(originally posted October 31, 2016)
This Fall’s edition of What’s New highlights the company’s big move, showcases a rehabilitation project and a HABS project, and a new video offering featuring Donut.
Hardlines Design Company Sells Cultural Resources Division to Commonwealth Heritage Group
On April 11, 2016, HDC decided to divest itself of the cultural resources department in order to focus on architecture, historic architecture, preservation planning, and architectural history. See the following news articles for coverage:
HDC Completes Rehabilitation of Historic Church
View of Exterior and Interior of the Wildermuth Memorial Church in Carroll, Ohio
In the Fall of 2015, HDC was commissioned by the Wildermuth Memorial Church Board to prepare an assessment and recommendations report to rehabilitate the church for the congregation’s 200th anniversary in 2016. The church was likely built in the 1830s and then moved across the street to the current location in 1875 and moved further back from the road in the early 1950s to accommodate a road widening project. The Board approved the recommendations and commissioned HDC to move forward with the design and construction of all the recommended work. Exterior work consisted of a new faux wood shake roof on the church and a new asphalt shingle roof on the attached youth center, reconstruction of the furnace flue/chimney, and repair/refurbishment of the windows, siding, trim, and shutters. Interior work included removal of two levels of acoustical ceilings to restore the original ceiling height with a new drywall finish, removal of the carpet and restoration of the wood floor and base, and restoration of the original chancel floor with carpet only in the area of the 1970s expansion. The church held a 200th anniversary public open house on July 30, 2016, that was attended by almost 300 people.
HDC goes to Alaska for the First Time!
Exterior and interior views of Building 1190 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska
HDC was sub-contracted by Versar, Inc. to complete HABS documentation of a hangar proposed for demolition at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska, for the Alaska Air National Guard. In October, HDC President/Historic Architect Charissa Durst traveled to Fairbanks with Jeff Bates, who has been HDC’s HABS/HAER photographer for over 20 years. Building 1190 was one of four identical hangars constructed from 1946-1948 to prepare aircraft for transport to the Soviet Union under the lend-lease program after World War II. The other three hangars were lost to fire or demolished to make way for new construction. This hangar (Building 1190) was retained and has been used since 1958 as an air freight terminal under Air Mobility Command to deliver supplies to locations all over the world for all branches of the Department of Defense.
A Day in the Park with Donut
If you ever wondered what exactly Donut does when she’s at the park, check out this compilation video:
(by Andy Sewell, originally posted July 1, 2013)
Stewart Elementary School Enters Main Phase of Construction
Stewart Elementary School is the oldest school still in operation in the Columbus City School District. The original building was constructed in 1874. The main entry was on Stewart Avenue and the building contained four classrooms on each of the two main floors. In 1894, an addition was constructed to the west that contained two classrooms on each floor. In the mid 1920s, the front entry stair was removed and the space made into two small rooms on each floor. The entry was moved to City Park and a second stair constructed at the connector between the 1874 and 1894 wings. In the 1950s, two small basement rooms under the original front entry were combined to form a large multi-purpose room with a small stage. At this time, the front entry was moved back to Stewart Avenue at the 1920s connector location.
In the summer of 2010, a fire damaged the southwest corner of the 1874 wing. In spring 2011, Columbus City Schools commissioned Hardlines Design Company to design the renovation and addition to Stewart Elementary School. The project proved to be quite a challenge. The building lies within the German Village Historic District, which is the oldest and, some would argue, the strictest of the City’s commissions. In addition, the District purchased land across Pearl Street for playgrounds and playing fields, which lies within the Brewery District Historic District. This project therefore had to be reviewed by both commissions, and special meetings had to be set up so both sets of commissioners could comment at the same time.
