Historic Architecture Program

Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Words of Wisdom

"[W]hatever may be the future of architecture, in whatever manner our young architects may one day solve the question of their art, let us, while waiting for new monuments, preserve the ancient monuments. Let us...inspire the nation with a love for national architecture. "
– Victor Hugo

The Alaska Region's Historic Architecture Program encompasses the built environment - historic and prehistoric buildings and structures - and the cultural landscapes within the region. The program provides technical assistance to 17 National Parks and Affiliated Areas that cover over 54 million acres. The program also provides technical assistance to the owners of historic buildings and structures throughout the State of Alaska. The technical assistance includes preservation planning, condition assessment reports, treatment recommendations, and grant administration for National Register properties and National Historic Landmarks.

The Historic Architecture Program manages the region's historic structures inventory or the List of Classified Structures (LCS) that includes over 590 historic and prehistoric NPS owned structures, buildings, roads, and objects. The inventory-part of the service-wide LCS website-contains detailed information on the historic significance, condition, and management recommendations for each listed structure and serves as a management tool for park cultural resource managers and maintenance personnel.

The Historic Architecture Program also prepares Historic American Building Survey (HABS) and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) projects throughout the State of Alaska. To date, over 70 Alaskan buildings, structures and engineering systems ranging from Kake Cannery and the Chilkoot Trail in Southeast Alaska, to the Church of the Holy Ascension in Unalaska on the Aleutian Chain, to the Kennecott Mines in the Wrangell Mountains and semi-subterranean dwellings on the coast of the Bering Sea and at Anuktuvuk Pass in the heart of the Alaska Range.

Cultural Landscapes, in their broadest sense, can be defined as geographic areas, which encompass both natural and cultural resources and the wildlife or domestic animals therein. These resource environments are typically associated with a historic event, activity or person, or exhibit other cultural or aesthetic values. The cultural landscapes program in Alaska identifies, inventories and evaluates these resources through the production of Cultural Landscape Inventories (CLI's) and Cultural Landscape Reports (CLR's). The CLI effort is a comprehensive, nation-wide inventory of all historically significant landscapes within the National Park System. This evaluated inventory identifies and documents each landscape's location, physical development, historic significance, National Register of Historic Places eligibility, condition, as well as other valuable information for park management. Inventoried landscapes are listed on, or determined eligible for, the National Register of Historic Places, or are otherwise treated as cultural resources. The CLI, like the List of Classified Structures (LCS), assists the National Park Service (NPS) in its efforts to fulfill the identification and management requirements associated with Section 110(a) of the National Historic Preservation Act, NPS Management Policies (2001), and Director's Order #28: Cultural Resource Management (1998). CLR's are more in depth studies of these resource environments. The CLR builds on the baseline data collected in the CLI by analyzing and evaluating the historic degree of change within a landscape, and through consultation with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes, develops a comprehensive treatment strategy for the resource environment which can be used by Park administrators to develop long-range planning efforts (General Management Plans, Resource Management Plans, Design Development Plans). CLR's also provide valuable guidance and technical assistance to Park resource, maintenance, and interpretive programs.

Last Updated: January 16, 2014