The 2020 HALS Challenge Winners: Vanishing or Lost Landscapes

by Chris Stevens, ASLA

2020 HALS Challenge Winner, First Place. Harvard Botanic Garden, HALS MA-6, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Aerial view. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The results of the 11th annual Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge, Vanishing or Lost Landscapes, were announced at the annual ASLA HALS Meeting, held virtually on December 8, 2020. Congratulations to the winners! Sponsored by the National Park Service, cash prizes will be awarded to the top four submissions (there was a tie for second place). This challenge resulted in the donation of 27 impressive HALS short format historical reports and a few measured drawings to the HALS collection for sites in eleven different states.

Many historic American landscapes are under threat or have been lost. Threats include development pressure, neglect, and climate change. By documenting vanishing or lost historic landscapes for HALS, participants have increased historic landscape awareness by illuminating these almost forgotten vestiges of America’s past.

First Place: Harvard Botanic Garden, HALS MA-6
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Prepared by Allison A. Crosbie, ASLA, Preservation Administrator, Cambridge Historical Commission. This site was significant as one of the earliest botanical gardens in the United States and for its association with Asa Gray (1810-1888), a prominent botanist, educator, and writer.

Second Place (Tie):
Jerome Relocation Center, HALS AR-9
Jerome, Chicot, and Drew Counties, Arkansas
This HALS report and accompanying maps were completed by a team from the Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design and the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies, both of the University of Arkansas. The project was led by faculty member Kimball Erdman, ASLA, with the assistance of fellow faculty member Greg Herman, staff member Angie Payne, and students Justice Barnes, Trevor Brown, Student ASLA, Vanessa Castaneda, Nate Cole, Amanda Davidson, Student ASLA, Alec Fischer, Chloe Harris, Cayla McGrail, Mary Nell Miskin, Kelsey Mork, Stephen Sines, and Jenna Whitmire. This site was significant as a Farm Security Administration (FSA) farming community, then a War Relocation Authority (WRA) Japanese internment camp, and finally as a United States prisoner of war (POW) camp housing German soldiers and officers.

University Mound Nursery, HALS CA-153
San Francisco, California
Prepared by Stacy Farr and Eleanor Cox. This site is historically significant for its association with the commercial flower-growing industry (floriculture) in San Francisco, and because it includes the last extant commercial greenhouses in a district that was once so thoroughly characterized by nurseries that it was known as the city’s Garden District.

Third Place: Henry Schumacher Farm, HALS WI-19
Waunakee, Dane County, Wisconsin
Prepared by Megan Turner, ASLA, with photographs by Rona Neri. This site is locally significant to the early settlement of Dane County and the Village of Waunakee.

2020 HALS Challenge Winner, Second Place. Jerome Relocation Center, HALS AR-9, Jerome vicinity, Arkansas. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The 23 other outstanding entries (alphabetical by state):

White County Farmers Market, HALS AR-10, Bald Knob, Arkansas
By Lisa Floryshak, Instructor, Arkansas State University-Beebe

Mildred Jackson Elementary/High School, HALS AR-11, Hughes, Arkansas
By Phoebe Lashae Haynes, PhD Student

Dyess Colony, HALS AR-8, Dyess, Arkansas
By Shobhithan Kandasamy, Arkansas State University

Tucson Origins Heritage Site, HALS AZ-26, Tucson, Arizona
By University of Arizona students Abdullah Alabdullatif, Penelope Cottrell-Crawford, Fallon Murphy, Jared Renaud, and Rebecca Shaw, Student ASLA. Edited and submitted by Jennifer Levstik, M.A. (Class Instructor)

Old 49 Road Tree, HALS CA-149, Eldorado National Forest, California
By Cate Bainton, HALS Northern California Chapter

Balboa Park, Golden Hill Fountain Grotto, HALS CA-150-A, San Diego, California
By Nancy Carol Carter

Degnan-Guerra Residence, HALS CA-151, La Cañada Flintridge, California
By Gina Guerra

Fort Ross Doghole Port, HALS CA-152, Jenner, California
By Michael Jasinski and Andrew Shimizu

Salton Sea, HALS CA-154, Colorado Desert, California
By Timothy Devlin, ASLA

Perkins Park, HALS CA-155, Pacific Grove, California
By David A. Laws, California Garden & Landscape History Society

Napa Soda Springs, HALS CA-156, Napa Soda Springs, California
By Chris Pattillo, FASLA, PGAdesign

Mount Pleasant Beech Church and Beech Cemetery, HALS IN-15, Carthage, Indiana
By Christopher Baas, Malcolm Cairns, FASLA, and Jeremy Merrill of the Department of Landscape Architecture, Ball State University; J.P. Hall, Department of Architecture, Ball State University; and Darrin L. Rubino, Biology Department, Hanover College