Another challenge was the funding. Schools funded by the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) are budgeted based on square footage, but without any concessions for building size; large schools are budgeted at the same per square foot cost as a smaller school. As a result, small schools are typically under budgeted, and Stewart Elementary School, at 350 students, is the smallest size school OSFC will consider funding. On top of all this, this project had the normal procedures of any urban school in the City of Columbus: zoning appeals, CC drawings reviews, and drawer E reviews for work in the right of way.
To maintain the construction schedule, HDC obtained approval from the German Village Commission to remove the connector between the 1874 and 1894 wings and issued an early demolition package, which was completed in spring 2013. HDC obtained certificates of appropriateness from both commissions along with all City review processes, and the main phase project is currently under construction with the goal of completion in time for the start of the 2014 school year.
Left: Stewart Elementary School before renovation. Right: Rendering of proposed addition
HDC Completes Zoar Historic Baseline Study for Corps of Engineers
The village of Zoar in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, holds a unique place in Ohio history. Founded in 1817 by a group of German Separatists fleeing religious persecution in Germany, Zoar is a well-preserved example of a nineteenth century communal society, with numerous surviving houses, buildings, and landscape features that illustrate the distinctive character of its inhabitants. The Society of Separatists of Zoar existed from 1817 to 1898, and was an agrarian communal society, with a small industrial component that produced raw material and finished products from natural resources and agricultural products. At their height in the mid-nineteenth century, the Separatists owned close to 12,000 acres and had over 300 members. They had two grist mills, a woolen factory, owned two iron furnaces, and operated sawmills. The Separatists played a role in the development of the Ohio & Erie Canal in the late 1820s, contracting to excavated 3 miles of the canal through their landholdings and building a lock and other components. Differing from other communal organizations like the Shakers, membership was largely limited to ethnic Germans, with very few non-Germans allowed to join the society. The Separatists were inward-looking, seeking to sustain their existing community rather than convert others to adopt their ways.
Zoar Garden House and Greenhouse
The historic value of Zoar was recognized early in the twentieth century, as residents took steps to preserve important landmarks, beginning with restoring the ornamental public garden in 1930. The community was threatened with inundation from the construction of Dover Dam during the 1930s as part of a massive flood control program in the Muskingum River watershed. However, the USACE was persuaded through public outpouring to protect Zoar with a massive earthen levee and an upstream diversion system, completed in 1938, rather than relocate the community as happened with other similar-sized villages in areas that would be in the new flood zone created by the dam. The village of Zoar may be the only such community protected because of its historical, rather than economical, significance. Portions of the village became a State Memorial in the 1940s, and the village was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.
Over the course of the last 75 years, the Zoar Levee and Diversion Dam has served its purpose well, protecting Zoar from periodic flooding episodes. However, recent events have revealed developing flaws in the levee system that must be addressed by the Huntington District of the Corps of Engineers. To find a long-term plan to reduce risk to Zoar, Huntington is currently preparing a Dam Safety Modification Report (DSMR) for the Zoar Levee and Diversion Dam in accordance Section 2033 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007, which among other things, requires Huntington to adopt a risk analysis approach to project cost estimates for water resource projects and ensure that the benefits and costs associated with structural and nonstructural alternatives are evaluated in an equitable manner. A building block of the DSMR is producing baseline studies of existing conditions at Zoar, including studies of environmental, societal, and historical factors. Huntington contracted Tetra Tech, Inc, to produce a historical property baseline study and a community impacts baseline study for the DSMR.
As a subcontractor to Tetra Tech, Inc, HDC completed the historic property baseline study for the Zoar Levee and Diversion Dam. The baseline study included exhaustive archival research to create an in-depth history of Zoar Village and its founders, the Society of Separatists of Zoar. The baseline study also examined the history of Zoar Village during the twentieth century. A survey of all above-ground resources within the 708-acre study area centered on Zoar Village collected information on 348 buildings, structures, and landscape features, along with three buildings and structures outside the study area confirmed to have Separatist associations. In addition, pre-contact and historical archaeology probability models were developed for the entire study area to aid in assessing project alternatives developed by the USACE.
