Park Headquarters Historic District

The Park Headquarters Historic District in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, includes cultural features consisting of buildings, roads, paths, parking areas, and the surrounding natural environment. Located at Mile 3.4 on the Denali Park Road, the Headquarters District was established on park land specifically set aside in 1924 for an administration area and now occupies 11.91 acres.

The construction of the Headquarters Historic District was largely achieved through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and park labor . . . Park Headquarters Historic District: Cultural Landscape Inventory, NPS, 2009

Denali NPP Headquarters Historic District (NPS Cultural Landscapes Program, 2015)
Denali NPP Headquarters Historic District

NPS Cultural Landscapes Program, 2015

Between 1926 and 1941, the expansion of the Headquarters District occurred with the development of master plans designed by Thomas Vint (chief landscape architect of the NPS Western Office of Planning and Design), park labor, Alaska Road Commission (ARC) and the contributions of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1938 and 1939. 

The Headquarters resides on a gently sloping, forested terrace just above Hines Creek, which flows into Riley Creek a tributary of the Nenana River. The northern boundary of the District basically follows the 2,130 foot elevation contour to a few feet upslope from buildings 111 and 22, and then extends eastward to the entrance of the east residential loop road. At this point, the boundary runs toward the south, following a line ten feet east of the curvilinear residential road built by the CCC in late fall 1938. 

NPS working dogs in HQ kennel (NPS Cultural Landscapes Program, 2015)
NPS working dogs in HQ kennel

NPS Cultural Landscapes Program, 2015

The boundary includes an area east of the barn, now building 106. Although not within the Historic District boundary, Hines Creek flows along the southern edge of the district, a slope separates the creek from the dog kennels that are located inside the same boundary. 

Along with illustrating the early growth of the National Park Service in Alaska, the Headquarters District is architecturally significant due to the site planning and design representative of the NPS philosophy of Rustic style during its zenith and last period of expression (1916 to 1940); additionally, significance resides in the contributions of the Civilian Conservation Corps (1938 to 1939) to the expansion and development of the Headquarters District. The Headquarters Historic District’s period of significance is from 1926 to 1941.

Employee Residence (No. 13) National Park HQ District (Gail Evans, Alaska Regional Office, NPS 1985)
Employee Residence (No. 13) Mount McKinley National Park Headquarters District

Gail Evans, Alaska Regional Office, NPS, 1985

Contributing features include fourteen historical buildings; various footpaths, a traffic circulation system, and the sled dog kennels, the dry laid stone retaining wall on the north side of the park road between Buildings No. 111 and 22, and the flag pole area within the visitor parking area. From 1942 through the 1990s, the Headquarters District evolved with the addition of some new buildings as well as landscape modifications; alterations in both structure and landscape reflect shifting use patterns. Vegetation density has increased significantly as has the level of vehicular impact from park staff and tourists.

Quick Facts

  • Cultural Landscape Type: Historic Site / Vernacular / Designed
  • National Register Significance Level: National
  • National Register Significance Criteria: A,C
  • Period of Significance: 1926-1941

Landscape Links

Last updated: May 17, 2019