“A Careful Inventory and Evaluation:” The Origins of Executive Order 115931
by John H. Sprinkle, Jr.
In October 1968, presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon wrote the Chairman of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Gordon Gray, to congratulate the organization on the occasion of its 22nd annual meeting. Mr. Nixon noted that the Trust had adopted the theme, “Preservation and the Total Environment” and recalled the important role that historic preservation had in the “revitalization of our central cities and countryside” by reducing the “sense of alienation” in urban areas and enhancing the “attractiveness of rural life.” Candidate Nixon concluded with: “My Administration (sic) will remain alert to the possible need for additional authority to protect our historic and culturally significant structures and areas.”2
Three years later, on May 13, 1971, President Nixon fulfilled his campaign promise with the execution of Executive Order 11593, entitled “Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment.” This Executive Order mandated the highly ambitious goal that each federal agency identify, evaluate, and nominate all eligible historic properties to the National Register of Historic Places within a two-year period. While many of the provisions of Executive Order 11593 were codified in 1980 as Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Executive Order’s immediate and lasting impact came from interim procedures which guided federal agency treatment of their historic resources while the comprehensive survey was undertaken. Agencies were advised to “exercise caution” while conducting the survey to “assure that federal properties eligible for inclusions in the National Register are not “inadvertently transferred, sold, demolished, or substantially altered.”3
This principle, that agencies must treat unevaluated cultural resources as being potentially eligible for the National Register, has become a fundamental pillar of historic preservation practice in the United States. President Nixon’s most significant contribution to the American preservation movement was that the ineffective execution of Executive Order 11593’s mandate to comprehensively identify and evaluate historic properties effectively added the phrase “or eligible for inclusion” to the language of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.”4 Since, as a practical matter, the survey of eligible historic properties could never be completed, the interim guidance became, by default, conventional wisdom among federal agencies. The origins of Executive Order 11593, which evolved from a long-standing concern from the treatment of surplus federal buildings, reveal a fleeting moment in time during the early 1970s when the forces within the environmental movement and the preservation movement were aligned to a common purpose.
NEPA and CEQ
Concern for the environment was a prominent issue during President Nixon’s first term in office. As a result, the President signed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (in early 1970) as well as other significant pieces of environmental legislation. One interesting characteristic of environmental concerns at this time, as reflected in the umbrella nature of NEPA, is the comprehensiveness of alternatives considered by policy makers. Historic preservation issues, ranging from federal stewardship of historic structures to federal tax policy incentives and disincentives for preservation alternatives, were studied by the White House in concert with more traditional environmental and conservation issues.5
The agency charged with developing proposals during 1970 was the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).6 As with many agencies, CEQ developed out of political compromise between the White House and the Senate. Never far from the President’s concern were the aspirations of Senator Edmund Muskie, considered a potentially strong presidential rival in 1972. CEQ was established to address the not unfamiliar issue that no one member of the President’s cabinet had comprehensive oversight of any one environmental issue. Federal agencies not only had conflicting mandates between bureaus but also between departments. As a newly created independent agency, CEQ had the opportunity to present a fresh and more comprehensive perspective on environmental issues—one that would not be hampered by what President Nixon called the “iron triangle” of special interest groups, congressional committees, and the federal bureaucracy, each with its own administrative turf to protect and who resisted change.7
Enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act, with its requirement for federal agencies to undertake a new type of project analysis and to craft a new type of analysis called an “environmental statement” presented both concerns and opportunities for other federal agencies. Soon after President Nixon signed the NEPA bill, Ronald F. Lee, a long-serving National Park Service manager, provided NPS Director George Hartzog with a preliminary analysis of the law and its impact, noting that “some parts of it roughly parallel the 106 procedures” and that NPS had an “excellent claim” to working closely with the newly established Council on Environmental Quality.8 Lee thought “the outlook for the future is very good” especially if CEQ could support “a larger role for the National Park Service in urban historic preservation.”9 As it happened, a long-standing historic preservation problem in downtown Saint Louis, Missouri would provide an opportunity for cooperation among NPS, CEQ, and ACHP during the summer and fall of 1970.
Old St. Louis Post Office
In a letter to Mrs. Mary Bundy, wife of Nixon Presidential advisor McGeorge Bundy, Russell Train, the CEQ Chairman, noted that the President’s 1971 Environmental Message would “take care of the St. Louis Post Office problem,” as well as “all other situations like it that might arise.”10 Throughout the 1960s the fate of the Old St. Louis Post Office and Custom House was a matter of substantial debate. The General Services Administration’s plans to classify the building as surplus property focused the attention of local historic preservation supporters who were certain that the property would eventually be demolished. Declaring that it has “no architectural beauty,” the local development authority concluded that the building “has absolutely no historical significance whatsoever outside of the fact that it is old.”11 NPS architectural historians argued that, as a major surviving federal structure designed by Supervising Architect of the Treasury Alfred B. Mullett (1834-1890), the property was a nationally significant example of the “Second French Empire” style. Preservation proponents and detractors alike recognized the “dilemma of ‘ways and means’” was “multiplied here by the immensity of the structure, the seeming obsolescence of its facilities, and the commercial value of the space it occupies.”12 In fact, it was GSA’s inability to transfer the property for a proposed adaptive reuse by the City of St. Louis that caused the story to become the “Nation’s Number One Preservation Issue” in 1970.13
Since the mid-1930s Congress has permitted the General Services Administration (or its administrative predecessors) to transfer surplus property, at no cost but with certain restrictions on subsequent uses, to state and local governments for use as historic monuments.14 Procedurally, GSA was required to inform the Secretary of the Interior of proposed transfers (or demolitions) in order to ensure that no nationally significant properties were adversely impacted. As with most matters historic, implementation of the surplus property program review was delegated to the National Park Service, an agency that had the option to take possession of nationally significant federal surplus buildings, as it had at Federal Hall in New York and the Second Bank of the United States in Philadelphia.15 “When difficult problems” arose regarding the disposal of federal buildings the National Park Service history office referred the case to the National Park System Advisory Board.16 In 1965, a review by the Advisory Board determined that the Old Custom House and Post Office was nationally significant only for its architectural qualities, not for any important historical associations. Preservation as an architectural monument by the federal government was “judged not feasible” and the Advisory Board recommended that the building be classified as surplus property for potential donation as a “community landmark” to the local authorities.17
