|In this issue:
-American Indian Consultations and the To Bridge The Gap Conference
-HPD's Preserve America grant projects
-Modern Architecture Enthusiasts Tour Thomson and Augusta
-Is Living in a Historic House Right for You?
-Georgia State Historic Preservation Office timeline, Part 9
-Staff Profiles: Dean Baker
American Indian Consultations and the To Bridge The Gap Conference
by Dr. David Crass, Division Director and State Archaeologist
One of our most important laws pertaining to cultural resources is the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which was passed in 1990. NAGPRA provides a process for museums (including museums receiving federal funds, such as state parks) and Federal agencies to return certain Native American cultural items - human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony - to lineal descendants, and culturally-affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. Return can mean a variety of things ranging from turning over actual physical custody of remains and artifacts, to reburial, to retention by the institution accompanied by acknowledgement that ownership is held by the tribal entities. A major impetus behind passage of the law was that archaeologists forgot their roots as anthropologists, and generally treated human remains and associated objects as subjects of scientific interest only. We essentially overlooked the ongoing relationship of living cultures to these objects and remains.
When NAGPRA was initially passed, it caused a tremendous amount of discussion within the archaeological community. There was a significant amount of fear that it would mean the end of scientific study of human remains and related objects. While controversy still continues, the overall impact of the law has been beneficial in fostering relationships between archaeologists and descendant peoples.
Most recently, these benefits were on display at the annual “To Bridge a Gap” Conference. Hosted by the Muscogee Creek Nation the conference began over a decade ago when a small group of representatives from southeastern tribes and the US Forest Service met to discuss NAGPRA, Section 106 consultations, and other topics of mutual interest. Over the years the event has grown, and this year the conference included over 300 participants representing tribes from all over the United States.
Several state agencies were represented, including the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT). Topics ranged from the deployment by several tribes of very sophisticated geographic information systems (GIS) to law enforcement, to interpretation and management. Social events and tours helped to foster relationship building. This is just one example of the kind of interaction that has emerged in the wake of NAGPRA, and is a testament to the dedication both of the tribes and of agency officials to treat each other with mutual respect and transparency. For DNR, opportunities like this are critical to developing and maintaining an ongoing relationship with the descendants of people who once lived here, and whose sacred sites (like Etowah Mounds) are under our stewardship.
HPD's Preserve America grant projects
By Dr. Karen Anderson-Cordova, Environmental Review and Preservation Planning Program Manager
Participants at the Community Landmarks Heritage Tourism conference in Warm Springs enjoy one of the presentations.If you are a regular reader of Preservation Georgia Online and of Preservation Posts you have heard about the Preserve America program, but you may not know how it has been used in Georgia and what benefits it has provided to local communities across the state. Since the Historic Preservation Division has also benefited from federal grants under this program, I thought readers might be interested in an update.
The Preserve America program began in 2003 as a White House initiative to support local community preservation efforts. It is a national program administered by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent federal agency charged with advising the President and Congress on historic preservation policy, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service. In a nutshell, the program provides national recognition to local communities across the United States that demonstrate a commitment to historic preservation and heritage tourism. More importantly, since 2006, more than $20 million dollars in matching grants have been awarded to 259 projects across the country to support local efforts to find sustainable uses of historic and cultural resources through economic and educational opportunities related to heritage tourism. Designated Preserve America communities, Certified Local Governments applying to become Preserve America communities, and state and tribal historic preservation offices are eligible to apply for these matching grants.
In February 2010, the Preserve America program issued a detailed report by state that lists designated Preserve America communities, grant awards, and Presidential Awards. When compared to other states, Georgia ranks fourth nationally in the number of designations with 33 Designated Preserve America Communities and five pending applications. Georgia has also received two Preserve America Presidential awards: for the Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative in 2004 (also in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia), and for the Isaiah Davenport House Museum, Savannah in 2005.
In terms of awarded grants, Georgia has benefited from $624,457 for 9 funded projects. These federal matching grants provide resources to carry out a variety of tourism initiatives that focus on heritage preservation. I’d like to focus on the two grants awarded to our Division as the State Historic Preservation Office.
Campaign to Preserve Georgia’s Historic Cemeteries, completed in 2009, included various components:
-a 16-page booklet, Preserving Georgia’s Historic Cemeteries, produced by our office
-a statewide conference, Eternal Places: Discovering Georgia’s Historic Cemeteries, held in Augusta on November 1-2, 2007
-a subgrant program which distributed $60,000 of the $86,000 grant to local Preserve America communities in Georgia. Five Preserve America communities successfully completed projects under this subgrant program.