As part of the this project, HDC also assessed the previous National Register documentation for the Zoar Historic District. The National Register assessment resulted in recommendations for a revised list of contributing resources, an expanded period of significance, and an expansion of the district boundary, although actually preparing a National Register update was not in the scope of the project. Meetings with consulting parties, stakeholders, and residents of the village took place in March 2013, with the baseline study documents completed at the end of June 2013.
HDC documents Columbus’ First Public Housing Project, Poindexter Village
Poindexter Village, located on Columbus’ near east side, is the city’s first public housing project. While not the first federally-funded public housing project in the nation (that honor goes to Techwood Homes in Atlanta), Poindexter Village is one of the earliest such projects built in Ohio. Construction of Poindexter Village began in 1939 at the site of “The Blackberry Patch,” a traditionally African American neighborhood near the Champion Avenue Public School and the Union Grove Baptist Church. The housing project was designed by the Columbus architectural firm of Richards, McCarty, and Bulford, and consists of 35 two-story buildings of multi-family housing, originally laid out in eleven blocks. The twelfth block (Block XII) was constructed in 1960 at the same time as Poindexter Tower.
Poindexter Village is considered to be historically significant for its association with the history and development of the Federal housing programs of the 1930s and 1940s. It is also associated with the early history and development of the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) and its efforts to provide safe, sanitary, and decent housing for low-income city residents as a result of the Depression-era housing reforms. In addition, Poindexter Village is significant for its association with the African American history of the east side of Columbus.
Poindexter Village was a bustling residential complex for years, but as the decades passed, the buildings within Poindexter Village began to show their age. While efforts were made to continually modernize the units, the expense to maintain and renovate the buildings began to outpace the ability to fund those projects. The CHMA has vacated the buildings and demolition of many of the buildings in Poindexter Village is currently underway to allow for redevelopment of the land.
Prior to commencement of demolition, the CMHA, in consultation with the City of Columbus and the Ohio Historic Preservation Officer (OHPO), developed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to mitigate the adverse effect caused by the demolition. In February 2013, the CMHA hired Hardlines to complete Stipulation II outlined in the MOA signed between the City of Columbus, CMHA, and the OHPO. Stipulation II required the documentation of Poindexter Village, including a narrative report, current photographic documentation, historic photographs, copies of existing and historical drawings of the buildings, and paper copies of Ohio Historic Inventory (OHI) forms for each of the eight row house types in Poindexter Village. Work to meet the stipulation was completed in June 2013. The documentation will be maintained at the State Library of Ohio and will be accessible to future generations interested in learning about this part of our city’s history.
Donut Finds a New Playmate!
We’ve always known that Donut’s play instinct is way stronger than her prey instinct. When she was two months old, she saw her first rabbit on a walk (it was almost as big as she was back then), but instead of chasing it, she gave a play bow and wagged her tail! That’s when we knew Donut just wasn’t going to be a very good hunting dog, unlike her predecessor Bagle. Maybe the traits go together: Donut really likes to play, and Bagle, being much more serious minded, hardly ever played.
Donut’s early playmates lived in the neighborhood, as many of the neighbors adopted puppies around the same time and brought them to the same field to play. Her best friend was a German Shepherd named Journey, who was two weeks younger. As a result, they were about the same size for a month, before Journey grew to be almost three times heavier at 85 pounds. Then there was Zoe, a hound mix; Lizzy, a golden retriever; Buddy, a black lab; and Finn, a yellow lab. Donut also ran with the vizlas, as our neighborhood for some reason supported four of these not-so-common breeds.
