2023 HALS Challenge Results: Working Landscapes

by Scott Keyes

2023 HALS Challenge First Place Winner: Mailboat Harbor, Tangier Island, HALS VA-88 / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The National Park Service and ASLA are pleased to congratulate the winners of the 14th annual Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge competition. This year’s winners were officially announced at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture on Sunday, October 29, 2023.

Administered by the National Park Service, in collaboration with the ASLA and Library of Congress, the HALS Challenge competition encourages landscape architects, students, and other interested parties to document historic landscapes in their communities. To enter the competition, participants must complete a historical report that highlights the history, significance, and character-defining features of the surveyed landscape. This report can be supplemented with measured drawings or large-format photographs. All competition entries are archived in the HALS collection at the Library of Congress where they contribute to the nation’s largest repository of documentation on American architecture, engineering, and landscapes.

This year’s competition focused on working landscapes. Participants were challenged to survey working or productive landscapes with entries ranging from agricultural and industrial sites to public infrastructure and transportation networks. The competition resulted in the donation of 13 impressive surveys to the HALS collection. A jury composed of National Park Service historians and landscape architects reviewed the entries and selected the following winners:

First Place: Tangier Island Watermen Working Landscape, HALS VA-88
Tangier, Accomack County, Virginia
By Lincoln L. Lewis and William A. Packwood, University of Virginia
Tangier is an island community in the Chesapeake Bay. The local blue crab fishery is the town’s main economic driver. HALS documentation of this landscape focused not only on the distinctive history and features of Tangier, but also on the waterman culture that has developed over centuries in this unique environment. This historic landscape, however, is at risk of disappearing due to a range of challenges brought about by cultural and environmental change. In addition to the extensively researched historical report, the survey included a full set of measured drawings.

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