ARCHITECTURAL SURVEYS

Architectural surveys are assessments of historic buildings, cultural landscapes, and structures within a project area. After conducting appropriate background research and review of prior work in the area, fieldwork begins.

We examine the configuration, condition, and any alterations made to the historic resources, and we evaluate their significance. Our historians complete appropriate state architectural survey forms for each resource, and we address long-term preservation and stewardship requirements.

Archival photo of flyover following completion of dedicated HIANG facilities at Pearl Harbor, 1962
Archival photo of flyover following completion of dedicated HIANG facilities at Pearl Harbor, 1962

CASE STUDY ARCHITECTURAL SURVEYS

HAWAII AIR NATIONAL GUARD

Brockington historians conducted an historic building inventory for the Hawaii Air National Guard (HIANG) at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The HIANG inventory included a selection of unique properties including early twentieth century coast artillery batteries, Cold War-era buildings, and occupied spaces within buildings contributing to the Hickam Field National Historic Landmark District, significant for its role in World War II. In one building (Hangar 2035), with little available space for new buildings, and to preserve the character and aesthetic of the historic district, the Joint Base and HIANG worked with a design firm to develop an interior freestanding structure.

ADMINISTRATIVE AND NARRATIVE HISTORY

Brockington’s historians work with a variety of organizations to produce comprehensive and accurate administrative histories and narrative histories. These histories can help meet statutory requirements, and they can preserve the story of an organization, a company, or a neighborhood. Administrative and narrative histories can be used as a creative way to mitigate adverse effects to historic properties as part of the Section 106 process.

 

Our process begins with thorough research from a variety of sources, including previously conducted research and original documents and maps. Often, we conduct oral history interviews as part of our research. Our historians organize the information they gather into well-structured reports and documents. We can also draw on the expertise of our public outreach design team to share these histories with the public, as books, pamphlets, or even exhibits or videos.

The Soap Lake Siphon on the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project in Washington was
constructed in 1949 and measured 12,900 feet long by 25 feet in diameter. It was designed to
move water at a rate of 5,100 cubic feet per second. Photo courtesy of the US Bureau of
Reclamation
The Soap Lake Siphon on the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project in Washington was constructed in 1949 and measured 12,900 feet long by 25 feet in diameter. It was designed to move water at a rate of 5,100 cubic feet per second. Photo courtesy of the US Bureau of Reclamation

CASE STUDY ADMINISTRATIVE AND NARRATIVE HISTORY

WATER CONTROL STRUCTURES

Brockington partnered with NDN Companies to prepare a historic context of water distribution infrastructure assets owned by the US Bureau of Reclamation in the western US, focusing on conveyance systems and their functional components, such as diversion structures, conduit structures, flow control and measuring devices, and cleaning devices. Our context includes a broad discussion of the history of the agency, the technological and geographical challenges presented to the agency during the construction of their vast infrastructure system, a pictorial listing of water control resource types, and a more detailed discussion of several individual projects and their eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The context was designed to assist future consultants, agency cultural resources managers, and other individuals as they evaluate or manage historic-age Bureau of Reclamation assets under the National Historic Preservation Act.

NATIONAL REGISTER NOMINATIONS

Nomination to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is considered an honor, and is reserved for those resources most worthy of preservation for future generations. Brockington has helped organizations nominate many different types of cultural resources to the National Register, including cemeteries, battlefields, commercial and residential historic districts, and archaeological districts. A key part of a successful NRHP nomination is a thorough understanding of a resource’s significance within the greater context of regional and national cultural patterns and social movements. Our experience as archaeologists and historians provides us exceptional insight into this contextual significance. As with all projects, Brockington completes complex NRHP nominations by uniting our content experts with our production and graphics specialists to ensure that our nomination packages are of the highest professional quality, and that they are produced in a timely and efficient manner.

