The 2016 HALS Challenge

Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village, HALS CA-42, Simi Valley, CA image: Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey Collection

Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village, HALS CA-42, Simi Valley, CA
image: Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey Collection

The Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) was created in 2000 to document our country’s dynamic landscapes. Much progress has been made in identifying cultural landscapes but more is needed to document these designed and vernacular places.

We are pleased to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in 2016. The NHPA is a cornerstone of American historic preservation. It was created in the belief that too many important historic places were being lost to post-World War II development and construction, and that the federal government could (and should) play an important role in protecting places that embody the United States’ cultural heritage.

For the 7th annual HALS Challenge, we invite you to document National Register listed landscapes from your region of the country. Authorized by the NHPA, the National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Currently there are 90,540 total listings with 1,752,995 total contributing resources. Many of these listings represent or include landscapes. Search for National Register listings in your area here.

Preservation 50 - Commemorating 50 years of the National Historic Preservation Act 1966-1916. Preservation50 is the United States’ four-year effort to celebrate, learn from, and leverage the National Historic Preservation Act’s first five decades to assure historic preservation’s vibrant future in America. image: Preservation50

Preservation 50 – Commemorating 50 years of the National Historic Preservation Act 1966-1916. Preservation50 is the United States’ four-year effort to celebrate, learn from, and leverage the National Historic Preservation Act’s first five decades to assure historic preservation’s vibrant future in America.
image: Preservation50

National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Today, just over 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. All NHLs are also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Search for NHLs in your area here.

Please contact your state ASLA chapter’s volunteer HALS Liaison if possible when you have selected a site to document for the HALS Challenge to be sure no one else is already preparing a HALS historic report for it. HALS Liaisons’ contact information may be found by clicking the orange HALS Chapter Liaisons tab on ASLA HALS webpage. If your chapter’s volunteer HALS Liaison position is vacant, please consider volunteering yourself or suggesting it to a colleague who may be interested.

People from every state are hereby challenged to complete at least one HALS short format history to document these significant American landscapes. Please help us celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service and the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act by documenting the landscape of a NHL or National Register Listing for HALS! Preservation Through Documentation!

St. Elizabeths Hospital West Campus, HALS DC-7, Washington, DC image: Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey Collection

St. Elizabeths Hospital West Campus, HALS DC-7, Washington, DC
image: Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey Collection

Short format histories should be submitted to HALS at the National Park Service no later than July 31, 2016. The HALS Short Format History guidelines, brochure, and digital template may be downloaded from the HALS website. Tips on completing the short format history template and the HALS copyright release form, and information on how entries are judged, can be found on page 2 of the National Park Services’ 2016 HALS Challenge flier. The NR or NHL nomination will be a useful source in preparing your HALS short format historical report—please cite it in your sources.

Winners will be announced at the HALS Subcommittee Meeting at the 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in New Orleans. Employees of the National Park Service, ASLA, and Library of Congress may submit HALS Short Format Historical Reports, but are ineligible for prizes.

For more information, contact Chris Stevens, 202-354-2146, Chris_Stevens@nps.gov.

by Chris Stevens, ASLA, NPS HALS Landscape Architect, Past Chair of the ASLA Historic Preservation PPN, and current ASLA HALS Chair / Coordinator

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