By the summer of 1970, as the Council of Environmental Quality identified new ways to support awareness of the federal role in environmental conservation, the status of the Old Saint Louis Post Office took center stage in the nationwide debate over what to do with federally-owned historically or architecturally significant surplus buildings. On August 2, the New York Times architecture critic, Ada Louise Huxtable, published a blistering attack on the proposed demolition of the post office. Describing a “super-swap-scheme,” that would convert the property into a parking lot, Huxtable attacked GSA’s “restrictive stipulation,” which she described as “ludicrous and dangerous nonsense,” that prevented the agency from donating the property to the local community for adaptive reuse. Huxtable concluded that without a change in Federal laws governing the transfer of surplus buildings, “the only landmark that GSA can give St. Louis is a dead one.”18
Huxtable’s article appeared three days before the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation held a special meeting in Washington, DC to discuss the St. Louis Post Office situation.19 The Advisory Council considered the case to be “precedential in nature.” “The future of many monumental public buildings significant to the nation for reasons of historical associations, architectural quality, environmental influence, and use potential in the cultural life of a community may be in the balance.” The Advisory Council recommended that GSA retain stewardship of the property “for a reasonable period of time” so that additional preservation alternatives might be explored. 20 GSA quickly responded that the Council’s solution was “somewhat untenable” in light of a recent presidential directive that all federal agencies must identify properties, such as the Old Post Office, with the “lowest priority for retention.” While GSA was willing to maintain the property for “at least one year,” Public Building Service Commissioner A.F. Sampson recommended that legislation be introduced to permit the “general application” of the concept of adaptive reuse by state and local governments. In addition, Sampson also noted the personal interest of “Messrs. [John] Ehrlichman, [Daniel Patrick] Moynihan, and [Russell] Train” regarding the status of efforts to preserve the building.21 By the end of the summer of 1970 the Old Saint Louis Post Office had garnered the attention of three influential presidential advisors and the proposed disposal was referred to the President’s newly established Property Review Board.22
During 1970, proponents for the Old Post Office’s preservation in Saint Louis also sought to confirm the national significance of Mullet’s design.23 In February, Charles Snell, a NPS staff historian with the National Historic Landmark Program, had visited St. Louis to complete a “field study” of the Old Post Office and, in April, Austin Leland had again formally requested that the building be nominated as a National Historic Landmark.24 The National Park Service scheduled the building for consideration by the Secretary of the Interior’s Advisory Board as a National Historic Landmark at its October meeting.25 The Advisory Board evaluated the national significance of Saint Louis’ Old Post Office in comparison of with other similar buildings. The “partial study” of American Architecture (1784-1880), recommended 38 (out of 70 properties considered) new National Historic Landmarks from seven states. Six of the newly proposed National Historic Landmarks, including the St. Louis Post Office, were also recommended for “further consideration for possible addition” to the National Park system. Following established policy, the recommendations of the Advisory Board were confidentially forwarded to Secretary of the Interior Hickel, much to the consternation of those preservation proponents who eagerly awaited National Historic Landmark designation.26 The boosters would not have long to wait, Secretary Hickel designated the building as a National Historic Landmark on December 30, 1970. Soon after this designation, Representative Leonor K. Sullivan sponsored a meeting at the Old Post Office to evaluate plans for its adaptive reuse and to chart amendments to GSA’s property disposal legislation.27
Extensive efforts by a cadre of preservationists from St. Louis to preserve the Old Post Office resulted in one significant component of President Nixon’s environmental program for 1971. Austin P. Leland, Chairman of the Old Post Office Committee and National Trust for Historic Preservation trustee, led a nationwide campaign to acknowledge both the architectural significance of Mullet’s creation, but also to elucidate a procedural limitation in the federal surplus property law. Leland’s group mobilized a wide range of supporters and sought advice from other successful examples of adaptive reuse in urban areas.28 Russell Train acknowledged that the nationwide attention on the future of the Old Saint Louis Post Office was the foundation of Senate Bill 1152, which would permit the transfer of surplus property to local governments for adaptive reuse. Writing to Mary Bundy, Train exclaimed: “Thanks to you and Ada Louise Huxtable!”29 Later that month Train nominated Ms. Huxtable for membership on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, noting: “some of the ideas for the President’s program . . .contained in proposed legislation or in the executive order now being considered, originated in her books and articles.”30
The story of the Old Saint Louis Post Office illustrated several fundamental flaws in how the federal government managed its inventory of historic properties.31 First, there were conflicts between the mandates of the Historic Sites Act of 1935 (the federal government must identify and preserve our national patrimony), the Surplus Property Act and its various amendments (the Federal government must dispose of excess properties), and, the National Historic Preservation Act (federal agencies must consider historic properties in project planning). Moreover, Ronald F. Lee, who at the end of his long career, served as a Special Assistant to the NPS Director Hartzog, worried that the “system of evaluations” used by GSA to recommend disposal and demolition of the Old Saint Louis Post Office might be precedent-setting in terms of the implementation of the new National Environmental Policy Act that would have a “cumulative impact” on surplus federal properties across the country.32
Another flaw in the surplus building program was that federal agencies were generally unaware of which buildings they occupied were potentially historic. Since the mid-1930s the approach of the National Park Service’s Historic Sites Survey was historical, chronological, and thematic, focusing principally on sites associated with nationally important persons or events. The Park Service’s survey of nationally significant properties was habitually incomplete and never centered on properties under federal stewardship.33 In the same way, programs designed to identify surplus Federal properties, did not contain historic significance criteria in their evaluation of efficiency. The 90-day time period allotted for the evaluation of historic significance in the surplus property review system developed by GSA and NPS did not provide enough time for adequate planning for the reuse of historic properties by state or local governments. This situation was exacerbated because federal agencies were “not aware of their inventory of historic buildings.”34
In reviewing initial proposals for his 1971 Environmental Message, President Nixon stated “We can’t ask industry and states and cities to act if we don’t set an example.”35 This thread of concern, that the federal agencies must provide leadership in the area of the environment and conservation runs through many of the ideas put forward by the President’s advisors. In July 1970, CEQ established an interagency group that developed a series of policy and program recommendations focusing on several areas of environmental concern, including “tax reform and land use” and “historic sites preservation.”36 In order to show progress in addressing nationwide environmental policy concerns, the plan was that the group would identify, analyze, and evaluate new approaches towards historic preservation that could be included in the President’s 1971 Environmental Message.