In the office, Donut got to play with Karly, the beagle that belongs to historian Roy Hampton. When Roy retired, Karly stopped coming to the office. However, HDC’s new architect Brad Curtis has a family dog named Baxter, who visits the office every now and then. Brad keeps these visits few and far between, since when Donut and Baxter play, everyone stops working to watch their antics. Baxter is Donut’s opposite: male, about a year old, and only 10 pounds in size. As a result, there is no competition and Baxter brings out Donut’s inner puppy (never lurking too far from the surface) as the two of them happily run around the office and wrestle. The staff looks forward to the days when Donut gets to play with Baxter, but we probably have to make sure no cats are visiting!
Donut and Baxter rest after wrestling all morning
(by Andy Sewell, originally posted February 11, 2013)
One of the biggest archaeology stories to hit the news recently has been the discovery of the remains of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, underneath a parking lot in Leicester, England. Richard III (1452-1485; ruled 1483-1485) was killed in battle, and buried at Greyfriars friary. Over the years, the knowledge of the grave’s location was lost to history, and successive waves of building at the location led many to assume the site was destroyed over time. However, a project specifically designed to locate Richard’s remains was conducted by a joint effort of the University of Leicester, the Leicester City Council, and the Richard III Society. Using historical maps, the team identified the former location of Greyfriars, under a modern parking lot, and began excavations. Very quickly, the team found a burial of an adult male, showing evidence of death in battle and exhibiting a spinal deformity, matching the physical description of Richard III (Shakespeare famously described him as “deformed” and “unfinished” in his play Richard III). DNA testing of descendants of the Plantagenet line confirmed that the body was in fact that of the king. Richard III apparently suffered mortal wounds to the head, and received other wounds at or just after death, likely by Tudor soldiers who intended to desecrate the body. Richard’s body was displayed publically, then buried in the garden at Greyfriars.
What is truly notable about the discovery of the remains of Richard III is the fact that the grave survived intact over centuries of development. All too often, urban archaeological projects must face the preconception that development over the years has erased all traces of what was there before. Urban archaeologists, however, are well aware this is not always the case. In fact, as the discovery of Richard III attests, significant archaeology sites are often just below our feet as we go about our daily lives.
In the United States, the most famous (and perhaps infamous) urban archaeological site is the African Burial Ground in New York City. The burial ground operated as a cemetery for New York City’s enslaved African population from ca. 1690 to 1794, and was filled over in the nineteenth century to prepare the land for development. A department store was built on the site in 1846. In 1991, a new federal office building was planned for the site. Although planners were aware that the location was formerly a burial ground, they assumed that the site had been completely destroyed through two centuries of urban development. However, burials began showing up during the excavation of the building’s foundation, setting off a controversy that was finally resolved with the redesign of the project to avoid areas predicted to have the highest probability for intact burials and the dedication of a memorial on the site. Study of the excavated remains have yielded much information about the lives of New York City’s earliest African-American inhabitants.
Important archaeological sites in urban locations are not only associated with the people who lived in those communities, but with populations that lived hundreds and even thousands of years before. Even today, excavations in East St. Louis, Illinois, continue to find evidence of Mississippian urbanization associated with the mound center of Cahokia. Excavations associated with a new bridge project have uncovered thousands of house patterns and the base of a previously unknown pyramid mound, in an area that was formerly industrial in nature. Closer to home here in Columbus, Hardlines Design Company has participated in urban archaeology projects of much lesser scale than those in Leicester, New York, or East St. Louis, but prove nonetheless that significant archaeology sites can exist under the modern urban landscapes of Ohio.
In 2007, Hardlines conducted limited archaeological testing at the location of the new Franklin County Courthouse at Mound and High streets in downtown Columbus, Ohio. The objective of the dig was to test the proposition that there were areas within the new courthouse location with intact archaeological deposits. After removing the asphalt in the archaeological testing area, archaeologists uncovered two building foundations, two brick-lined privies, a brick path, and a possible unlined privy, plus two other possible shaft features were noted outside the area where the pavement was removed. One test unit recovered 677 artifacts, including 554 historical artifacts, 17 prehistoric artifacts, and 106 faunal remains. The soil layers appear to be intact, with the oldest (prehistoric) artifacts located in the deepest soil layers and the youngest artifacts nearest the surface, with limited mixing of material. Due to the nature of the project and its funding sources, no further archaeological excavation was performed; however, the limited excavations at the site demonstrated that there is a great potential for the discovery of significant archaeological sites within the urban core of Columbus.
