The 2021 HALS Challenge Winners: Historic Black Landscapes

by Chris Stevens, ASLA

First Place 2021 HALS Challenge Winner: Golden Gate Village, HALS CA-158. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Results of the 12th annual Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge, Historic Black Landscapes, were announced at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville on November 21, 2021. 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 third place). This challenge resulted in the donation of 26 impressive HALS short format historical reports and a few measured drawings to the HALS collection for sites in 19 different states from coast to coast.

Black people have built and shaped the American landscape in immeasurable ways. 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. By documenting historic Black landscapes participants helped expand our understanding of America’s past and future, revealing patterns of community that have been built over the course of four hundred years.

First Place: Golden Gate Village, HALS CA-158
Sausalito, California
By Douglas Nelson, ASLA, RHAA Landscape Architects
Golden Gate Village is significant as a post-World War II public housing project that was created with a goal of providing a racially integrated community based on progressive social and environmental ideals.

Second Place: River View Farm, HALS VA-87
Charlottesville, Virginia
By Liz Sargent, FASLA, Principal, Liz Sargent HLA, with Steve Thompson, Dede Smith, and Nell Boeschenstein
Situated on a hill above the South Rivanna Reservoir five miles from the center of Charlottesville, River View Farm affords an unusual opportunity to understand an African American family farm of the post-Emancipation era.

Third Place (Tie):
Beltane Ranch, HALS CA-162
Glen Ellen, California
By Arthur Dawson, of Baseline Consulting, Kara Brunzell, of Brunzell Historical, and Janet Gracyk
Beltane Ranch is significant for its association with civil rights advocate and businesswoman Mary Ellen Pleasant, and the fact that Beltane has been run largely by women ever since she bought the property 125 years ago.

City Hall Park (Oscar Grant Plaza), HALS CA-157
Oakland, California
By Cecilia Distefano, Kelly Flairty, Cathy Garrett, ASLA (CA PLA, NVLA, LEED AP, CLARB), Evan MacGregor, Petra Marar, ASLA, Adrienne Newton, ASLA (CA PLA), Grace Tada, Assoc. ASLA, and Kari Tanaka (CA PLA, ULI)
Oscar Grant Plaza—unofficially eponymously named in honor of the Black East Bay resident killed by San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police in 2009—served as a central destination for protests, civil disobedience, vigils, art, and other public actions of the summer 2020 Black Lives Matter uprising for racial justice.

Second Place 2021 HALS Challenge Winner: River View Farm, HALS VA-87. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Honorable Mentions:
Eleutherian College, College Hill Cemetery, and Lyman and Asenath Hoyt House, HALS IN-16

Lancaster, Indiana
By Dorna Eshrati, Jeremy Merrill, Peter J. Ellery, Malcolm Cairns, FASLA, and Christopher Baas (Department of Landscape Architecture, Ball State University); J.P. Hall (Department of Architecture, Ball State University); Sean O’Neill (Classical Studies Department, Hanover College) and Darrin L. Rubino (Biology Department, Hanover College)

Evergreen Cemetery, HALS VA-86
Richmond, Virginia
By Laura L. Knott, FASLA, MSHP, for The Enrichmond Foundation

Val Verde, HALS CA-163
Val Verde, California
By Libby Simon

Third Place (Tie) 2021 HALS Challenge Winner: Beltane Ranch, HALS CA-162. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The 19 other outstanding entries (alphabetical by state):

Kelly Ingram Park, HALS AL-6, Birmingham, Alabama
By Lois Silliman Mash (Lois Harrison at the time of the project design), project manager and lead landscape architect with her mother Edah Grover

African American Business District of Jonesboro, HALS AR-12, Jonesboro, Arkansas
By Dr. Edward Salo, Oyeronke Afolabi, Stephanie Bates, Kendal Booker, SwitySultana Monni, Ximai Shi, and Johnathon White – all of Arkansas State University

Camp Naco, HALS AZ-27 , Bisbee, Arizona
By Sarah McDowell and Helen Erickson, ASLA – University of Arizona