During August CEQ’s chairman, Russell Train, worked with officials from the Department of the Interior to develop recommendations for strengthening historic preservation within the United States.37 The National Park Service’s Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP) prepared an “options” paper which included 10 recommendations, including the development of a comprehensive policy for the preservation of federally-owned buildings “as living parts of our community life and development” with specific provisions to ensure the continued preservation and use of surplus properties.38 A CEQ-requested review of “Interior’s paper” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation concurred with a recommendation that the Department of Defense should be “required to survey, evaluate and identify the historic buildings, structures, and sites for which they have responsibility.”39 The Defense Department was singled out for this recommendation because it was broadly recognized that it had the “largest stock” of federal properties eligible for the National Register.40 In late November, CEQ distributed an analysis of “major deficiencies” in historic preservation programs along with solutions and their associated costs. To resolve the historic building inventory problem, CEQ recommended that the federal government “encourage state historical commissions to include and, where appropriate, to nominate Federal properties for Register listing, in their state surveys and programs.” As Congress debated amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act during early 1970, one impact of its new federal-state partnership programs was increasing state support for an “accelerated historic sites survey” which was seen as a prerequisite for subsequent funding of more costly rehabilitation projects.41 In fact, the first duty of State Historic Preservation Offices enumerated in the National Historic Preservation Act is to “direct and conduct a comprehensive statewide survey of historic properties.”42 CEQ concluded that there would be “no cost” for this program as “States would conduct surveys with Federal permission and cooperation.”43
In December 1970 the Council on Environmental Quality submitted its wide-ranging set of historic preservation proposals to the White House. CEQ explored a variety of ideas: the impact of federal tax policy on rehabilitation versus demolition of older properties, implementation of a homeowner’s tax credit program, and the establishment of a preservation trades training center. One CEQ memorandum to the White House was entitled, “Proposed Sulfur Oxide Tax and Historic Preservation.”44 Supporting the adoption of a National Land Use Policy, CEQ proposed that states should regulate development in historic districts, treating them, like wetlands, as “areas of critical environmental concern.” CEQ also recommended that federal agencies to cooperate with state agencies on “inventories, surveys, and evaluations.”45
CEQ officials met with leaders from the National Park Service to discuss the implications of the new proposals. Establishing an important principle of historic preservation practice in the United States, NPS Director Hartzog recommended that CEQ secure an “administrative finding” that federal agencies consider all buildings over 50 years of age as being potentially historic.46 Set forth as a National Register Criteria Consideration in 1969, when the National Register Criteria were first published, the so-called “fifty year rule” in historic preservation traces its origins back to the late 1940s and has important connections to federal surplus property legislation.47 Hartzog’s contribution to the treatment of unevaluated federal properties has had wide-ranging impacts within the practice of historic preservation.48
Despite its role in the debate over the future of the Old Post Office in Saint Louis, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) was mostly absent from CEQ-sponsored discussions regarding new initiatives for historic preservation during the fall of 1970. In October, John McDermott, the ACHP Executive Secretary, told NPS Deputy Director Ernest Allen Connally that the Advisory Council had been “experiencing difficulty in making a connection” with CEQ. Although CEQ had sought the advice of the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in developing the President’s agenda, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation had “not yet been invited to participate in the project.”49 By November-perhaps because of its close administrative relationship with the National Park Service-the Advisory Council began reviewing CEQ’s historic preservation proposals. On November 16, ACHP’s Robert Garvey transformed the ongoing discussion by recommending that “all federal agencies and all types of National Register properties” be included in any proposed Presidential directive for an inventory of federal properties.50 What had started as a relatively ambitious proposal that agencies should comprehensively inventory their historic buildings was substantially enlarged in scope by the suggested inclusion of other National Register property types.51 As was seen with the implementation of Executive Order 11593 during the 1970s, the addition of structures, objects, districts, and especially sites (both archeological and other types) vastly expanded and complicated the task of inventorying federal historic properties.52 Although late in being invited to the table, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation had a lasting impact on compliance with Executive Order 11593. 53
“I am taking action to insure that no federally-owned property is demolished until its historic significance has first been reviewed.” President Nixon’s Environmental Message for 1971 (issued on February 8), set the stage for how his administration would address historic preservation during the early 1970s.54 It called for a series of legislative actions that would alter practices at the Department of the Treasury and the General Services Administration. “Since many of the problems we have identified, and our proposals relate to Federal agency procedures, an executive order would be the appropriate medium for expressing the Administration’s commitment to historic preservation. More than new funds a Presidential expression of concern would contribute to the conservation of the cultural evidence of the past by Federal agencies which hold or affect a great number of historic sites.”55
Executive Order 11593
In January 1971, as the White House put the finishing touches on President Nixon’s Environmental Message, the Council on Environmental Quality submitted a draft Executive Order to the newly established Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its review. CEQ Secretary Boyd Gibbon noted that during the summer of 1970 it became apparent that the “recently upgraded” federal-state partnership in historic preservation mandated in the National Historic Preservation Act had “led to some criticism of the Federal Government’s treatment of its own historic properties.”56
Executive Order 11593 was drafted by William K. Reilly, a CEQ staff person who later served as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President George H.W. Bush.57 OMB’s analysis of the draft directive, as well as comments received from other federal agencies during the review process, provides important insight into the nature of historic preservation practice during the early 1970s. While the policy section of Executive Order 11593 is remarkably unchanged from its original draft, because of the concerns from OMB and other federal reviewers, other sections were significantly altered (Appendix 1: Original Draft Executive Order 11593).
In the first draft, federal agencies were directed to “invite, encourage, and cooperate” with state and local governments to identify eligible properties on federal lands. The Secretary of the Interior was directed to “encourage state and local preservation officials” to nominate eligible federal properties. In cases where a building more than 50 years old was proposed for demolition, federal agencies were required to consult with the State Liaison Officers (SLO)58 regarding National Register eligibility and to “reconsider the proposal in light of national environmental and preservation policy.” If the agency continued with its demolition proposal, then the property would be treated as if it were “recorded” in the National Register and the case would be referred to the Advisory Council for its review and comment. For properties impacted by federal “assistance” programs, the only requirement was that “ample time be provided” for the documentation of the building proposed for demolition or substantial alteration. Proposed transfers or sales of federal real estate were also subject to SLO review regarding National Register eligibility. These transactions were permitted as long as the agency obtained a “commitment to preserve” the property from the new owners. Section 3 of the draft order detailed the duties of the Secretary of the Interior, which centered on developing and disseminating “professional methods and techniques for preserving, improving, restoring and maintaining historic properties.”
OMB’s Richard H. Austin was the first official to review the CEQ draft and he argued strongly against its execution. “Determination of historic significance,” said Austin, “is best determined outside the pressure of threatened demolition or substantial alterations, which may be surrounded by local economic as well as sentimental issues.” He considered the process an “invitation to rationalize properties which are surrounded by strong sentimental if not historical value and which have local economic significance.” Recognizing the project delays that would occur with the requirement to consult the State Liaison Officers regarding eligibility, Austin recommended that “if there were an adequate inventory conducted,” then federal agencies could be directed to “give special treatment” only to those properties actually listed on the National Register. For this approach to work, “all federal properties would be scheduled for review for historical significance and either placed on the National Register or rejected for that purpose within a fixed time period.” Austin concluded, “We believe that updating the National Register should be the first order of business.”59
In early February there was pressure from the White House to issue the Executive Order in association with President Nixon’s 1971 Environmental Message. Richard Austin’s second OMB review succeeded in getting the draft sent back to CEQ for further revisions. Austin was particularly critical of the draft order’s poorly defined terms, such as “likely to meet the criteria” for the National Register, and time frames, such as the “reasonable period” given State Liaison Officers to determine National Register eligibility. “Its definitions and criteria are so vague as to virtually insure that all old properties will be kept open.” Austin repeated his assertion that the “special protective status” should be reserved to only those buildings actually listed on the National Register.60 On February 8, the day that President Nixon issued his Environmental Message, Austin reported that he and CEQ’s William Reilly had agreed that the “presumptive historic significance” provided in the draft EO was “too broad and invited abuse.” OMB and CEQ agreed that the Executive Order would:
—“feature a survey of existing federal buildings to put all eligible properties on the national register of historic places (sic) within a fixed time period” and,
—“provide some interim (sic) review process of old unregistered buildings which are candidates for alteration, demolition or excessing.”61
