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4The project objective was to develop a historic context for postwar housing and a methodology for identifying and eval- uating the National Register eligibility and non-eligibility of single-family postwar residences constructed between 1946 and 1975. This methodology is intended to provide DOTs and other agencies with a consistent approach to evaluating postwar single-family dwellings for Section 106 compliance. A further objective was to find and document efficiencies that could be applied to the survey and evaluation of the vast num- ber of postwar residential resources that exist nationwide. The focus of the project was placed on traditional and vernacular postwar housing rather than architect-designed houses and subdivisions, as traditional and vernacular prop- erties are more pervasive and pose the greatest challenge to cultural resource professionals. The historic architectural sig- nificance of high-style postwar houses, such as those designed by well-known architects Clifford (Cliff) May and William Wurster, can be more easily recognized and available National Register guidance allows such properties to be readily evalu- ated. However, the ubiquity of vernacular postwar housing and absence of standard stylistic nomenclature or historic contexts provides significant challenges to the evaluation of National Register eligibility for both individual houses and districts. A. Development of Project The project included five phases that informed the final recommendations and built upon each other, including the following: â¢ Phase IâLiterature review: The first phase involved the development of a bibliography of sources related to post- war residential development. â¢ Phase IIâSurvey and evaluation methodology: The second phase was the development of an outline for the national historic context and the draft methodology to address the identification, evaluation, documentation, and registration requirements for postwar residences. â¢ Phase IIIâModel context: The third phase included the development of two historic contexts: a national historic context and a model regional context. â¢ Phase IVâTest of methodology and model context: The fourth phase was the field test of the survey and evaluation methodology and application of the model context. â¢ Phase VâFinal report: The final phase involved addressing panel comments, applying test results and assembling the bibliography, methodology, context, and survey and evalu- ation recommendations into the final report. Key components of these five project phases are discussed in detail below as they apply to the development of this project and the final recommendations. The context and survey and evaluation methodology were developed to conform to the requirements contained in the Code of Federal Regulations at 36 CFR Part 60 and relevant National Park Service (NPS) guidance, including the following: â¢ How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation; â¢ Historic Residential Suburbs: Guidelines for Evaluation and Documentation for the National Register of Historic Places; â¢ Guidelines for Evaluating and Nominating Properties that Have Achieved Significance Within the Past 50 Years; â¢ How to Evaluate and Nominate Designed Historic Landscapes; â¢ How to Complete the National Register Registration Form; â¢ How to Complete the National Register Multiple Property Documentation Form; and â¢ Defining Boundaries for National Register Properties. During a crucial phase of the project, the methodology was tested in three demonstration areas to identify the practicality of its use in future day-to-day practice. In one primary dem- onstration area, the testing included preparation of a regional historic context and application of the survey and evaluation C H A P T E R 2 Research Approach
5 methodology in the field. Three neighborhoods in Arlington County, Virginia, were selected as the primary demonstration area: Virginia Heights, Nauck, and East Falls Church. These locales exemplified the challenges faced during many DOT projects requiring surveys of postwar residences, including the following: â¢ Distribution of postwar housing within planned and unplanned neighborhoods; â¢ Proximity to major transportation corridors; â¢ Housing variations, including a variety of styles and sizes; and â¢ Social, ethnic, and economic diversity of the neighborhood. Additional criteria used in the selection of the primary demonstration area included the availability of reference materials applicable to postwar housing in Arlington County and the cooperation of the state DOT and SHPOs. In order to test the survey and evaluation methodology for its appropriateness nationwide, two secondary test areas in distinctly different parts of the country were selected: Madison, Wisconsin, and Arlington, Texas. Neighborhoods in these two areas were selected because they also contained many of the features described previously. The Madison, Wisconsin, test included the Marlborough Heights and Golf Green neighborhoods and a small cluster of postwar houses in an area of isolated rural development. The Arlington, Texas, test included the Northcrest Park and Fielder Place neighborhoods. The application of the survey and evaluation methodology in three geographic areas helped the project team meet the project goal of final products that are broadly applicable to all regions of the country. Information learned from the applica- tion of the methodology to the demonstration areas was used to refine the approach and shape the final recommendations. It also provided valuable insight to the project team and panel on key refinements to the methodology that allowed for fur- ther streamlining and standardization of the approach. B. Overview of Historic Context The initial phases of the project focused on the development of a national historic context and a regional model context for the primary demonstration area. Extensive research was con- ducted to support the development of