This grant was extremely successful, and has been followed by a strong partnership between HPD and the Tourism Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), which funded two small cemetery sub-grant cycles that have produced even more noteworthy projects.
Georgia’s Community Landmarks Heritage Tourism Initiative is currently underway. A statewide conference, History and Heritage Tourism: Discovering Georgia’s Community Landmarks, was held in Warm Springs, Georgia, on March 25-26, 2010. An enthusiastic crowd of more than 100 participants enjoyed one and a half days full of presentations and tours focusing on the preservation, documentation and interpretation of community landmarks and sites across Georgia and their role in and importance to heritage tourism. Another completed aspect of this project was the Heritage Tourism Handbook: A How-To-Guide For Georgia. This 63-page full color booklet was produced by our office in partnership with GDEcD. Still in progress are a preservation primer for local communities interested in preserving their historic properties and the collection of information on heritage walking and/or driving tour brochures from across the state for posting on HPD’s website. We have also distributed $80,000 of this $128,560 grant to eight Preserve America communities for projects that will be completed within the next six months.
The last round of applications for the 2010 Preserve America grants closed in February 2010, and grants will be awarded soon.
Modern Architecture Enthusiasts Tour Thomson and Augusta
by Steven Moffson, Architectural Historian
Tour attendees learn about the 1965 Regency Inn (originally Town Towers) in Augusta. Preservationists, historians, architects, and architecture entusiasts toured an exceptional collection of modern buildings in Thomson and Augusta, Georgia, on Saturday April 17, 2010. Sponsored by DOCOMOMO-GA, Historic Augusta, Inc., and the Historic Preservation Division, the “Georgia’s Modern Byways” tour began with a visit to the International Style David Armstrong McNeill, Sr., House in Thomson. The house, which was designed by Edward Durrell Stone, first appeared in the pages of Colliers magazine in 1936. The McNeills purchased plans from the magazine for $3.00 and built their flat-roofed, white stucco-covered house the following year. The group studied the house from the basement to the roof terraces and walked through the many walled gardens that surround the house. The McNeill house was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 and was the first International Style building listed in Georgia.
In the afternoon, Erick Montgomery of Historic Augusta, Inc., led a walking tour of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. Listed in the National Register in 2004, the historic district encompasses the historic commercial district centered on Broad Street, industrial properties along the Savannah River, and governmental, religious, and residential resources along Greene and Telfair streets. The district includes historic buildings dating from the 1820s through the 1960s and built in a wide variety of architectural styles, such as Federal, Greek Revival, Second Empire, High Victorian Gothic, Romanesque Revival, Beaux-Arts, Art Deco, and Art Moderne. Previous National Register listings within the larger historic district include Broad Street and Greene Street historic districts, sixteen individually listed properties and two National Historic Landmarks.
Mr. Montgomery highlighted the significant concentration of International Style buildings in Augusta constructed from the late 1940s through the mid-1960s. These range from small, brick-and-glass stores to large department stores and black steel-framed skyscrapers. Augusta, which has a larger collection of modern buildings than other similar-sized cities in Georgia, such as Columbus, Macon, and Savannah, experienced a decade or more of growth after the Second World War when a series of federal projects bolstered the city’s economy. These projects include the conversion of Camp Gordon to a permanent army installation with a population of roughly 30,000 and the construction of Clark Hill Dam on the Savannah River. In neighboring South Carolina, the construction of the Savannah River Plant, which produced plutonium for nuclear weapons during the Cold War and had a workforce of more than 38,000 during the 1950s, resulted in significant development of downtown Augusta when the popularity of modernism was on the rise.
The walking tour also included a behind-the-scenes tour of the Miller Theater on Broad Street. The Art Deco theater, which closed in the 1970s, includes a 1,600-seat auditorium, which is surrounded by relief paintings and cast-aluminum architectural ornament and fixtures. The group heard about efforts that are underway to restore the theater.
The tour included a tour of several late modern structures by the master architect I. M. Pei of New York. Georgia State Senator R. Eugene Holley commissioned Pei to design a penthouse atop the 1913 Lamar Building on Broad Street. Completed in 1976, the penthouse, locally referred to as “the toaster,” features a high vaulted ceiling and views of the city from all sides. Senator Holley also added a helicopter landing pad to the roof of the Lamar Building. The group also toured Bicentennial Plaza and the Chamber of Commerce Building, designed by Pei in 1975. The brick plaza, a streetscape of parks and parking areas in the center of Broad Street, was an effort by the city to compete with two, large shopping centers that had recently opened in the suburbs of Augusta.