Further review by OMB staff recommended that specific time periods of 15 or 30 days be assigned for the “reasonable opportunity” for State Liaison Officer comments.62 These provisions were incorporated into a revised draft Executive Order that was distributed for comment among various federal agencies in late February 1971. In this draft, each federal agency was assigned the responsibility of completing an inventory of their historic properties by July 1, 1973—rather than encouraging the State Liaison Offices to include federal property in ongoing statewide surveys.63
Federal agencies with significant inventories of potentially historic buildings were eager to comment on the proposed Executive Order. Officials at the General Services Administration attacked the proposed “arbitrary standard of 50 years” predicting that it would result in “burdensome and perhaps useless submissions” to the State Liaison Offices and noted that “it would include many buildings acquired by GSA which have no special historic, architectural or archeological merit.”64 GSA officials were also concerned with the impact of the inventory and nomination provisions on other legal requirements to identify and report excess federal buildings. The agency predicted that other federal agencies would delay reporting surplus federal properties until after July 1, 1973, which would “violate the spirit and intent” of Nixon’s 1970 Executive Order 11508 on unneeded Federal property.65
Comments from the Department of Defense were particularly important because it was anticipated that DOD, among all the federal agencies, held the largest number of historic buildings. The DOD was concerned about potential delays caused by State Liaison Officer review of proposed building demolitions and about the costs associated with the preservation and restoration of historic buildings at its installations. However, regarding the requirement to locate, inventory, and nominate all National Register eligible historic properties by July 1, 1973, the DOD remarked: “This schedule is not unreasonable.”66
By early April, after compiling all the comments from various federal agencies, OMB’s Richard Austin was satisfied with the changes to the proposed Executive Order and recommended its transmittal to the White House for a final review.67 The presidential directive had been transformed from its original draft, creating a system whereby the federal government would demonstrate leadership in historic preservation by doing its part to complete the National Register of Historic Places for historic properties located on federal lands. The role of the State Liaison Officers was reduced from active participation in surveys of federal property to one of consultation regarding the historic significance of federal properties and the Department of the Interior was assigned a lead role in developing and disseminating guidance and technical information on preservation practice. Austin reported that “in the process of maturing this EO” it was the Defense Department and the General Services Administration that “strenuously objected” to having their programs “in any way subject to SLO oversight.”68 Throughout the review process, it is clear that OMB and other federal agencies thought that the impact of the Executive Order was limited to consideration of federal buildings and not other property types. Transmitting the draft EO to Attorney General John Mitchell, the Office and Management and Budget declared: “this order is aimed at identifying federal buildings which may be historic.”69
On May 13, 1971 President Nixon issued Executive Order 11593: Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment. Praising the growth of the National Register of Historic Places since 1966, President Nixon noted that “the number of nominations of federally owned properties has lagged” even though federal agencies hold “an important share of the nation’s historic sites and buildings.”70 From fiscal year 1969 through fiscal year 1971 there were 2,245 listings on the National Register of Historic Places, of which only 156, or less than seven percent, were from federal agencies.71 State and local preservation officials were reluctant to undertake surveys on federal lands, or were discouraged from doing so by federal agency policy. The National Park Service set the tone for other federal agencies, when in 1969 it issued guidance to Park Superintendents to decline requests from State Liaison Offices to conduct historic property inventories within park boundaries.72 As provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act became institutionalized, Federal agencies needed a clear definition of their historic preservation responsibilities and to this end, the President urged increased cooperation with state and local officials to complete a national inventory of federal properties. President Nixon concluded: “by my order today I am directing Federal agencies to assure that the Government’s own historic properties are identified, nominated for listing on the National Register, and preserved at professional standards.”73
Following the presidential announcement, Secretary of the Interior Rogers C.B. Morton and CEQ Chairman Russell Train held a press conference at the White House.74 Outlining the components of the directive, Morton and Train drew a direct connection between the controversy over the proposed disposal of the Old Saint Louis Post Office and the need for the Executive Order. Referencing the success of State Liaison Offices in nominating historic properties, Secretary Morton described how he would soon be calling on 51 federal agencies to designate similar historic preservation liaison officers to coordinate federal inventory and nomination efforts. Secretary Morton concluded that CEQ and the Interior Department had devised a “very simple and easy to understand program” that would have “far-reaching effects.”75
Not surprisingly, reaction to President Nixon’s Executive Order 11593 was enthusiastic among the historic preservation community across the nation. The story landed on the front page of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation News in June: “President Nixon on May 13 issued his long awaited Executive Order directing federal agencies to take greater care of the historic properties under their control.”76 James Biddle, the President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, wrote Secretary Morton a short congratulatory note offering whatever assistance the Trust might provide.77 What remained to be seen was how quickly and effectively the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service were going to be able to mobilize and guide efforts by more than 50 federal agencies to comprehensively identify and nominate National Register eligible properties.
Impact of Executive Order 11593
On the surface, Nixon’s use of the Executive Order to direct agencies to inventory and evaluate their historic properties appeared to be a pragmatic and noncontroversial assignment, yet one that had major unanticipated consequences within American historic preservation. Executive Orders are “usually considered vehicles for pragmatic, short-solutions to a problem offering only a limited, temporary alternative for policy proposals when it is impossible or difficult to move legislation through Congress.”78 The question of whether or not the goal of a complete inventory was obtainable centers on how many historic properties were managed by the federal government. Despite over 35 years of NPS-led surveys of nationally significant historic sites, estimates of the federal historic property inventory varied. In 1971, the National Park Service predicted that the federal government held only 2,000 historic sites.79 The origin of this estimate is unclear, but it may have represented some sort of extrapolation from the existing list of federal properties—mostly buildings—previously enrolled in the National Register. The year before, the National Park Service had estimated increased nomination activities by the states would eventually grow the National Register to more than 100,000 properties.80 In April 1973, with little in the way of new federal listings in the National Register achieved and the Executive Order deadline fast approaching, Jerry L. Rogers argued that the goal of completing an inventory of federally owned historic properties was obtainable if only it were made a “significant part of the bicentennial celebration.”81
As part of a larger package of historic preservation policy recommendations developed by the Council on Environmental Quality in 1970, Executive Order 11593 was the only administrative action available to President Nixon; additional program changes required that Congress act. Analysis of President Nixon’s environmentally oriented Executive Orders issued during his first term suggests that there was “widespread noncompliance” among federal agencies.82 Forty years after the execution of Executive Order 11593, few federal agencies have comprehensively identified all historic properties under their jurisdiction and the number of federal nominations still account for only about five percent of registrations each year.83
Formulated in an environment of controversy surrounding the proposed surplus of the Old Post Office in Saint Louis, Missouri, Executive Order 11593, as finally issued, was an amalgamation of agency comments and individual concerns. The decade long discussion regarding the significance of the Old Post Office focused the attention of a variety of preservation professionals and White House advisors on the fact that federal agencies were unaware of the historic qualities of their building inventories. CEQ’s William K. Reilly’s original proposal for cooperative (no cost) effort among the newly-established State Liaison Offices (now known as State Historic Preservation Offices) and some fifty federal agencies to inventory and nominate historic properties on federal lands, was transformed by the Office of Management and Budget review process into a mandate for federal agencies to comprehensively evaluate all historic properties within a two-year period. The logic was that federal agencies should demonstrate leadership in historic preservation by completing inventories so that they might effectively plan for the adaptive use (or disposal) of their historic buildings. Richard Austin firmly believed that listing in the National Register of Historic Places was the appropriate threshold for assigning “special protective status” to federal properties and that evaluations of significance are best made in an environment not influenced by active proposals for alteration, demolition, or disposal. NPS Director George Hartzog inserted the administrative assumption that all buildings over 50 years of age deserve some consideration under the National Register criteria and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s Robert Garvey added language that expanded the scope of the inventory work beyond a concern for historic buildings alone. While a survey of the federal government’s stock of older buildings was an ambitious goal in the early 1970s, it was certainly more reasonable than a comprehensive inventory of all types of historic resources. As NPS Chief Historian Robert Utley recalled, “even though it was an unattainable sort of thing,” Executive Order 11593 “was a good club to use on agencies who had been ignoring” their historic preservation responsibilities under the newly-enacted National Historic Preservation Act.84
It was the inability of federal agencies to complete their historic property inventories from 1971 to 1973 that transformed the requirement to “exercise caution during the interim period” into the concept, enshrined in Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, that federal agencies must consider the effects of their undertakings on properties either listed in or “eligible for inclusion in the National Register.”85 Enrolled as part of the NHPA in the 1976 amendments that established the Advisory Council as an independent federal agency, the survey and evaluation requirement envisioned by Executive Order 11593 has been the foundation of the cultural resource management industry ever since.
