prehistoric trails - archaeological site form? Is it based on current use verses abandonment? What if a linear feature is both archaeological and historic? Abandoned irrigation ditches verses those in use? We would like to know more about your system for recording linear features/properties. when you record linear features, how far do you measure out the width of the linear feature from its centerline? For example, West Virginia has a rail road line that was determined eligible, but the official DOE did not identify clearly the boundary. the line is now within an area of a Section 106 undertaking. The federal agency is trying to assess the area of potential effect.

Arkansas: We have done a lot of surveying of road segments in Arkansas, and they have been recorded on our regular resource form. One road segment I recorded also had an archaeological component, and I completed one of our resource forms plus one of the state archaeological site forms for that one. In Arkansas, it has depended on the width of the resource. The pavement on some of our early highways was only about ten feet wide, but by the late 1920s the pavement was 18 feet wide. In the road segments we have listed, the distance from the centerline has included the pavement plus some buffer on each side, so it would depend on the width of the pavement.

California: In California we use a primary record (DPR 523A) to record basic information about the property along with a linear feature record (DPR 523E). These forms are on our website at http://www.ohp.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1069.

Florida: Florida incorporates most linear resources into our Resource Group Form, which was originally designed to handle districts. This allows us to designate contributing resources to things like a rail corridor district. We do note the type of linear resource on the form (generally Road, Rail or Canal). That’s the easy part, now… the rest of the story. If a linear resource is in ruinous condition or abandoned, it may get recorded on an archaeological form (much the same way a building may deteriorate into an archaeological site at some point). This call is made on a case by case basis. For some resources, such as prehistoric canals (of which there are a number in Florida), we generally use archaeological forms.

The bottom line is that these resources do not fit neatly into our categories. Until recently these resources were ignored in some CRAS’s so we are just happy to get them recognized. We advise folks to focus on just getting the resources recorded and not worry too much about which form (we can edit them after we receive the info, if need be).

Idaho: Linear sites (1/2 mile or more long) must be recorded on archaeological site forms or historic site forms depending on the type of resource. Trails, old wagon roads, mining features, livestock trails, and timber harvesting features (including logging railroads) must be recorded on archaeological forms. Main (named) agricultural canals and primary laterals, named roads and highways, and railroads and railroad grades must be recorded on historic site forms. Legal descriptions and attached maps for all linear sites must include all sections crossed by the site in that county whether field checked or not.

New York: In New York, the documentation for eligibilities are somewhat "flexible," by which I mean it will vary depending on the resource and the staffer. We have the Erie/NYS Barge Canal System which has been determined eligible in it's entirety (including feeder canals, impoundments, etc.) but has not been comprehensively surveyed and inventoried. Similar features would likely be entered on our Historic District Inventory Form rather than our Building/Structure Inventory form. New elements come in for review under state or federal regs and are then inventoried.

NR listing is a different issue for which sections of canal systems, roads and railroads are fully documented. Generally the legal boundaries of rights-of way are the NR boundaries. The only extra step that I can think of was for the nomination of the historic route of the Watkins Glen Grand Prix, a six-mile loop of public roads raced on from 1948-1952. In addition to the usual information, I added the UTM coordinates of where I stood as I took photos at intervals around the course.

Oregon: Oregon SHPO has had an interesting time dealing with this issue over time. Historically, we have addressed all above ground linear features (railroads, canal systems, roads, trails) as historic resources and have filled out above-ground historic resource forms. This process went through much debate a number of years ago and we have since changed our minds and record such features using the form more appropriate to the resource use. For example, derelict canal, water line and irrigation systems and recorded on archaeological site forms. Canals that are still in use are recorded on above-ground historic forms. The same goes for railroads and old segments of historic roads. However, some linear features (e.g., historic trail systems like the Oregon Trail and Barlow Road) are recorded on both types of forms. This is due to the high probability of associated historic archaeological sites and features being found along such trails and the importance of such historic trails to current historic planning efforts. Not the easiest solution to the problem but it appears to be working much better for us then the earlier historic resource form only.