Further afield, Hardlines performed intensive excavations at a Late Prehistoric/Fort Ancient site in Lawrence County that was under a late twentieth century subdivision. Despite disturbances from nineteenth century agricultural practices and twentieth century house construction and installation of utilities such as septic tanks, several intact prehistoric features were found during excavations, often just next to modern disturbances. Large numbers of artifacts, including lithic tools, pottery, and food remains, were recovered from these features.
Finally, Hardlines has been working on a project at Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem, Massachusetts, investigating the site of the earliest warehouse on Derby Wharf, dating to 1765. The project is ongoing, but has demonstrated that despite nearly two hundred years of development and landfilling, and subsequent land disturbance through renovations of the wharf by the National Park Service, evidence for the warehouse is still present at the location.
What does all this mean for assessing the probability that a significant archaeological site is located in an urban setting? Well, while it is highly unlikely that your parking lot is covering the burial of a king, it is possible that an important archaeological site could be present. How does one go about determining if this is the case? Thorough research into the land use history of a parcel is one key component, using historical maps, photographs, and other documents. Especially useful are Sanborn fire insurance maps, which can be used to construct a detailed picture of development on a piece of property over time. Identifying building locations and landfilling episodes are key to locating areas where archaeological sites may survive, as well as documenting locations that are thoroughly disturbed. Knowledge of prehistoric cultural lifeways is critical, as many cities and towns are located in areas that were highly attractive for settlement in the pre-Columbian period: close to water, elevated above flood plains, and well-drained. Finally, archaeological testing of your property is always a good idea if you cannot determine with research that there is no possibility for survival of archaeological deposits through development. Keeping the possibility of intact archaeological sites at an urban development site in mind and accounting for it in project planning may pay off in avoiding controversy at a later date, even if there are no funding or permitting requirements calling for archaeological assessment of the project location.
(by Andy Sewell, originally posted January 21, 2013)
Hardlines is pleased to announce the hiring of Ben Riggle as our new staff historian. Ben comes to us from a position with R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc, in Frederick, Maryland, and is well-versed in state and federal preservation laws and guidelines. Ben is an Ohio native, and completed his Master’s degree in American History with a concentration in Historic Preservation at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Ben brings past experience with Section 106 compliance projects, Historic American Building Survey (HABS) documentation, and studies of Cold War-era military architecture to our office. We look forward to a very productive future with Ben in our Cultural Resources department!
(by Andy Sewell, originally posted October 18, 2012)
Hardlines Design Company recently completed a comprehensive guide to Mid-Century Modern military buildings for the Department of Defense (DoD) under the Legacy Program. The guide, cataloged as Legacy Program Project 11-448, will be of great assistance to military cultural resources managers who are faced with the growing problem of how to assess buildings constructed between 1950 and 1975, considered the height of the Mid-Centry Modern architectural style. Although the DoD re-used many buildings constructed during the World War II period during the initial years of the Cold War era, modern installations and buildings were required for some of the different and new functions developed as part of the evolution of the U.S. military at the time.
Architectural Modernism is represented in many of these Cold War-era military properties. Architectural Modernism describes a number of related architectural movements and styles developed during the twentieth century, representing a break with past architectural styles and trends. Hardlines Design Company prepared the Mid-Century Modern Guide with the goal of providing information and guidance to cultural resources managers evaluating the National Register eligibility for military properties dating between 1950 and 1975 that were influenced by architectural Modernism. The guide specifically addresses issues and concerns associated with applying National Register Criterion C (the criterion for architectural and engineering significance) to buildings and structures constructed between 1950 and 1975 with a relationship to the Modern architectural movements.
