Historic Preservation Projects

The Public and Environmental History Center partners with a variety of institutions and agencies to provide summer internships to Historic Preservation students and to provide historic preservation expertise to entities seeking to document, nominate, and preserve, historic buildings, structures, and landscapes. The PEHC performs a variety of preservation work, including National Register and National Historic Landmark nominations and amendments, Historic Furnishings Reports, context reports and surveys, records management, HABS/HAER/HALS documentation, and cultural landscape reports. Below are descriptions of historic preservation projects undertaken by the PEHC. Contact us to discover how we can partner with you on preservation projects.

National Register of Historic Places & National Historic Landmark nominations & amendments

Scout's Rest Ranch/Wild West Show National Historic Landmark Nomination

Partner: Heritage Partnerships Program, Intermountain Region, National Park Service
Project Principal Investigator: Dr. Janet Ore
Researcher: Hannah Braun
Timeline: 2014-2016
This project consists of an evaluation of sites related to the Wild West show movement from the 1880s through the 1940s, with particular focus on Buffalo Bill Ranch State Park (Scout’s Rest Ranch) in North Platte, Nebraska, and Pawnee Bill Ranch (Blue Peak Ranch), Pawnee, Oklahoma. The research team determined Scout’s Rest Ranch, home of frontiersman and showman William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, to be the best site associated with the Wild West show movement. The project will result in a National Historic Landmark nomination of Scout’s Rest Ranch under Criterion 1 for the Wild West Show movement and under Criterion 2 for William F. Cody.

Oak Creek Historic District National Register Nomination Amendment

Partner: Zion National Park
Project Principal Investigator: Dr. Janet Ore
Researchers: Jason O’Brien, Hannah Braun
Timeline: 2014-2015
This project involved preparation of an amendment to the existing Zion National Park Multiple Resource Area National Register of Historic Places nomination to include historic landscape features in the Oak Creek Historic District. Oak Creek Historic District includes 22 historic structures consisting of residences, garages, and maintenance buildings constructed during both the CCC era of the 1930s and during Mission 66 in the 1950s. While the historic buildings have been documented on the National Register, this project involved the evaluation of landscape features in the district, including walkways, sidewalks, patios, stone curbing, retaining walls, culverts, revetments, and other types of landscape modifications. The project resulted in an inventory and significance assessment of landscape features associated with the historic structures in the Oak Creek Historic District and preparation of an amendment to the existing Multiple Resource Area nomination.

Context Reports & Surveys

Mission 66 Context Report and Survey

Partner: Rocky Mountain National Park
Project Principal Investigator: Dr. Janet Ore
Researchers: Maren Bzdek, Rachel Kline, Leslie McCutchen, Catherine Moore, Tyler Welch
Timeline: 2008-2010
The Mission 66 era (1956-1966) of the National Park Service was an important time of development and building throughout the system. Planning to transform the parks for a growing and changing post World War II demographic, Congress provided additional funding to build visitor-oriented structures. As a result of Mission 66, Rocky Mountain National Park constructed visitor centers, ranch homes and apartments for park employees, comfort stations, bridges, campgrounds, overlooks, trails, and roads during this time. All of these resources had approached or surpassed the 50 year mark and needed to be reviewed under Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act for possible listing in the National Register of Historic Places. This project produced both a narrative historic context that established the timeline of Mission 66 activity in the park and a resource study (inventory and analysis) to determine if any of the Mission 66 resources in the park were eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The narrative history and resource study serve as necessary components for a National Register nomination.

Records Management and Documentation

Historic Structures Records Management Project

Partner: Yellowstone National Park
Project Principal Investigator: Dr. Sarah Payne
Researchers: Joseph Conrad Helzer, Katelyn Weber
Timeline: 2016
This project will assist Yellowstone National Park with processing paper and electronic records, photographs, plans, and documents for over 800 historic structures. These files are in a cultural resources file room at Yellowstone Center for Resources at Mammoth Hot Springs, and relate to historic structure and district development, List of Classified Structure updates on structure condition, National Register status, historic preservation plans, and post-historic alterations. Many of these records are unorganized, poorly described, and difficult to find. Researchers will assess these records for their long-term value, prepare record organization plans (file plans), and identify, organize, arrange, describe, and preserve the records. Once identified, arranged, preserved, and made accessible, these records will help YELL staff secure Yellowstone’s cultural heritage, meet the National Historic Preservation Act, preserve the park’s administrative record surrounding these historic properties, support reusability of research data and results, and contribute to the effective management of the park’s historic structures. Additionally, arranged and described records will be available to non-NPS users, including researchers, media, and members of the public.

Cultural Landscape Reports

Evaluation of Cultural Landscape Management Needs for McGraw Ranch

Partner: Rocky Mountain National Park
Project Principal Investigators: Dr. Janet Ore, Dr. Bradley Goetz (Department of Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University)
Researchers: Jaci Wells (2014-2016), Kim Bauer (2014-2015), Nicole Sittner (2014-2015)
Timeline: 2014-2016
This project provides Rocky Mountain National Park with an updated integrated resource management strategy for McGraw Ranch Historic District. The park has identified deficiencies with its 2002 Cultural Landscape Inventory, which impacts the ability of park staff to set priorities and fulfill management directives. This project will produce interim, prioritized guidelines and treatment recommendations and an assessment and update of the existing CLI database. The products will emphasize site management problems associated with the aftermath of the 2013 flood at the site and will provide the park with tools for developing a flexible approach to managing the ranch while continuing to maintain its historic integrity and character-defining features.

Researcher Nicole Sittner and PI Janet Ore at the main house at McGraw Ranch. Photo by Maren Bzdek, 2014.
Researcher Nicole Sittner and PI Janet Ore at the main house at McGraw Ranch. Photo by Maren Bzdek, 2014.