Prairie Acre, HALS KS-6, Lawrence, Kansas
By Dr. Kelly Kindscher, Senior Scientist, Kansas Biological Survey, Professor, Environmental Studies Program, and Amy Van de Riet, Adjunct Instructor, University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design

Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Normal Hill, HALS LA-12-A, Natchitoches, Louisiana
By David J Driapsa, FASLA, and Deborah A. Dietrich-Smith, ASLA

Harris Creek, HALS MD-28, Baltimore, Maryland
By Morgan State University Master of Landscape Architecture students Mia Quinto, Student ASLA, Brittney Baltimore, David Joffe, Student ASLA, and Maura Roth-Gormley, Student ASLA

2020 HALS Challenge Winner, First Place. Harvard Botanic Garden, HALS MA-6, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Remnant specimen tree. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

James Arnold House and Garden, HALS MA-7, New Bedford, Massachusetts
By Paul R. V. Pawlowski, ASLA, Vice President, The James Arnold Mansion, Inc.

William Rhett House Garden, HALS SC-22, Charleston, South Carolina
By Clemson University/College of Charleston graduate students in the Master of Science in Historic Preservation (MSHP) program: Rucha Kamath, Chelsea Payne, Kerri Ross, and Kendra Waters. Faculty sponsor: Carter L. Hudgins

Mosquito Beach, HALS SC-23, Charleston, South Carolina
By Clemson University/College of Charleston graduate students in the MSHP program: John Thomas V, Darcy Neufeld, and Jenny R. Brant. Faculty sponsor: Carter L. Hudgins

The Walled City of Charleston, HALS SC-24, Charleston, South Carolina
By Clemson University/College of Charleston graduate students in the MSHP program: Lisa Gardiner, Bernard O’Brien, and Vito Scocozzo. Faculty sponsor: Carter L. Hudgins.

St. Helena Chapel of Ease Graveyard and Ruin, HALS SC-25, St. Helena Island, South Carolina
By Clemson University/College of Charleston graduate students in the MSHP program: John Bennett, Kayleigh Defenbaugh, Monica Hendricks, Tanesha High, Elliott Simon, and Rachel Wilson. Faculty sponsor: Carter L. Hudgins

Scanlonville, HALS SC-26, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
By Clemson University/College of Charleston graduate students in the MSHP program: Leah Applewhite, Sarah Clifton, and Gabriel Cristofari. Faculty sponsor: Carter L. Hudgins

Washington Park, HALS WI-18, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
By Carlen Hatala, Senior Planner Historic Preservation, City of Milwaukee (text and research) and Kristi Sherfinski, ASLA, Principal, Helianthus LLC (photos and editing)

Gary Hollow, HALS WV-6, Gary, West Virginia
By Elisabeth (Lisa) Orr, ASLA, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture; Stefania Staniscia, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture; and Charles Yuill, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture of the School of Design & Community Development, Davis College, West Virginia University

2020 HALS Challenge Winner, Second Place. University Mound Nursery, HALS CA-153, San Francisco, California. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) was created in 2000 as a federal program to document historic landscapes in the United States and its territories. Documentation is critical to preserving these significant sites for the benefit of future generations. Like its companion programs, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), HALS produces written and graphic records used by educators, land managers, and preservation planners as well as the general public.

The National Park Service (NPS) administers the planning and operation of HALS, standardizes formats, and develops guidelines for recording landscapes, and catalogs and/or publishes the information when appropriate. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) provides professional guidance and technical advice for the program through its Historic Preservation Professional Practice Network. The Library of Congress (LOC) accepts and preserves HALS documents, furnishes reproductions of material, and makes records available to the public.

2020 HALS Challenge Winner, Third Place. Schumacher Farm, HALS WI-19, Waunakee, Wisconsin. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The HALS office is continuing the challenge again in 2021 with a new theme, Historic Black Landscapes. HALS invites you to document Black cultural landscapes. Black people have built and shaped the American landscape in immeasurable ways. Examining these histories and spaces will expand our understanding of America’s past and future. From plantations to segregated cities, the nation’s landscapes retain the physical manifestations of our racist history. Yet historic Black landscapes also represent creative achievements and reflect Black culture, as seen in residential gardens, parks, and college campuses across this country. Documenting historic Black landscapes will reveal patterns of community that have been built over the course of four hundred years.

Short format histories for the 2021 HALS Challenge should be submitted to HALS at the NPS no later than July 31, 2021 (c/o Chris Stevens, 202-354-2146, Sponsored by HALS, cash prizes will again be awarded to the top three submissions. Results will be announced at the 2021 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville, Tennessee during the annual HALS Meeting.

Look for more information on the 2021 HALS Challenge here on The Field next month.

Thank you to all entrants for expanding the HALS collection and raising awareness of the historic vanishing or lost landscapes you documented!

Chris Stevens, ASLA, is NPS HALS Landscape Architect, past chair of the ASLA Historic Preservation Professional Practice Network (PPN), and past ASLA HALS Subcommittee chair / coordinator.

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