Utah: Linear features have always been a bit of a problem in Utah. A few years back the Utah Professional Archaeological Council (UPAC) formed a committee to develop guidance on how to record and manage this type of resource. Since that time, Utah SHPO, and agencies within Utah have adopted the UPAC Linear Sites Guidelines (available at this URL http://www.upaconline.org/files/UPACLinearGuidance2008.pdf ).

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Medical Clinics

We have received a preliminary application to determine NJ and National Register eligibility for an 1820s medical clinic. The building was constructed circa 1823 specifically for use as a medical clinic for the doctor (not his residence). It was surveyed by HABS and identified as being unique in their survey as the earliest purpose-built medical clinic. Are any of you familiar with a building specifically built for use by a doctor as a clinic--from an earlier period?

Maryland:

The Montgomery County (MD) Historical Society owns a medical office used by Dr. Stonestreet in the later 1800s. They now use it as a medical museum. See http://www.montgomeryhistory.org

Vermont:

Castleton Medical College in Castleton, Vermont was founded in 1818. After outgrowing temporary quarters in a commercial building, the College built a new two-story building with a skylight, an anatomical theater, a medical laboratory, lecture halls and a medical library. It was completed and occupied in September 1821, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Castleton Medical College closed in 1862, but the Medical Building is now part of the Castleton State College campus.

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Outdoor Ampitheaters

Arkansas:

Greek Amphitheatre Greek Amphitheatre (Magnolia - Columbia County)
Junction of East Lane Drive, East University Street and Crescent Drive
1936-1955 example of a collegiate amphitheatre with Classical Greek influences built by the National Youth Administration.
Listed in National Register of Historic Places on 6/1/2005.


Chi Omega Greek Theater - University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Chi Omega Greek Theater - University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (Fayetteville - Washington County)
Dickson St. at the University of Arkansas
ca. 1927 outdoor amphitheater
Listed in National Register of Historic Places on 9/4/1992.

Iowa:

The Grandview Park facility is in process of being nomnated. A somewhat smaller facility he designed in Fort Dodge called the Karl King Bandshell is listed on the NRHP at national level of significance. It is being renovated with Save America's Treasures (SAT) funds.

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Quarries

Are there any states that have listed quarries to the National Register within the last 10 years?

Arkansas: We do have a quarry listed in Arkansas, but it was done in 1975.

Lake Catherine Quarry Lake Catherine Quarry (Restricted - Hot Spring County)
Location Restricted
Prehistoric site of aboriginal mining of black novaculite
Listed in National Register of Historic Places on 9/11/1975.

California: In 1977, California listed the Griffith Quarry, a late 19th century granite quarry.

Maine: In late 2005 Maine listed an archaeological site, the Gaunt Neck Site Coomplex, that was a Native American quarry site.

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Historic Streetscapes

We would appreciate comments from other states with experience and opinions in the following areas:

1. Compatibility of streetscape changes with historic districts and conformity with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.
2. “Bulb-outs” or “Bump-outs”
3. Widening of sidewalks, introduction of street plantings, "period" light fixtures, medians within streets as pedestrian refuge
4. Rotaries
5. Arches, gateways to downtown commercial areas
6. Pedestrian malls and the associated changes to traffic patterns and streetscapes. (A one-block pedestrian mall was recently proposed for a small city in NM, for a small but important feeder street.) Are there examples of successes, failures, and removals of pedestrian malls in other states? Were any of them one-block projects?