In addition to Section 106 evaluations, Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires the DoD to evaluate properties for their eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places and to catalog all National Register-eligible properties. Typically in the past, federally-owned properties are first evaluated for National Register eligibility when they are at or close to fifty years of age. Currently, there are thousands of DoD properties dating back to the 1950s that have recently passed the fifty-year mark, and thousands more built in the 1960s and 1970s which are now at or close to that threshold.
Although the guide emphasizes the evaluation of individual buildings for National Register eligibility, information is included for addressing historic districts and landscapes related to the Mid-Century Modern context. During the period of significance for the context (1950–1975), the DoD erected new installations or added campus areas to existing installations. The guide cautions consultants and cultural resources managers to consider the possibility of historic district creation when evaluating groups of buildings associated with the Mid-Century Modern context. In addition to buildings, these districts may also include significant planning and landscape features, such as:deliberate building placement; locations and relationships of walls, plazas, and roads; and landscape plantings, like ornamental trees and open lawns.
The guide presents a historic context outlining the growth of the Modernistic architectural influences in U.S. military architecture from its industrial origins during World War I through the Cold War and early 1970s. The document details the physical features and materials important in the different mid-century Modernist architectural styles. In addition, a list of sources useful in researching the architectural significance of military buildings is provided. The application of the guide is illustrated through sample assessments for a number of buildings at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
The full document is available for download as a PDF at the following link (Note-the link will open up the report in a separate browser window, from which you can print or save a copy):
This project and subsequent report were funded by the DoD Legacy Resource Management Program in fiscal year 2011. Hardlines Design Company would most of all like to thank Air Force Materiel Command for supporting the 2011 DoD Legacy proposal for this project. In addition, we would like to thank the following people for their invaluable assistance, guidance, and expertise:
- Mr. Paul Woodruff, cultural resources manager of the 88th Civil Engineer Directorate Environmental Quality Section at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB)
- Mr. David Love of the 88th Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Office, WPAFB
- Dr. Henry Narducci of the 88th Air Base Wing History Office, WPAFB
- Mr. Erwin Roemer, RPA, cultural resources manager at Air Force Material Command
- the staff of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Inc.
- the staff of Cecilia Brothers
(by Andy Sewell, originally posted on July 17, 2012)
After fifteen years with Hardlines Design Company, senior historian Roy Hampton has retired. Roy’s tenure with Hardlines was marked by several career highlights, including National Register nominations for Rockefeller Park in Cleveland and Wright Field at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, numerous ICRMPs for the U.S. Navy, HAER documentation of the NASA Glenn Rocket Test Facility in Cleveland, and work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including the Ohio River Navigation Survey and documentations of several large dams.
We wish Roy (and Karly) the best of luck with whatever the future brings!
Roy, not afraid to get down in the dirt, examining historical features at the Harmony Brickworks on a USACE project
(by Andy Sewell, originally posted March 29, 2012)
One of the most common questions clients ask us is whether their project really needs a cultural resources survey. Determining if a cultural resources survey is necessary depends largely on whether a relevant federal, state, or local law applies to the project. That is to say, is the project under the purview of a federal or state authority or funding source that requires the project to consider the effect on cultural resources? Here are three questions you can ask yourself to help clarify the matter:
1) What is my funding source? If any of the funds that will be used for the project come from the federal government, even if they are administered by a state or local agency, it is highly likely that a review of known cultural resources or a complete cultural resources survey will be necessary. Common examples of government funding sources include:
- Federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which provide aid for a variety of local development concerns
- The U.S. EPA’s State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG), which helps states and tribes pay for water supply and wastewater projects
- Funds from the Federal Highway Administration, which are used by state and local governments for transportation projects
2) Will I need a government permit, certification, licensure, or other form of approval to complete any part of my project? If the project requires federal approval before it can proceed, then it is highly likely that some form of cultural resources review or survey will be necessary. Common examples of government permits or certifications encountered by municipalities and private industry include:
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit for projects that lead to the introduction of material from excavation, dredging and other similar activities into waters of the United States, such as lakes, rivers, and wetlands
- The Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) approval for constructing new wireless communications towers (FCC Form 620)
- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval for constructing interstate natural gas pipelines.