Executive Order: Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment 86
By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States and in furtherance of the purpose and policy of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (Public Law No. 91-190, approved January 1, 1970), and of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (Public Law No. 89-665, approved October 15, 1966), it is ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy.
The Federal Government shall provide leadership in preserving, restoring and maintaining the historic and cultural environment. Federal agencies shall preserve the cultural heritage of the Nation’s past in a spirit of stewardship and trusteeship for future generations. Federal agencies shall initiate measures necessary to direct their policies, plans and programs in such a way that Federally owned sites, properties and artifacts of historic, architectural or archeological significance are preserved, restored and maintained for the inspiration and benefit of the people. Federal agencies shall institute procedures to assure that Federal plans and programs contribute to the preservation and enhancement of non-Federally owned sites, properties and artifacts of historic, architectural or archeological significance.
Section 2. Responsibilities of Federal Agencies.
Consonant with the Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (PL 89-665), and with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (PL 91-190), the heads of Federal agencies shall:
(a) invite, encourage and cooperate with State and local governments to include Federal properties in surveys, evaluations and plans of properties of historic, architectural or archeological significance and, where appropriate, to nominate properties for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
(b) submit proposals which involve the alteration or demolition of any Federally owned building constructed more than 50 years previous to the date of the proposed alteration or demolition, or of any other property which possesses special historic, architectural or archeological merit, to the appropriate State Liaison Officer for Historic Preservation for an opinion respecting the property’s eligibility for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Where, after a reasonable period in which to review and evaluate the property, the State Liaison Officer determines that the property is likely to meet the criteria prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the Federal agency head shall reconsider the proposal in light of national environmental and preservation policy. Where, after such reconsideration, the Federal agency head proposes to alter or demolish the property he shall treat the property as if it were recorded on the National Register of Historic Places, and shall not act with respect to the property until the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation established pursuant to Section 201, Title II of PL 80-665, shall have been consulted and shall have considered and had an opportunity to comment on the proposal.
(c) initiate measures to assure that where as a result of Federal assistance a registered property listed on the National Register of Historic Places is to be substantially altered or demolished, ample time be provided and steps be taken to make or have made records, or the property, and that such records then be deposited in the Library of Congress as part of the Historic American Buildings Survey for future use and reference.
(d) initiate measures and procedures to provide for the preservation, restoration and maintenance of Federally owned and registered sites at professional standards prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior.
(e) make no transfer of a registered property or of a property which in the opinion of the appropriate State Liaison Officer is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places without first obtaining the transferee’s commitment to preserve, except where the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation shall have assented to a transfer without such conditions.
(f) make no sale of a registered property or of a property which in the opinion of the appropriate State Liaison Officer is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places without first obtaining the purchaser’s commitment to preserve, except where the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation shall have assented to sale without such conditions.
(g) cooperate with purchasers and transferees of a registered property or of a property eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in the development of viable plans to use such a property in a manner compatible with preservation objectives and which does not result in an unreasonable economic burden to public or private interests.
Section 3. Responsibilities of the Secretary of the Interior
The Secretary of the Interior shall:
(a) encourage State and local Historic Preservation officials to evaluate, survey and plan for Federally owned historic properties and, where appropriate, to nominate such properties for listing on the National Register.
(b) to develop and make available to Federal agencies, State and local governments information concerning professional methods and techniques for preserving, improving, restoring and maintaining historic properties.
(c) advise Federal agencies in the preservation, improvement, restoration and maintenance of historic properties.
(d) review and evaluate the plans of transferees of surplus Federal properties transferred for historic monument purposes to assure that the historic character of such properties is preserved in rehabilitation, restoration, improvement, maintenance and repair of such properties.
About the Author
John H. Sprinkle, Jr. is a historian with the National Park Service. He may be contacted at John_Sprinkle@nps.gov
1. The views and conclusions in this essay are those of the author and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the National Park Service or the United States Government.
2 . Richard M. Nixon to Gordon Gray, October 19, 1968. National Archives, Record Group 421, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Files, Box 2.
3 . Executive Order 11593: Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment, 13 May 1971. Federal Register 36, no. 95, Saturday, 15 May 1971.
4 . Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (italics added). The phrase “or eligible for inclusion” was added in the 1976 amendments to the NHPA. See: Federal Historic Preservation Case Law, 1966-1996: Thirty Years of the National Historic Preservation Act (Washington, DC: Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 1996).
5. In August 1969, John Whitaker took over direction of President Nixon’s “Environmental Message Task Force,” which by Thanksgiving had presented 65 pages of recommendations to the President focusing on 5 areas, including “cleaning up federal facilities.” Another focus was “outdoor recreation,” which included the conversion of federal properties into urban parks. By Executive Order 11508, President Nixon created a Property Review Board to oversee this process. Headed by Whitaker, the Property Review Board focused its efforts on “obsolete” Department of Defense lands. Executive Order 11508 was signed on 10 February 1970 and amended by Executive Order 11560 on 23 September 1970. John C. Whitaker, “Striking a Balance: Environmental and Natural Resources Policy in the Nixon-Ford Years,” (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1976), 27-42. Secretary of the Interior Hickel reported to the National Park System Advisory Board that President Nixon greatly supported the conversion of under-used federal property, noting that “a value is being put on these things which have never had a dollar value on them before.” Summary Minutes, 63rd Meeting, Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings and Monuments, Washington, DC, October 5-8, 1970, pg. 4.
6. John C. Whitaker, “Striking a Balance: Environmental and Natural Resources Policy in the Nixon-Ford Years,” (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1976), 48-52. In addition to Whitaker, CEQ’s first Executive Director, Al Alm, served on the President’s Environmental Message Task Force during 1969, as did GSA’s Daniel Kingsley, who later served on the White House staff. Whitaker became under Secretary of the Interior in 1972. Alm served as Russell E. Train’s Chief of Staff at CEQ until early 1973 to become an Assistant Administrator at EPA.
