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NCPTT’s Historic Landscapes Program encourages research and partnerships to improve the technologies available to practitioners as they undertake the complex tasks of documenting, preserving, and interpreting the historic landscapes significant to a wide variety of people and cultures.

Debbie Smith recently joined NCPTT as the new Chief of the Historic Landscapes Program. She came to NCPTT from the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation where she worked for the past seven years as a historical landscape architect. Prior to OCLP, she taught in the Environmental, Design and Buildings Technology Department at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Mich.; worked as a cultural landscape consultant for Carlisle/Wortman Associates in Ann Arbor, Mich.; and served as an intern with the Michigan State Preservation Office in Lansing, Michigan. Debbie received her Masters of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Michigan in 1999.

Prototype Electronic Maintenance Management System for Historic Sites

The Historic Landscapes Program and the Materials Research Program are working together to define an electronic maintenance management system that will address a wide-range of landscape features, including cemetery monuments markers. An outline of data base fields and subfields has been created for vegetation, monuments and markers. Work will be further defined and expanded upon in fiscal year 2008.

Front Street , Natchitoches, Lousiana

Front Street , Natchitoches, Lousiana

Proposed location of several crosswalks and ramped curb cuts.
(Photo Credit: Debbie Smith)

Front Street Rehabilitation Project: Crosswalks and Curb Cuts

Debbie Smith and Andy Ferrell met with Natchitoches Mayor Wayne McCullen and others to discuss the accessibility of a proposed project to rehabilitate Front Street, the primary commercial road within the Nachitoches National Historic Landmark District. Issues discussed included the planned locations of crosswalks and ramped curb cuts, and the appropriateness of the design within the historic district.

Historic Landscape Web Resources

With the assistance of Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts (LSMSA) student Blakey Lawhon, the Historic Landscape Program is assembling a bibliography of web resources related to the preservation of historic landscapes. The bibliography, which will include journal articles and NPS publications, will be added to the NCPTT web site. The bibliography will include links to the online resources.

Lee Nelson Hall Landscape Plan: Installation Documentation

View of the Lee Nelson Hall landscape

View of the Lee Nelson Hall landscape

After landscape installation August 6, 2007.
(Photo Credit: Debbie Smith)

View of the Lee Nelson Hall landscape

View of the Lee Nelson Hall landscape

Before landscape installation, July 3, 2007.
(Photo Credit: Debbie Smith)

Debbie Smith documented installation of the irrigation system and new plantings associated with the Lee Nelson Hall Landscape Plan. Using repeat photography, Smith was able to record the landscape prior to ground breaking, during installation, and after completion.

Gum Springs Picnic Area

Gum Springs Picnic Area

CCC constructed picnic shelter overlooking naturalized swimming pool.
(Photo Credit: Debbie Smith)

Gum Springs Picnic Area

Debbie Smith met with Velicia Berstrom and Lee Stewart, Heritage Resource Program staff at the Kitsatchie National Forest to discuss HALS documentation of the National Register eligible Gum Springs Picnic Area, constructed by the CCC between 1937 and 1940. Site Documentation is one of several mitigation measures required by the Louisiana SHPO in response to an adverse effect caused when a contractor breached an earthen dam associated with a .5 acre CCC-built naturalized swimming pool.

As a result of the site visit and later conversations with the director of the HALS program and staff at the Louisiana SHPO, Smith advised the Forest Service staff to complete draft HABS/HAER Documentation begun in the 1990s, instead of initiating HALS documentation, with the understanding that landscape features typically recorded in HALS will be included in the documentation. The Historic Landscape Program will assist the Forest Service staff to identify these landscape features.

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