The tour concluded with dinner at the Pinnacle Club on the top (16th floor) of the Georgia Railroad and Bank Building, now known as the Wachovia Building. Completed in 1967 by Augusta architect Robert McCreary, the Georgia Railroad building is among the best examples of modern skyscrapers in the state. The black steel-framed tower is a grid of vertical piers and window mullions that frame the dark glass windows. Located on the two top floors of the building since it opened, the club’s interior is designed in the Colonial Revival style with smaller dining rooms reflecting the tastes of the individual club members to whom the rooms are dedicated.
For more information about DOCOMOMO-GA, please see the website at www.docomomoga.org
For more information about Historic Augusta, Inc., please see the website at www.historicaugusta.org
Is Living in a Historic House Right for You?
by Bill Hover, Tax Incentives & Rehabilitation Guidance Program Manager and Architectural Reviewer
A historic house like the Wren's Nest in Atlanta (as seen in 1943 on the left and in 2009 on the right) presents unique challenges to its owner. The basic question to ask yourself is do you actually want to live in an old house or is what you want more along the lines of wanting to live in a house that resembles an old one?
In this context, here are some things you need to consider:
Older homes are typically smaller and/or have smaller living spaces. As such, you need to figure out creative ways to live within those spaces. Otherwise, you end up making major changes, which makes the house less historic and more along the lines of a new house that resembles an old one.
Older homes have quirks. These may include floors that aren't level, odd previous changes made to the house,“extra” exterior doors, and having to go through one room to get to another, to mention a few. While changing these things could be possible, if you are uncomfortable with the quirks, maybe an older house just really isn’t your lifestyle.
Older homes require maintenance. Of course, this is actually true for newer homes as well, it’s just that because older homes have likely suffered from deferred or no maintenance, it’s much more apparent with them.
When renovating an older home it’s important to keep the features and finishes that make up its historic character. Removing the old stuff and replacing it with modern equivalents, often with the expectation that the new material doesn’t require maintenance, doesn’t do this. Renovation projects should begin with those that stabilize the house’s envelope, typically roof repair or replacement, taking special care that flashing and roof penetrations are done correctly and gutters and downspouts are functioning properly, foundation repairs, and repairs to exterior walls and openings. Once these repairs are done, the building systems (electrical, plumbing, HVAC) should be addressed. Updating these systems to modern requirements should be accomplished in a manner that doesn’t require gutting the interior of the building to access voids in the framing. This typically means these improvements are going to be more labor intensive and more costly. However, some of that increased cost should be offset by not having the major interior project which gutting will require. After the building system projects are complete, insulation should be added in the attic and at the first floor, if it is accessible from the basement or crawlspace. Generally speaking, if the exterior walls of a historic house are in good condition, insulation should not be added, as the cost payback from energy savings is fairly distant and doing so could create hidden conditions resulting in eventual damage.
With other renovation projects, care should be taken to retain historic material and finishes; just because plaster is cracked, doesn’t mean it can’t be repaired. Windows should be retained. While they have a misguided reputation for energy inefficiency, that can often be corrected by repairs to make them function properly, caulking, and the simple addition of storm windows.
Finally, additions should be designed and built such that they are visually unobtrusive and subordinate to the historic portion of the house.
If you are thinking about purchasing and rehabilitating a historic home, or rehabbing the historic home you live in, you may be eligible for tax incentives. To find out more about these programs, please visit www.gashpo.org/content/displaynavigation.asp?TopCategory=199.
Some good online resources for homeowners include:
The National Trust for Historic Preservation - Resources for Historic Homeowners
Preservation Books - Living in a Historic Community
Georgia State Historic Preservation Office timeline
compiled by Helen Talley-McRae, Public Affairs Coordinator
Part 9: 2005-2007 - Historic Preservation Division; Department of Natural Resources
A 2006 staff photo, taken at Hardman Farm in White County.
2005- HPD's biennial report for sfy2003-2004 produced.
- Preserving Georgia's Historic Courthouses resource guide produced.
- Historic Preservation License Plate (2005); 40-2-86.13 - Authorizes a special license plate to benefit historic preservation funding. The net proceeds of the sale of these plates will fund preservation activities through the Georgia Heritage grant program.
- Georgia Land Conservation Act (2005); 36-22-1/15 - Provides a comprehensive program of funding and tax incentives to protect a broad range of natural and historic properties through land acquisition and/or conservation easements.
- HPD's congressional report for sfy2005 produced.
- HPD received an award from the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) for establishing the nation's first African American program in a state historic preservation office.