7. John C. Whitaker, “Striking a Balance: Environmental and Natural Resources Policy in the Nixon-Ford Years,” (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1976), 45-46.
8. Ronald F. Lee to George B. Hartzog,Jr. 13 January 1970, Harpers Ferry Center, Ronald F. Lee Papers, National Park Service History Collection RG1, Box 7, Environmental Conservation (National Environmental Policy) 1968-1971.
9. Ronald F. Lee to Ernest Allen Connally, 31 August 1970, Harpers Ferry Center, Ernest Allen Connally Collection, National Park Service History Collection RG 53, Box 5, Ronald F. Lee-Correspondence.
10. Russell E. Train to Mrs. Mary Bundy, 24 March 1971. National Archives, RG 429, Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Director’s Subject Files, 1970-1976, Box 9. In his memoir, Train related that he consulted with McGeorge Bundy during the spring of 1970 regarding the establishment of quasi-independent environmental policy research group to conduct the long term analysis that CEQ was unable to undertake. Russell E. Train, Politics, Pollution, and Pandas: An Environmental Memoir (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2003), 100. Train also notes that he and his wife were close friends with the Bundys.
11. Arthur E. Wright, Jr. to Stewart Udall, 16 October 1961. “Downtown St. Louis, Inc.” was one of the major proponents of the redevelopment work associated with the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, which included the restoration of the Old Saint Louis Court House. In contrast to the Post Office, the Court House had “historical significance” and “architectural charm and beauty.”
12. Merrill J. Mattes, “Historical Report on Old Courthouse, (Old U.S. Post Office), St. Louis, Missouri,” April 20, 1961. National Park Service, National Historic Landmark File.
13. Published by the Landmarks Association of Saint Louis, Missouri, the April 1970 Landmarks Letter (Volume 5, Number 2) declared the Old Post Office issue had “captured the imagination” of a national audience. Architectural historians Lawrence Woodhouse and George McCue each enumerated the qualities of Mullett’s work. The other surviving structure was the Old Executive Office Building, located next to the White House in Washington, D.C. The Post Office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1968.
14. Ernest Allen Connally described the Demolition Act of 1935 as the beginning of interdepartmental oversight for the purposes of historic preservation.
15. For the Philadelphia story see: John H. Sprinkle, Jr., “Fiske Kimball’s National Park Service Memoir,” CRM: The Journal of Heritage Stewardship 7, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 76-86.
16. Generally NPS had 90 days to respond to a formal GSA request for a determination of historical significance. See “Surplus Property Acts,” National Park Service Administrative Manual, Volume 9, History. Revised 1953, date stamped 1960. National Archives, RG 79, National Park Service, History Division Subject Files, 1926-1970, Box 1, “Administrative Manual.”
17. Memorandum from Wallace E. Stegner, Chairman, Advisory Board, to the Secretary of the Interior, 15 April 1965. National Historic Landmark Property Card, National Park Service, Washington, DC.
18. Ada Louise Huxtable, “No Canoeing Allowed Here,” The New York Times, August 2, 1970. Ms. Huxtable won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1970. Also in 1970, she published Will They Ever Finish Bruckner Boulevard?, a collection of her best work from the 1960s.
19. The presentations, deliberations, and results of the ACHP meeting are found in: “Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, August 5-6, 1970” and “Summary 106 Report: Old Post Office (U.S. Customhouse), St. Louis, Missouri.” The National Park Service produced a bound 40-page analysis of the preservation issues present at the Old Post Office (S. Allen Chambers, Jr., “The Old St. Louis Post Office: Summary Report of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation,” July 1970). The Missouri State Liaison Officer and the General Service Administration each presented their standing on the proposed undertaking (Joseph Jaeger, Jr., “Report on the Old Post Office, St. Louis, Missouri” and “Rod Kreger, Acting Administrator, GSA, to Dr. S.K. Stevens, Chairman, ACHP, July 17, 1970.” The RG 421 National Trust for Historic Preservation, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Box 2.
20. S. K. Stevens, Chairman, ACHP, to Robert L. Kunzig, Administrator, GSA, 6 August 1970. Letter enclosed the ACHP’s comments. National Park Service, United States Custom House and Post Office, Saint Louis, Missouri, National Historic Landmark File, Washington, DC.
21. Arthur F. Sampson, Commissioner, Public Building Service, to S. K. Stevens, Chairman, ACHP, 20 August 1970. National Park Service, United States Custom House and Post Office, Saint Louis, Missouri National Historic Landmark File, Washington, DC.
22. S.K. Stevens, Chairman, ACHP to Bryce Harlow, Chairman, Property Review Board, 8 September 1970. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), Administrative Files, Washington, DC.
23. Austin P. Leland to Robert M. Utley, 10 December 1968. United States Custom House and Post Office, Saint Louis, Missouri National Historic Landmark file. The Historic American Buildings Survey had documented the building in 1965 and in 1968 the Missouri State Liaison Officer nominated the building for listing in the newly established National Register of Historic Places—the first such federal property nominated in Missouri (S. Allen Chambers, Jr., “The Old St. Louis Post Office: Summary Report of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation,” July 1970, pg. 39).
24. Robert M. Utley, Chief Historian, NPS to Austin P. Leland, Chairman, Committee to Save the Old Post Office, 13 April 1970. United States Custom House and Post Office, Saint Louis, Missouri National Historic Landmark file.
25. Connecticut Congressman John S. Monagan wrote to Secretary of the Interior Walter Hickel to support the Advisory Board’s consideration of the Old Post Office and enclosed a copy of Ada Huxtable’s August column. Referencing the results of the ACHP meeting, Monagan noted that the building was “sound, usable, and architecturally and environmentally worth regaining.” John S. Monagan to Walter J. Hickel, 31 August 1970. United States Custom House and Post Office, Saint Louis, Missouri National Historic Landmark file.
26. Summary Minutes, 63rd Meeting of the Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings and Monuments, Washington, DC, October 5-8, 1970, Attachment No. 8, pgs 46-50. Saint Louis’ Union Station was also recommended for Landmark status and for study as a park unit.
27. Robert R. Garvey to Director, NPS, 8 December 1970, “St. Louis Post Office Meeting.” ACHP Administrative Files. The meeting was held on January 6, 1971.
28. Mary Bundy was alphabetically the first among many prominent national members of the Old Post Office Landmark Committee that had been established to support the adaptive reuse of the Old Custom House and Post Office located in Saint Louis, Missouri. Other members included: Charles S. Eames, Carl Feiss, Carslile H. Humelsine, Philip C. Johnson, Charles E. Peterson, William T. Utley, James Van Derpool, and Walter Muir Whitehill.
29. Russell E. Train to Mary Bundy, 24 March 1971, National Archives, RG429, Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Director’s Subject Files, 1970-1976, Box 9. Senate Bill 1152, “to facilitate the preservation of historic monuments” was introduced by Illinois Senator Charles Percy on March 9, 1971.
30. Russell E. Train to Daniel T. Kingsley, 30 Mar 1971. National Archives, RG429, Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Director’s Subject Files, 1970-1976 Subject Files, Box 8 “Historic Preservation.”