New York: Some thoughts from a cultural landscape perspective:

  1. Compatibility of streetscape changes with historic districts and conformity with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards: The key is whether or not the configuration and details of the public realm contribute to the historic resource. Street pattern; road and sidewalk alignment, dimensions and materials; street furnishings, etc. can be evidence of important historic events, the influence of important historic individuals, a/o the result of intentional historic design a/o style. If so, then changes to the streetscape should be considered in the same light as changes to other historic features, and the Standards can and should be used in such reviews. Most older nominations, however, do not specifically identify such features as contributing to a resource’s significance—nor are they evaluated in terms of integrity. And unfortunately many recent nominations are not much different. Therefore reviewers must often make such assessments on-the-fly. It’s arguably “better” if from first writing the historic record recognized these features as contributing, but that’s another discussion. The comments below are based on the assumption that the “streetscape” is determined to be contributing to the historic resource.
  2. “Bulb-outs” or “Bump-outs”: Re-configuration of street pattern, alignment and dimensions such as bulb- or bump-outs can inappropriately alter the physical relationship of vehicular and pedestrian spaces, as well as that of buildings to the public realm. Additionally these modifications can inappropriately change visual relationships along a corridor by truncating a/o obscuring views down the centerline as well as in perspective, giving a decidedly 21st century aesthetic to resources that likely gain their significance from earlier time periods.
  3. Widening of sidewalks, introduction of street plantings, "period" light fixtures, medians within streets as pedestrian refuge: Of these changes, medians are the most likely to inappropriately alter historic character—particularly if they contain stuff [e.g., trees, lights, signage]—in that they also foreshorten views down the street centerline as well as across the travel path. Modest changes in sidewalk or roadway width [i.e., up to 10% of the historic dimension, whether an increase or decrease] have little effect on historic character and therefore can be appropriate. However the major increases often proposed as part of “traffic calming” projects [e.g., doubling sidewalk width] definitely alter the relationship between vehicular and pedestrian space and buildings to roadways, and consequently can diminish historic character.

    Traditionally commercial main streets [at least in the Northeast] had little if any vegetation, offering unobstructed views of building facades—and particularly business signs. Over time, however, they became cluttered with hitching posts, carriage steps, telegraph poles and lines, directional signs—leaving little room for trees. As contemporary cultural phenomena then, street trees should be treated as new additions to the historic resource [like traffic signals]—and decisions about location, frequency/number, and species should be considered to limit impacts to historic character.

    Lastly, highly stylized street furnishings—from lights to benches, trash receptacles to bike racks—should be based on documented historic counterparts, or if none existed [there aren’t many historic trash cans I know of] then the design of the new features should be based on current stylistic trends that will compliment overall historic character of a district.
  4. Rotaries: Like bulb-/bump-outs and medians, rotaries alter both physical and visual relationships in overall street pattern and individual street alignment and dimensions. If these characteristics are historically significant then obliterating them to create a rotary is inappropriate.
  5. Arches, gateways to downtown commercial areas: Like other street furnishings these entry features are most often new additions to an historic resource and therefore should be contemporary in style—compatible with the historic character of the district, but distinguishable as a product of current times. If an arch or other gateway feature existed historically then reconstructing it based on photographic, graphic or written documentation is appropriate.
  6. Pedestrian malls and the associated changes to traffic patterns and streetscapes: Removing or limiting vehicular traffic from a street in itself isn’t necessarily inappropriate. Concern lies with the physical changes employed to accomplish the change. For example, prohibiting vehicles simply by posting signs involves virtually no physical change and therefore results in no impact. But constructing a physical barrier at the ends of the block to prevent thru-circulation has the same negative effect on views/vistas as the other alignment changes discussed above. Similarly adding walls, raised or sunken plazas, fountains, band stands, etc. mid-block within the traditional vehicular travel lanes grossly changes the physical character of a street from a corridor to a nodal space [not much different than blowing out the walls between a central hall and its flanking parlors to create an open floor plan].

Oklahoma: The City of Oklahoma City returned to a one-way system through two of our largest historic residential districts in the 1990s. Just last year, the City eliminated the one-way system for most of our downtown core.