Watts Cultural Crescent, HALS CA-160, Los Angeles, California
By Alyssa Leal Moffitt, Student ASLA – UCLA Extension, Landscape Architecture Department

Third Place (Tie) 2021 HALS Challenge Winner: Oscar Grant Plaza, HALS CA-157. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Merritt College, HALS CA-161, Oakland, California
By Chris Pattillo, FASLA, PGAdesign, HALS Northern California Chapter

Chattahoochee Brick Company, HALS GA-7, Atlanta, Georgia
By Elizabeth A. Clappin, MFA, Architectural Historian, and Sarah Kuehn Spencer, ASLA, PLA

Koinonia Farm, HALS GA-8, Americus, Georgia
By David Joseph Driapsa, FASLA

Bas du Fleuve, HALS LA-13, New Orleans, Louisiana
By Diane Jones Allen, D.Eng., PLA, FASLA

2021 HALS Challenge Honorable Mention: Eleutherian College, College Hill Cemetery, and Lyman and Asenath Hoyt House, HALS IN-16. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Lewisville, HALS MA-8, Cambridge, Massachusetts
By Allison A. Crosbie, ASLA, Cambridge Historical Commission

Chestnut Valley, HALS MO-8, St. Louis, Missouri
By Susan M Mattison, ASLA, AICP, LEED AP, Landscape Architect and Planner

Shady Rest Golf and Country Club, HALS NJ-8, Scotch Plain, New Jersey
By Stacy E. Spies, Architectural Historian, Katrina Majewski, ASLA, PLA, Nicholas Tufaro, ASLA, PLA, and Theresa Hyslop, ASLA, Photographer, for the New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

2021 HALS Challenge Honorable Mention: Evergreen Cemetery, HALS VA-86. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Rapp Road Community Historic District, HALS NY-16, Albany, New York
By Carol B Lanzara, Esq., with contributions and edits by Jennifer Lemak, Richard H. Powell, FASLA, and Beverly A. Bardequez, Rapp Road Historical Association, and photography by Richard H. Powell, FASLA

Dr. Walter Thomas House, HALS OH-15, Columbus, Ohio
By Susan Keeny, RA, LEED AP BD+C, Preservation Services Director, Columbus Landmarks, and Matthew Leasure, PLA, ASLA, AICP, LEED AP, Principal, Designing Local, and Past President, Columbus Landmarks

David Carson Estate Donation Land Claim, HALS OR-7, Benton County, Oregon
By Lawrence A. Landis, M.A., courtesy faculty, Oregon State University Libraries and Press and former director (retired) of the Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club (FSURC), HALS PA-35, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
By Elizabeth Houck, PLA, ASLA

2021 HALS Challenge Honorable Mention: Val Verde, HALS CA-163. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Fisk University, HALS TN-8, Nashville, Tennessee
By David Joseph Driapsa, FASLA, and Brandon A. Owens, Sr., Ph.D.

Garden of Eden, HALS TX-13, Fort Worth, Texas
By Cindy Nguyen, The University of Texas at Arlington, CAPPA, Master of Architecture, Class of 2022

Journey’s End, HALS VT-11, Grafton, Vermont
By Devin Colman, State Architectural Historian, and Jess Robinson, State Archaeologist – Vermont Division for Historic Preservation

Samuel Brown Farm, HALS WI-22, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
By Michael H. Carriere, Professor of History, Milwaukee School of Engineering

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.

Map of the 26 entries submitted for the 2021 HALS Challenge, Historic Black Landscapes / image: Chris Stevens

The HALS office is continuing the challenge again in 2022 with a new theme, Olmsted Landscapes. 2022 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, social reformer and founder of American landscape architecture. By documenting Olmsted landscapes for HALS, you will increase public awareness of historic landscapes and illuminate Olmsted’s living legacy. Any site designed or planned in part or in full by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., his firm, and the firm continued by his sons, John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Junior, is eligible (see Master List of Design Projects).

Short format histories should be submitted to HALS at the National Park Service no later than July 31, 2022 (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 2022 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Francisco.

Look for more information on the 2022 HALS Challenge here on The Field next month.

Thank you to all entrants for expanding the HALS collection and raising awareness of the historic Black 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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