3) If federal or state funding or permitting is not involved in your project, is there a local ordinance that protects cultural resources or requires that cultural resources be identified before the project can proceed? For example, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, requires many developers to identify cultural resources as part of the proposed project’s planning and zoning review process.
Federal and state regulations can have confusing jargon and result in miscommunication. Take control of this situation with our series of guides about cultural resources regulations and compliance! The second guide in our series reviews federal and Ohio regulations that require certain types of projects to take into account their effects on cultural resources, like archaeological sites or historic districts.
If you still need guidance on whether your project must comply with cultural resources laws and regulations, contact your funding or permitting source. Another great resource for information is your state historic preservation office. Be aware that if you disregard or are simply ignorant of federal and state laws, you can significantly delay government funding and permits as well as exponentially increase the cost of your project! And in some cases, you may face legal ramifications. When it comes to cultural resources, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
(by Andy Sewell, originally posted February 10, 2012)
In 2005, Hardlines Design Company (HDC) was tasked by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to conduct a Phase III archaeological data recovery at the historic Shaker community of Union Village as part of the realignment of State Route 741 in Warren County, Ohio. The part of Union Village that we examined was the North Family Lot, which included a communal house and numerous shops and outbuildings, and was occupied by the Shakers from 1815 until 1906. No buildings survive at the site.
One enigmatic building was the Pottery/Broom shop, shown below in the only known historical photograph. Before our study, little was known about this building, but our historical research revealed that it went through several phases of renovations. The building began as a one-story brick smith shop in 1826, and in 1836, an addition was built to convert the building into a pottery; then in 1852, a second story was added to convert the shop into a space for making brooms.
The Pottery/Broom Shop at the North Family Lot, ca. 1915
Archaeological investigations revealed two styles of foundation. One foundation was built solely of brick, and a second one butted up against the brick foundation but was made of limestone, raising the question: Which foundation is the original smith shop, and which is the 1836 pottery addition? One hypothesis was that the original foundation was the limestone one, as the communal house and other early shops have similar foundations. Bill Faciane, an architectural engineer with HDC, visited the excavations and determined that the two foundations showed differences in the mortar–lime was present in the limestone foundation, but the brick foundation had only sand–indicating that the foundations were built at different times. Bill noted too that a southern interior foundation was brick, while a similar foundation to the north was limestone. Excavation of the trenches for the foundations also revealed a key difference: The trenches on the brick foundation had relatively few artifacts, while the trenches on the limestone foundation were filled with cast-off pot sherds from the pottery.
Through the coalition of these three lines of inquiry and expertise, HDC was able to disprove the original hypothesis and instead conclude that it was the brick foundation that was the original smith shop, and the limestone foundation was the addition built when the pottery was active at the site. Further examples of how the synthesis of historical, architectural, and archaeological studies contributed to the understanding of the North Family Lot can be found in the four-volume report on the project, available as free PDFs at this link:
Encountering the Shakers of the North Family Lot, Union Village, Ohio
(by Charissa Durst, originally published November 30, 2011)
Why do we offer architecture, history, and archaeology under one roof?
The tripartite structure of Hardlines was a natural outgrowth and evolution of the overlapping talents and interests of Don and myself, shaped over time through opportunity, hard work, and a little bit of serendipity. In the end, it allows us to offer our clients a unique combination of expertise in solving all kinds of issues related to ground-disturbing activities, ranging from roadway work to building construction and renovation.