Pennsylvania: There have been plenty of state or federally funded streetscape improvement projects in Pennsylvania as well. While we always ask for full information on the proposed changes, generally, the finding is either no effect or no adverse effect when historic districts are involved. Unless the design and configuration of the streets or sidewalks are considered to be contributing resources within the historic district (and mentioned in the historic district NR evaluation), I think the usual assumption is that the changes to the streetscape will not adversely effect the qualities that make the historic district eligible for the NR.

Also, historic districts often have lengthy periods of significance, so the street amenities (curbs, sidewalks, traffic signals) may have experienced significant change over time, so which configuration is the “right’ one? Only dramatic changes which directly effect significant features of the historic districts would arouse great concern here.

As for the pedestrian mall question-- I don’t think we have reviewed many of them, because it is not a currently popular trend. Generally, I have read that pedestrian malls are successful only in set circumstances-- perhaps in college towns and tourism based resort communities. I would think that the lack of vehicles in the street itself would not have an effect. Many historic districts might date from the pre-auto era anyway. Most of the pedestrian malls I can think of are of the one or two block variety. I know there have been communities that have re-introduced vehicle traffic after stores failed to thrive with closed off streets--I am struggling to remember examples. Allentown, maybe?

Virginia: Regarding the treatment of urban historic districts and historic streetscapes, I would appreciate hearing anyone’s thoughts or comments on the impact of one-way street systems in traditional neighborhoods and central business districts.

Installing one-way systems, of course, was a widespread practice in the 1950s and ‘60s when our highest priority was to get traffic in and out and through traditional neighborhoods as quickly as possible. The consequence was the turning historic streets and avenues into speedways and the elimination of the slower-paced, neighborly coming and going on old streets. With the subsequent creation of expressways and the interstate system, traffic congestion in older areas has become less of a problem. Moreover, with our efforts of make our urban cores more livable it would seem that accommodating suburban commuters at the expense of the ambience historic districts is counter-productive.

This is certainly true in Richmond. We have a one-way system installed in the 1950s to facilitate rush-hour traffic. The suburban sprawl of recent years has caused the volume of such downtown rush-hour traffic to decrease significantly. In any case, commuters can now use expressways and interstates that didn’t exist in the 1950s. Interestingly, there is a proposal in Richmond’s new downtown master plan to undo the one-way system but I’m sure the traffic engineers will do all in their power to oppose it.

Sadly, in Virginia most of our historic small cities and towns have instituted one-way systems that have destroyed the genteel pace and character their historic streets once had. This has happened in Winchester, Fredericksburg, Staunton, Petersburg, Lynchburg, Lexington, Manassas, and Fairfax to name a few. Is such unimpeded traffic flow really necessary or the most important aspect of city life?

Outside Virginia I’ve noted historic residential avenues in Baltimore, Raleigh, and Savannah made into speedways—no place to have a family or a pet. On the other hand, driving both up and down Meeting Street in Charleston is always thrilling.

For many years the residential portion of one of Richmond’s historic streets, Grace Street, was one-way, and used as a quick exit from downtown. Many of street’s stately town houses had fallen into decrepit condition. Some twenty-five years ago, a group of residents was successful in getting the two-way system restored. Since then, the street has experienced a renaissance and once again has become a fashionable address, paralleling, just one block away, Richmond’s famous Monument Avenue.

I was told this was one of the first instances in the country where a one-way system was undone. Does anyone know were else one-way systems have been undone or are planned for reversal?

Admittedly, there are some places where one-way systems are essential, such as Manhattan; however, I strongly suspect that many one-way systems are unnecessary and are doing more harm than good.

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Surrender Sites

The Magee Farmhouse, in rural Mobile County, is the location where terms of surrender for Alabama, Mississippi, and Eastern Louisiana Confederate forces were negotiated on April 29, 1865. Local experts say this is the only such building still standing on it’s original site. Are there other buildings associated with the negotiation or surrender at the close of the Civil War standing on their original sites?