31. In 2004, GSA conveyed the Old Saint Louis Custom House and Post Office to the Missouri Development Finance Board after a $35 million renovation. The building now hosts a variety of government offices and private sector businesses and is prominently featured in the publication: “Acquiring Federal Real Estate for Public Uses.” (Washington, DC: General Services Administration, 2007).
32. Ronald F. Lee to Ernest Allen Connally, 2 September 1970, Harpers Ferry Center Archive, Ronald F. Lee Papers, NPS History Collection RG 1, Box 7, “E.A. Connally.” The Advisory Council’s John D. McDermott shared Lee’s concerns, particularly because CEQ’s initial NEPA guidance was silent on the “cultural environment,” instead, focusing on traditional areas of environmental concern, such as pollution. Although the CEQ had been “a bit elusive” in its interaction with the ACHP, McDermott remained hopeful that the two agencies could work together in the future. John D. McDermott to Ronald F. Lee, 28 October 1970, Harpers Ferry Center, Lee Papers, NPS History Collection RG1, Box 1, ACHP.
33. John H. Sprinkle, Jr., “’An Orderly, Balanced and Comprehensive…Panorama of American History’: Filling Thematic Gaps within the National Park System.” The George Wright Forum 27, no. 3 (2010): 269-279.
34. “Working Paper: Historic Preservation,” Council on Environmental Quality, 19 November 1970, pg. 7. Harpers Ferry Center Archive, Lee Papers, Box 7, “Nixon’s Environmental.”
35. John C. Whitaker, “Striking a Balance: Environmental and Natural Resources Policy in the Nixon-Ford Years,” (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1976), 38.
36. Other proposals included program for: “getting hold of pollution,” “advance environmental clearance for power plant siting (sic),” “strip mining,” and “open space and parks.” Russell E. Train, Chairman, Council for Environmental Quality, December 1, 1970, “Memorandum for the President, Subject: Environmental Program for 1971.” NARA, RG 429 Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Director’s Subject Files, 1970-1976 Files, Box 3. 37. John D. McDermott, Executive Director, ACHP to NPS Deputy Director, Operations, “Need of the Advisory Council to establish a working relationship with the Council on Environmental Quality,” 2 October 1970. ACHP Administrative Files.
38. At least three drafts of the “options” paper exist in NPS records. The first, dated August 1970, is entitled “Brown Morton draft; another similar version is dated August 26. The third version is dated August 31, 1970 and presents only four recommendations which were designed to solidify the Department of the Interior’s position “as the leading historic preservation agency of the Federal Government” (sic). Harpers Ferry Center, Lee Papers, Box 7, “Nixon’s Environmental” and Box H-42, “OAHP.”
39. James Biddle, President, NTHP to Boyd H. Gibbons, Secretary, CEQ, 14 September 1970. Unfortunately, the Trust’s comments on “Interior’s paper” are numerically keyed to a draft paper, which was not included in the NPS files. Harpers Ferry Center, Ronald F. Lee Papers, Box 7, “Nixon’s Environmental.” Boyd Gibbons served as Secretary for CEQ until 1973.
40. By early November, CEQ had drafted its own “decision paper” on historic preservation issues, which NPS promptly reworked. Bob Utley to Ronnie Lee, “Follow-up Slip” 18 February 1971. Attached was a copy of “NPS redraft of CEQ ‘Decision Paper’” dated November 1970.
41. Russell E. Train to House Speaker John W. McCormack, 10 October 1969. Russell Train served as the Acting Secretary of the Interior before moving over to Chair the Council on Environmental Quality. House of Representatives, 91st Congress, Second Session, Report No. 91-886, H.R. 14896.
42. National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended. “SHPO responsibilities”
43. “Working Paper: Historic Preservation.” Council on Environmental Quality, 19 November 1970. Harpers Ferry Center, Lee Papers, Box 7, “Nixon’s Environmental” CEQ distributed this paper to various federal agencies on 24 November 1970.
44. Russell E. Train to John Erlichmann, 15 December 1970. RG429 CEQ, Chairman’s Subject Files, Box 1.
45. Russell E. Train, “Memorandum for the President,” 1 December 1970. National Archives, RG 429, Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Director’s Subject Files, 1970-1976’s Files, Box 3. Attached to this memorandum were two papers, entitled: “Land Use and Income Tax Policy,” and “Historic Preservation.”
46. “CEQ Meeting—[Boyd] Gibbons, [William K. Reilly] Riley (sic), [George B.] Hartzog,[Jr.] [Harthorn] Bill, EAC [Ernest Allen Connally]” 11 December 1970, Harpers Ferry Center, Ernest Allen Connally Collection, Box 1, “NEPA, CEQ Task Force 1969-1970” NPS Director Hartzog agreed that federal agencies should be required to consult with State Liaison Officers regarding proposed actions impacting historic buildings and recommended that any demolition proposals should be reviewed by senior agency officials.
47. John H. Sprinkle, Jr., “Of Exceptional Importance”: The Origins of the Fifty Year Rule in Historic Preservation,” The Public Historian, 29 no. 2 (Spring 2007): 81-103.
48. In 1968, NPS Director George B. Hartzog, Jr. restricted his Superintendents from razing or modifying any structures older than 50 years without his personal approval. Director to Regional Directors, “Historic Buildings,” 10 October 1968, “Removal, Major Alteration, or Neglect of Structures.” NPS Chief Architect Files, Washington, DC. In discussions with CEQ he recommended that all agencies adopt such a procedure whereupon senior officials would review demolition proposals for older buildings.
49. John D. McDermott to Ernest Allen Connally, 2 October 1970, “Need of the Advisory Council to establish a working relationship with the Council on Environmental Quality.” ACHP Administrative Files.
50. Robert Garvey to William K. Reilly, “Possible recommendations on historic preservation of legislative program (sic)” 16 November 1970. ACHP Executive Order 11593 Files.
51. In an interview with Charles B. Hosmer, Robert Garvey recalled, with reference to EO 11593: “We wrote it… Well, we wrote certain parts of it.” “We supplied him [William K. Reilly at CEQ] language on two or three key parts of it.” Robert Garvey Interview, pg. 46-47. National Trust For Historic Preservation Library Collection, Charles B. Hosmer Collection, Series IV: Historic Preservation Interviews, 1960-1985.
52. Interestingly, ACHP’s John D. McDermott’s early December review of CEQ’s proposal retained only the suggestion that all agencies survey their buildings rather than all National Register property types. John D. McDermott, “Comments on Historic Preservation Paper Prepared by CEQ,” 9 December 1970. Harpers Ferry Center, Ernest Allen Connally Collection, Box 1, “NEPA-CEQ Task Force.”
53. George B. Hartzog, Executive Director, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and Director, National Park Service to Dwight A. Ink, Assistant Director, Office of Management and Budget, 16 December 1970. ACHP Administration Files. Wearing two leadership hats, Director Hartzog reported that the ACHP was assisting “in preparing historic preservation proposals being developed by the Council on Environmental Quality at the request of the White House.”
54. Richard Nixon, “Program for a Better Environment,” 8 February 1971.
55. “Working Paper: Historic Preservation.” Council on Environmental Quality, 19 November 1970. Pg. 15. Harpers Ferry Center, Lee Papers, Box 7, “Nixon’s Environmental”
56. OMB 34 Boyd H. Gibbons, III, Secretary CEQ to Arthur B. Focke, General Counsel, OMB, 15 January 1971. The designation of State Liaison Officers (SLOs) established a greater role of state agencies in the review of federal undertakings within each state.