- GPB's Georgia Outdoors "Archaeology" episode originally aired Friday, September 8, 2006. "From sunken battleships and river boats to the burial mounds of long vanished native cultures to mysterious shell rings found on our barrier islands, archaeology helps us to discover secrets of Georgia's history hidden beneath our soil and scattered along our waterways."
- HPD's biennial report for sfy2005-2006 and congressional report for sfy2006 produced.
- Georgia's State Historic Preservation Plan 2007-2011: Building a Preservation Ethic produced.
- Preserve America federal grants program became available.
- Preserving Georgia's Historic Cemeteries resource guide produced.
- The restoration of the State Captiol was completed. Read "Restoration of the Georgia State Capitol: 1994-2007" and "State Capitol Restoration/Museum Collections" by former Capitol Museum director, Dorothy Olson.
- Articles and publications posted on HPD's Web site - www.gashpo.org
- Overview of Georgia Trust GAPA State Advocacy Efforts
Part 1: 1951-1973, Georgia Historical Commission appeared in the September 2009 edition of Preservation Posts
Part 2: 1973-1978, Historic Preservation Section, Office of Planning and Research, Department of Natural Resources appeared in the October 2009 edition of Preservation Posts
Part 3: 1978-1986, Historic Preservation Section appeared in the November 2009 edition of Preservation Posts
Part 4: 1986-1990, Historic Preservation Section; Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division; Department of Natural Resources appeared in the December 2009 edition of Preservation Posts
Part 5: 1990-1994 - Historic Preservation Section, appeared in the January 2010 edition of Preservation Posts
Part 6: 1994-1998 - Historic Preservation Division, appeared in the February 2010 edition of Preservation Posts
Part 7: 1999-2001 - Historic Preservation Division, appeared in the March 2010 edition of Preservation Posts
Part 8: 2002-2004 - Historic Preservation Division, appeared in the April 2010 edition of Preservation Posts
Dean Baker, Transpotation Enhancements Reviewer What attracted you to the field of historic preservation? Why is it important?
I became involved in historic preservation through my work as a city planner. After finishing graduate school in the City and Regional Planning Program at Clemson I worked for the cities of Roswell and Woodstock. At Roswell, in addition to working with their economic development program, I was also briefly the Main Street Program Manager. I realized that the projects related to historic preservation interested me the most and that led me to the Heritage Preservation Program at Georgia State. Soon after I finished at GSU, my wife, had a short-term job opportunity in New Zealand. While there, I was able to work with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and get a bit more preservation experience. Soon after we returned from New Zealand, our first son (of three) was born and a few months after that I came to work at HPD.
Historic Preservation is important in my view because it is a tangible connection to the past. It helps to tell the story of a place and why it developed where it did. The part of this that really appeals to me is the idea that a building, with regular upkeep, can last for many generations. Having kids gives you a much stronger concern for leaving the world a better place than you found it and I feel that working in preservation is one of many ways that we can help make a difference.
What are your main duties at HPD? What do you do on a typical day?
I work with the Transportation Enhancement (TE) program primarily. There are a variety of TE funded project types that include, sidewalks, downtown streetscapes, trails and the renovation of transportation structures, such as train depots. Not every TE project requires our involvement, but for those that do, we are involved through the life of each project seeing it through construction. I review projects for historic resources, and later in the process, the project development plans. Once the project moves to construction, we make site visits at the mid-point of construction and project completion. Recently, we have been finding ways to make the work we do with TE projects more available to anyone who might have an interest. The first result of this is the Better Streets, Better Cities blog (betterstreets.blogspot.com) that highlights projects and includes some interesting ideas that might be used in future TE projects.
What do you like most about your job?
Working with the TE program is very gratifying since TE funded projects provide a long-term benefit to their communities. We have many partners involved in the TE process at different phases. Developing relationships with these partners including our colleagues at GDOT, the planners from the regional commissions and the designers, contractors and local sponsors is one of the best parts of my job. The process for TE projects can take a few years from our initial review to actual construction, so it is also nice to have been around long enough to actually see projects make it to completion.
I really like the concept of constant process improvement. (Having a family with 3 young boys and a full time job makes this something of a requirement.) The overall TE program has a history of process innovation, starting with the move to a completely web-based application process in 2004. Following this precedent, HPD has been using an electronic review process for TE projects for most of the past year. Working closely with our partners at GDOT we have been able to create a protocol for moving review documents electronically. Aside from saving resources, such as paper and the energy required to physically move the documents from place to place, we now save over $3 in postage for each TE letter now sent electronically and our review times have decreased by over two days per project with the new process. None of these improvements are all that significant individually, but they represent a way that a preservation ethic can carry over to other parts of our lives and help to incrementally make the world better place to be.