American Battlefield Protection Program: The McClean House at Appomattox was dismantled at some point between 1891 and 1893 and was not reconstructed until 1949. The Bennett Place in Durham, NC burned down in 1921 and was reconstructed in the 1960's. Kirby Smith surrendered what was left of the Department of the Trans-Mississippi on board the USS Fort Jackson in Galveston Harbor. Kirby's surrender was merely a formality however as Buckner had surrendered the Trans-Mississippi in Kirby's place a week before in New Orleans, no information regarding the surrender sight there can be found. Buckner had the unfortunate distinction of surrendering the Confederate Army at Fort Donelson in 1862 as well and the Dover Inn at the NPS site there I believe is the original and on its original site. Stand Watie surrendered near Doaksville, OK but the town no longer exists.

There are a few other large surrender sites to consider as well. On May 10th Major General Samuel Jones commanding the Confederate Department of South Georgia and Florida surrendered his department in Tallahassee, I've not been able to find where exactly this occurred. Another example is the surrender of Brigadier General Wofford's forces in North Georgia on May 12th, 1865 at the Rev. Charles Wallace Howard House. A Georgia state marker designates where the house once stood.

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Theater Seating

Does anyone know of a movie palace or theater that was rehabbed as part of an approved tax credit project (or otherwise deemed as meeting the Secretary of Interior's Standards) and as part of the project took out the seats on the main level to gradually step the floor down with terraces. The goal is to be able to use the main floor for either seating or table seating. FYI: Unfortunately, the theater in question is very water damaged and deteriorated; the seats will all need to be completely replaced anyway. They will retain the seat end-standards and match the historic seating on the large balconies. I know of a number of theaters that have done this for dinner theater, etc., but I do not personally know of examples that were certified projects.

California: La Loma Theater (circa 1920s) over near NTC on Rosecrans, SD was a Bookstar bookstore for many years before it was again converted to a gym. Several large windows were cut into the concrete walls, platforms and stairs, ADA ramps added to accommodate the floors, etc.

Colorado: This is Colorado's version of the same theater-to-bookstore conversion. The Bonfils Theater was originally built for stage plays. It was turned into a bookstore in 2006. In this case, the architects leveled the sloping theater floor and created two main spaces- a large flat area where the seats were, and a smaller and higher flat area where the stage used to be. This project received NPS certification for rehab tax credits.

Texas: A few years back the National Park Service sent us some photographs of a theater-to-bookstore (Alabama Theater) conversion project in Houston, where they divided the sloping main floor into several levels connected by a step or two. I believe this project was approved for federal rehab tax credits.

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Trailer Parks and Mobile Homes

 

California:

It’s the Monterey Trailer Park and is a Los Angeles landmark. Here is a link to an LA Times article about it. http://articles.latimes.com/2002/nov/06/entertainment/et-quick6.5

Iowa:

I have done some surveys of vintage mobile homes around Arkansas, and our office has determined one eligible. We haven’t nominated any yet, but give me time… Most of the ones we have surveyed have been from the mid- to late-1950s, although we have documented one that may date from the late 1940s. One great website that I use is below. It has great vintage ads for mobile homes and travel trailers starting in the early 1930s.

http://www.allmanufacturedhomes.com/html/vintage_mobile_homes.htm

New Jersey

Moving Home: Manufactured Housing in Rural America. published by the Housing Assistance Council in December 2005. By Lance George and Milana Barr. ISBN 1-58064-141-5

Wheel Estate: The Rise and Fall of Mobile Homes by Allan D. Wallis (Oxford University Press, 1991).

Vermont:

Check out http://www.uvm.edu/histpres/HPJ/phinney/index.html for a research project on a mobile home park in Burlington, Vermont. It contains good information about the history and development of mobile homes, trailer parks, and how they have evolved throughout the years.

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Wood Grain Elevators

Montana:

http://www.preservationnation.org/resources/

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