57. William K. Reilly was also the principal author of the National Land Use Policy Act. He left CEQ in July 1972 to prepare a study for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund entitled, The Use of Land: A Citizen’s Policy Guide to Urban Growth (New York, NY: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1974). In 1975 he became President of the Conservation Fund.
58. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 directed states to appoint “State Liaison Officers” a title that was the administrative precursor of State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPO). 59. Richard H. Austin, “Comments on proposed Executive order on protection and enhancement of the cultural environment.” 26 January 1971. RG 51 OMB Office of the Director, Counsel’s Office, Clearance of Executive Orders, FY 1969-1976, Box 27.
60. Richard H. Austin, “Executive Order on Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment.” 3 February 1971, RG 51, Office of the Director, Counsel’s Office, Clearance of Executive Orders, FY 1969-1976, Box 27.
61. Richard H. Austin, Executive order on protection and enhancement of the cultural environment, 8 February 1971. RG 51 OMB, Office of the Director, Counsel’s Office, Clearance of Executive Orders, FY 1969-1976, Box 27. 62. Joseph D. Cohn, “Executive Order—Re Protection of Historic Sites,” 2 March 1971. RG 51 OMB, Office of the Director, Counsel’s Office, Clearance of Executive Orders, FY 1969-1976, Box 27. Cohn also recommended that the Department of the Interior operate as the single point of contact for all federal agency interactions with the State Liaison Offices, so that consultation regarding historic properties would operate among federal agencies.
63. CEQ Secretary, Boyd H. Gibbons, III to OMB General Counsel, Arthur Focke, 26 February 1971. William K. Reilly signed the transmittal letter for Mr. Gibbons. RG 51 OMB, Office of the Director, Counsel’s Office, Clearance of Executive Orders, FY 1969-1976, Box 27.
64. GSA Assistant Administrator Harold Trimmer to OMB Director George Schultz, 4 February 1971, RG 51 OMB, Office of the Director, Counsel’s Office, Clearance of Executive Orders, FY 1969-1976, Box 27.
65. GSA Assistant Administrator Harold S. Trimmer, Jr. to OMB Director, George P. Shultz, 26 March 1971, RG 51 OMB, Office of the Director, Counsel’s Office, Clearance of Executive Orders, FY 1969-1976, Box 27.
66. J. Fred Buzhardt to Arthur B. Focke, 26 March 1971. RG 51 OMB, Office of the Director, Counsel’s Office, Clearance of Executive Orders, FY 1969-1976, Box 27.
67. Richard H. Austin, “Executive Order on Historic Preservation,” 6 April 1971. RG 51 OMB, Office of the Director, Counsel’s Office, Clearance of Executive Orders, FY 1969-1976, Box 27. Austin played a role in implementing EO 11593 as he moved from OMB to the NPS budget office by June 1971. Robert Utley to Ben Levy, “Supplemental for Executive Order,” 30 June 1971. ACHP EO 11593 Files. Washington, DC.
68. Robert Utley to Ben Levy, “Supplemental for Executive Order,” 30 June 1971, ACHP EO 11593 Files, Washington, DC.
69. OMB General Counsel to Attorney General John Mitchell, 2 February 1971 and 9 April 1971. RG 51 OMB, Office of the Director, Counsel’s Office, Clearance of Executive Orders, FY 1969-1976, Box 27.
70. In anticipation of the presidential action, William K. Reilly had briefed the members of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, at its quarterly meeting, regarding the upcoming Executive Order. “Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Washington, D.C., May 5-6, 1971.” RG 421 National Trust for Historic Preservation, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Box 3. Richard Nixon, “Statement by the President,” 13 May 1971. Harpers Ferry Center, Ronald F. Lee Papers, Box 7, Executive Order.
71. “Fact Sheet, Executive Order “Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment,” 13 May 1971, Harpers Ferry Center, Ernest Allen Connally Collection, Box 1, “EO11593” In fiscal year 1968, 170 federal properties that had previously been designated as National Historic Landmarks were added to the National Register which accounted 23 percent of all listings that year.
72. Assistant Director Jensen to Regional Directors, “Historic Resources within the National Park System,” 10 May 1969, Harpers Ferry Center, Ernest Allen Connally Collection, Box 1, “EO11593.” See also, Mackintosh, “The National Historic Preservation Act and the National Park System,” National Park Service, 1986. (chap. 2 Pg. 10 web). Within historical units of the park system, resources related to the legislative mandate for the park were automatically listed on the National Register. According to NPS Historian Barry Mackintosh, the debate over who should nominate federal properties to the National Register had begun in 1967 when the National Park Service’s Robert Utley persuaded ACHP’s Robert Garvey, who initially favored federal agency nominations, that State Liaison Offices could nominate federal properties.
73. Richard Nixon, “Statement by the President,” 13 May 1971. Harpers Ferry Center, Ronald F. Lee Papers, Box 7, Executive Order.
74. Ernest Allen Connally prepared Secretary Morton’s materials for the press conference and accompanied him to the event as the NPS representative. Harpers Ferry Center, Ernest Allen Connally Collection, Box 1, “EO11593.”
75. “The White House Press Conference of Secretary Rogers C.B. Morton and Russell E. Train, Chairman, Council on Environmental Quality,” 13 May 1971.
76. “Landmark Executive Order Issued” Preservation News XI, no. 6 (June 1971)
77. President James Biddle to Secretary of the Interior Rogers C.B. Morton, 24 May 1971. Harpers Ferry Center, Ernest Allen Connally Collection, Box 5, “NT Correspondence”
78. Robert A. Shanley, Presidential Influence and Environmental Policy (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 50-51.
79. Fact Sheet, Executive Order “Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment,” 13 May 1971, Harpers Ferry Center, Ernest Allen Connally Collection, Box 1, “EO11593.”
80, 81. Jerry L. Rogers to John D. McDermott, 27 April 1973, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, E.O. 11593 Files. Rogers, the NPS Chief of Registration for the National Register reported that although 2, 125 inventory forms had been completed; only two federal properties had been listed on the National Register.
82. Robert A. Shanley, Presidential Influence and Environmental Policy (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 51. “Although the federal bureaucracy has been cooperative in implementing some executive orders, noncompliance does occur. An exploratory study of Nixon’s directives, including executive orders, requests, and commands issued during 1969 and 1970 suggests there may have been widespread noncompliance.”
83. John H. Sprinkle, Jr., “Trends in Nomination of Federally-Owned Historic Properties to the National Register of Historic Places.” Facts for Feds, National Park Service, January 2007.
84. Robert Utley Interview, pg. 43-44. National Trust for Historic Preservation Library Collection, Charles B. Hosmer Collection, Series IV: Historic Preservation Interviews, 1960-1985.
85. Executive Order 11593 and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
86. “Text is as transmitted to the Office of Management and Budget by the Secretary of the Council on Environmental Quality (by undated letter received on January 15, 1971).” This is the first draft of Executive Order 11593.