The 2018 HALS Challenge

World War I Monument, Memorial Square, Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island (HABS RI-387) / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, HABS RI-387

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

The 2018 HALS Challenge theme will be Memorialization, Commemorating the Great War. For the 9th annual HALS Challenge, we invite you to document a World War I memorial site to honor the centennial of the end of World War I, the war to end all wars. Not only were traditional monuments constructed across the country following the armistice, but “living memorials,” which honored the dead with schools, libraries, bridges, parks, and other public infrastructure, were designed to be both useful and symbolic at the same time.

For some inspiration you may browse the World War I Memorial Inventory Project and the National WWI Museum and Memorial Centennial Commemoration website. Also check out some of the WWI Sites in the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection, including:

Flanders Field American Cemetery & Memorial, HALS US-7, HALS US-7-A, HALS US-7-B

Pershing Park, HABS DC-695

District of Columbia War Memorial, HABS DC-857

World War I Monument, Memorial Square, HABS RI-387

Liberty Memorial, HABS MO-1936

Public Square (Buildings), North Walnut, HABS IL-252

Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Memorial Bridge, HAER PA-456

Fitzsimons General Hospital, Memorial Tablet, HABS CO-172-CB

Liberty Memorial Bridge, HAER ND-7

Greene Street Historic District, HABS GA-269

Perhaps you know of another monument, park, or public institution that is unrecognized. These sites are in all areas of the country, often hidden in plain sight. We challenge you to find them and document them.

Fitzsimons General Hospital, Memorial Tablet, West McAfee, South of Building No. 524, Aurora, Adams County, Colorado (HABS CO-172-CB) / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, HABS CO-172-CB

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 online. If your chapter’s volunteer HALS Liaison position is vacant, please consider volunteering yourself or suggesting it to a colleague who may be interested.

Short format histories should be submitted to HALS at the National Park Service no later than July 31, 2018. The HALS Short Format History guidelines, brochure, and digital template may be downloaded from the National Park Service website. NOTE: There have been some changes to HALS Challenge rules and MS Word digital HALS Short Form History Template since 2017! These updates are included within the template itself as well as within the 2018 HALS Challenge Brochure. Please read both thoroughly before entering the 2018 HALS Challenge.

The biggest change in the rules is that no more than ten (10) digital photographs may be included at the end of each HALS Challenge entry. These may ONLY consist of digital, existing-conditions photographs taken by the author(s) of the site being documented. Your research should still include analyzing historic drawings and photos of the landscape you are documenting. Historic graphics are often the most important primary source for analytically writing about a historic landscape. Due to complicated and frustrating copyright restrictions, we are banning the reproduction of all historic graphics within HALS Challenge entries. Historic graphics may still be referenced and described in the text with their repository source named. A thoroughly written analysis is even more useful to readers than a reproduced copy of historic graphic itself, and all copyright issues may be avoided. This is a writing competition!

Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Memorial Bridge, Spanning Paxton Creek & Cameron Street (State Route 230) at State Street (State Route 3014), Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania (HAER PA-456) / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, HAER PA-456

Winners will be announced at the HALS Subcommittee Meeting at the 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philadelphia. Employees of the National Park Service, American Society of Landscape Architects, and Library of Congress may submit HALS Short Format Historical Reports, but are ineligible for prizes.

There are many fascinating World War I commemorative sites in all 50 states. People from every state are hereby challenged to complete at least one HALS short format history to document these beloved resources. Preservation Through Documentation!

For more information, contact Chris Stevens, 202-354-2146,

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

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