the contexts that focused on relevant themes to the postwar period, including govern- ment, community planning and development, transportation, social history, and architecture. Primary and secondary sources were supplemented with a review of previously prepared his- toric contexts, National Register Nominations and Multiple Property Documents (MPDs), and survey results from studies of postwar housing. Research materials were also informed by suggestions received from research panel members. See Appendix A for a bibliography outlining sources consulted. Based on research and identified themes, a model context outline was prepared to guide development of the national historic context and the primary demonstration area model historic context. This outline can guide the future prepara- tion of local or regional historic contexts. Cultural resource professionals may use the outline as a basis for developing project-specific historic contexts to assist in the evaluation of postwar resources in their particular project location. The model context outline is included in Appendix B of this document. Following research and outline development, the national historic context was prepared. This context compiles infor- mation about resources that share a common theme and time period, in this case single-family residences built from 1946 to 1975. It provides the framework for understand- ing the social, economic, governmental, and political influ- ences on the development of these resources nationally. The national context describes the overall development of hous- ing during the postwar period and covers national trends that influenced postwar residential development. Popular architectural forms and styles of the period, including their character-defining features, are included in this national con- text. The national framework is expected to ease the process of future context development at a local or regional level by providing the major themes, trends, development patterns, and architectural styles and forms of this era. The national historic context is included in Chapter 4 of this document. A glossary of terms and list of abbreviations used in the context and throughout the report is included in Appendix C. The historic context for the primary demonstration area of Arlington County, Virginia, serves as a model for the future development of a local or regional historic context that would be sufficient to guide identification and evaluation efforts at the level that is typically expected for a transpor- tation improvement project. The model context developed for Arlington County, Virginia, is included in Appendix D. This model context presents the various types of develop- ers active in the county, common methods of subdivision, and the architectural character of period resources.5 The development and subsequent use of this context assisted the project team in recognizing areas of transition between dif- ferent subdivisions, identifying housing forms and styles, and identifying alterations to individual postwar resources and neighborhoods. The model historic context greatly ben- efited the field survey by providing surveyors with detailed 5 It should be noted that the Arlington County context covers a large geographic area that experienced significant growth and development during the postwar period. Therefore, this context is more detailed than would be expected for a typical project-specific context.
6background on the development patterns that occurred in Arlington County during the study period. Professionals can use this model context as a guide for the future development of a local or regional historic context conducted for a DOT- sponsored compliance survey, keeping in mind that the geo- graphic reach of the context should be appropriate for the resources that may be affected. C. Survey Methodology and Field Test A survey methodology was developed to provide guidance for the identification and evaluation of postwar residences and neighborhoods. Although the requirements for survey documentation standards vary from state to state, the meth- odology focuses on the appropriate and needed level of docu- mentation for ubiquitous postwar residential resources and is tailored to address their specific eligibility evaluation. To develop the methodology, the project team reviewed relevant National Register Bulletins, National Register Nominations and MPDs, and a variety of previously completed postwar compliance and community survey reports (see bibliography for details). These sources were used to identify successful and efficient survey and evaluation approaches that became the basis for the recommended methodology. The methodology addresses steps commonly completed in the efficient conduct of compliance surveys: preparation, identification, historic context development, evaluation, and documentation. It is intended to guide cultural resource pro- fessionals with survey of both individual postwar homes and districts of related resources. The project preparation step provides guidance for preliminary research, initial context development, and project coordination for compliance sur- veys. The identification step focuses on the reconnaissance survey and field review methods for individual residences, neighborhoods and subdivisions and the completion of sur- vey documentation. The methodology focuses on a selective survey approach that includes the review of all properties in the field with documentation completed for those postwar residences and neighborhoods that have the most potential to be recommended eligible for the National Register. The historic context step addresses development of an appropri- ate historic context for use in evaluating National Register eli- gibility. The evaluation step discusses application of National Register Criteria to individual properties and potential his- toric districts and assessing integrity. Finally, the documen- tation step outlines survey reporting procedures to present historic context and evaluation