Robert Mills Manor during construction, 1939
Robert Mills Manor during construction, 1939

CASE STUDY NATIONAL REGISTER NOMINATIONS

ROBERT MILLS MANOR

Robert Mills Manor, a US Housing Authority-funded planned low-income housing complex, occupies 11.7 acres in the Charleston Historic District. The complex includes 26 extant 2 and 3-story multi-family residential buildings; three antebellum dwellings preserved and incorporated into the complex; and the ca. 1833 Robert Mills-designed former Marine Hospital, which is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and is a National Historic Landmark. Constructed in two phases, Robert Mills Manor in 1938-1939 and Robert Mills Manor Extension in 1940-1941, the public housing complex was part of a nationwide, joint federal-local effort to provide low-income housing for poor American families. Brockington prepared a NRHP nomination for Robert Mills Manor, and the site was formally listed into the NRHP in 2021.

HABS/HAER/HALS DOCUMENTATION

Brockington’s historians are experienced with photographic documentation, particularly with the Historic American Building Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) programs administered through the National Park Service (NPS). Photographic documentation is often required when NRHP eligible or listed buildings or structures cannot be preserved and will be impacted by development. Recordation and documentation can mitigate proposed adverse effects.

 

Recordation typically involves intensive research, preparation of a historical narrative, photographic documentation, and measured drawings based on NPS guidelines (Level I, II, III, or IV) and negotiated with the SHPO. We are capable of documentation using 35mm, medium format, and large format film photography as well as high resolution digital imagery. For HABS/HAER/HALS, we can also create building plans and maps. All photography is archivally processed and printed on archival paper. Final packages are organized and submitted to the NPS in accordance with HABS/HAER/HALS guidelines.

Photograph from HAER documentation of the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam
Oral History
Photograph from HAER documentation of the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam Oral History

CASE STUDY HABS/HAER/HALS DOCUMENTATION

NEW SAVANNAH BLUFF HAER

Completed in 1937, the lock and dam represented a cooperative effort by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Augusta to improve commercial navigation along the river. The structure was designed by the Pittsburgh District with contributions by French-born architect Paul Cret. Construction began in 1934 and partially involved Public Works Administration (New Deal) funding. In 2013, based on Brockington’s reporting and recommendations, the lock and dam was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. In 2020, we completed Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) documentation of the lock and dam. This documentation included a series of large-format photographs of the facility, duplication of as-built drawings collected from the Savannah District archives, and a detailed historic context. All documentation was accepted by the National Park Service, Southeast Region in January 2021.

ORAL HISTORY

We have conducted over 300 oral history interviews (both audio and video) on topics ranging from World War II and Cold War veteran experiences to the War on Terror participants. We have conducted oral histories on projects dealing with under-represented urban and rural communities, city rehabilitation projects, the Federal Highway Administration Scenic and Historic Highways program, and the National Park Service.

We manage oral history projects from planning to archival acceptance, including developing a project approach, planning the interviews, creating the questionnaire, daily management and conducting the interviews, travel, overseeing transcribing and editing of the interviews, preparing report summaries, and arranging for archival acceptance.

Lt. Michael Vaughn conducts training exercises at one of the Minuteman ICBM Missile
Launch Control Facilities ca. 1980. Photo courtesy of National Park Service, Minuteman Missile
National Historic Site
Lt. Michael Vaughn conducts training exercises at one of the Minuteman ICBM Missile Launch Control Facilities ca. 1980. Photo courtesy of National Park Service, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

CASE STUDY ORAL HISTORY

MINUTEMAN MISSILE NHS

From 1963 through the early 1990s, facilities across the Minuteman Missile field in South Dakota commanded and controlled Launch Facilities containing Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site preserves the history of these Cold War facilities, including two Launch Facilities in their historic state. Brockington’s oral history adds to this important preservation. We completed 17 oral history interviews with former US Air Force service members who worked in the Minuteman Missile fields. Interviewees, all of whom served as “Missiliers” during the Cold War, came from diverse backgrounds, including career military officers, artists, activists, scientists, ministers, and military police. We digitally recorded, transcribed, and edited each interview, and we provided hard copies and electronic copies to the National Park Service and to each interviewee.

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