The story really begins back in Massachusetts, where I grew up with an affinity for American history and the old buildings around me that so vividly expressed it. I thought hard about pursuing a degree in history, but my love of drawing and design led me to choose architecture instead. In the late 1980s, when Don and I were in architecture school at the Ohio State University, we both took preservation design studio and classes with Paul Young and Judy Kitchen, where we trained in preservation law and learned the ins and outs of researching historic properties, preparing Ohio Historic Inventory forms, and designing new buildings on historic sites. Although Don’s architecture thesis had a more graphic design orientation, I found myself opting for a written one that included historical research and technical reports.
The Paul Revere House (above left) in Boston and the Ames Mansion (above right) in Easton, MA, two buildings that made a big impression on me when I was growing up.
When we graduated in 1990, we were not licensed architects, but our knowledge of how to research and document historic properties allowed us to dive into cultural resources projects such as HAER documentation at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, historic building inventories for the Wayne National Forest, and historic preservation plans for the Submarine Base in San Diego and Hill Air Force Base in Utah. I functioned as the company’s architectural historian during the early years. (Don noted that at least I got to put my written thesis to good use!) When I became a licensed architect, my focus changed, and we hired other people to fulfill this role. One part of the company has continued in that vein, and HDC is still well known for high-quality architectural history and preservation planning services.
The architectural division of the company really began operations in the mid-1990s, when Don and I successfully petitioned the Ohio Board of Examiners of Architects to allow us to take the architect licensing exam without completing internships under other architects, citing our relevant experience operating our own company (see previous blog entry). Our request was granted, and Don and I were licensed in 1995 and 1996 respectively. Not surprisingly, the company’s architectural design department specializes in renovating existing (and very often historic) buildings, a satisfying blend of our natural interests and experience.
Several years later, in 1998, one of our engineering clients suggested that we compete for the new ODOT cultural resources Request for Proposal—when we saw that it had a proposal limit of 12 pages (most RFPs were unlimited), we decided it was feasible! We won the first of several two-year cultural resources contracts with ODOT, and at that point hired our first archaeologist, as the ODOT contract required at least one pre-qualified archaeologist to be available. And so began our archaeology department, which has since grown and is now equipped to handle all sizes of projects, from small archaeological disturbance studies to large, complex Phase III data recoveries.
One of the major advantages of having all of these specialties under one roof is our ability to complete interesting projects for a variety of clients. For example, under a series of task order contracts with Naval Facilities Engineering Command, HDC’s cultural resources staff has completed archaeological surveys, historic building inventories, and integrated cultural resources management plans. Our architectural staff has conducted historic building assessments and prepared recommendations and cost estimates for various reuse options. Sometimes, all three departments collaborate on the same project, such as the Data Recovery for the Shaker North Village site, conducted for the Ohio Department of Transportation: HDC’s historians completed literature review, archaeology staff conducted the fieldwork, and the architectural staff helped identify various infrastructure components associated with the building foundations.
Having all these specialties together also makes for more interesting work for our employees. Many of the non-archaeology staff (myself included) have put in hard labor on archaeological data recovery projects, and HDC’s historians continue to conduct literature review for the archaeologists and help with historic building assessments for the architecture department. Most non-architectural staff have clocked some time measuring buildings to be rehabilitated, such as when our archaeologists crawled through and measured old tunnels under the Lincoln Theatre, an award-winning renovation project.
One of our archaeologists maps out the layout of the tunnels under the Lincoln Theatre.
We were able to validate the direction of the company in 1995, when HDC became founding members of the American Cultural Resources Association, a trade organization for companies that provide cultural resources services such as archaeology, history, preservation planning, and historic architecture. There we met other firms from across the country that offered similar combinations of services.
I often help the historians by doing research at the National Archives in Maryland, which is near my parents’ home and gives me an opportunity to visit. And sometimes, while I’m waiting for requested materials in the main reading room, I remember why I almost decided to major in history instead of architecture. As it turns out, I’m very lucky to have a job where I can do both!