results. The methodology was applied to the reconnaissance-level field survey of three geographic areas, including the primary demonstration area of Arlington County, Virginia, and two additional test areas: Madison, Wisconsin, and Arlington, Texas. The results of the application of the methodology were generally favorable; however, some areas for improvement were identified. For example, the initial survey methodology resulted in the documentation of many individual resources that were similar in appearance and therefore did not result in a streamlined approach. In particular, the survey method- ology led to the documentation of a large number of houses that retained sufficient integrity to warrant survey but were not distinguishable from one another and had no potential to be recommended eligible for listing in the National Register. The documentation of many similar resources did not assist in assessing their eligibility because it did not allow the survey team to distinguish between examples of a particular form or style. As a result, the survey methodology was refined to provide more stringent documentation criteria for individual resources. The method for documenting neighborhoods or groups of related resources was not changed as a result of this test. Another improvement to the survey methodology was the improved definition of forms and styles, including character-defining features and architectural elements for each. The final survey methodology is included in Chapter 3. Through the utilization of the refined methodology, the survey team collected enough data during field survey efforts to make informed eligibility recommendations. Districts were considered and documented as a group of resources without the need for individual records for every building. Individual resources were selectively documented based on the application of the survey criteria, resulting in appropriate property records. D. Evaluation Methodology and Results The evaluation methodology follows the format of the National Register Bulletin Historic Residential Suburbs, Guide- lines for Evaluation and Documentation for the National Register of Historic Places (Historic Residential Suburbs) and provides guidance for how to determine if individual properties and subdivisions or neighborhoods are eligible or not eligible for listing in the National Register.6 The evaluation methodol- ogy includes case studies to illustrate the evaluation process, including examples of eligible and not eligible resources. The evaluation methodology is presented in Chapter 3. For the primary demonstration area and the two test areas, individual properties and potential historic districts identi- fied during the field survey efforts were evaluated for National Register eligibility using the developed evaluation methodol- ogy. The project team presented the survey and evaluation 6 David Ames and Linda Flint McClelland, Historic Residential Suburbs, Guidelines for Evaluation and Documentation for the National Register of Historic Places (Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 2002).
7 results to the state DOTs and SHPOs following each stateâs established reporting procedures. The DOTs and SHPOs pro- vided feedback regarding the use of the methodology and the resulting eligibility recommendations. This input was consid- ered and incorporated into the final recommendations. Through the field test and feedback from the research panel, the survey team determined that the evaluation meth- odology provided an adequate framework for assessing eli- gibility. The team also noted that it is important to have a historic context in which to evaluate the significance of the resources. This observation was based on their experience in finding the developed historic context to be a valuable tool in the evaluation of the surveyed resources. The historic con- text for Arlington County, Virginia, assisted in the application of the evaluation methodology to surveyed resources and informed the eligibility recommendations. For the two addi- tional test areas, the application of the evaluation methodol- ogy was more challenging because of limited available historic context information. Development of a historic context was not part of the project scope for these two secondary test areas, and its absence was notable. The trends and patterns of post- war development for these areas was not understood fully and, in both cases, a city-wide context would have allowed for a better understanding of the development patterns and com- parative examples. This would have resulted in a stronger case for evaluation recommendations and more consistent results. The documentation of the field survey and results of the application of the survey and evaluation methodology to the primary demonstration area and the additional test areas is available online at the NCHRP project website. E. Conclusion The testing in various geographical locations and response from panel members regarding the results confirmed the vari- ability in current practices for survey and evaluation nation- wide. Practices vary greatly from a selective survey approach that only documents properties that meet survey criteria, as recommended in this study, to the documentation of every building greater than 40 years old regardless of architectural or historical interest or integrity. Regardless, this studyâs rec- ommended survey and evaluation methodology, presented in the following chapter, is applicable to postwar residences nationally. The methodology presented herein can be modi- fied or tailored to meet individual state requirements while adhering to its overall intent to follow a practical and stream- lined approach that recognizes the ubiquity and homogeneity of many postwar residential resources. As identified in this project, some states may not be initially comfortable with the selective survey approach and may request additional docu- mentation. Suggestions regarding supplemental documenta- tion are also outlined in Chapter 3.