An Administrative History
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Cultural resources comprise remnants and evidence of human activity in the natural environment. Substantial federal concern with management of cultural resources on public land began with the Antiquities Act of 1906, was strengthened by the Historic Sites Act of 1935, and culminated in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which established the present National Register of Historic Places. Section 106 of the latter piece of legislation provided complicated review procedures to ensure that federal agencies gave proper consideration to cultural resources. In addition, Executive Order 11593, issued in 1971 and incorporated into the National Historic Preservation Act in 1980, required federal agencies to inventory cultural resources on the public lands they managed to determine which were eligible for listing in the National Register. Finally, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 provided more specific guidelines for the protection of archeological resources on federally managed lands. These mandates all apply to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Therefore, from fragmentary evidence of prehistoric use down to the Wallace Pratt residence that was built in the 1940s, park managers have been mandated to identify, evaluate, and, as appropriate, protect, and preserve the cultural resources found within the park boundaries.

While the array of responsibilities generated by the natural resources of the park has grown bewilderingly large since the establishment of the park, the demands of cultural resource management have remained relatively unchanged. During the first fifteen years of the park's operation, resource managers have identified and evaluated the historic structures and trails within the park and have determined the type of care each would receive. They have identified and evaluated prehistoric sites and have determined what means of preservation would be undertaken. They have also approved and supervised modifications made to adapt some historic structures for administrative use by park personnel and researchers.

When the park was established, many historic structures relating to nineteenth and twentieth century ranching operations existed within the boundaries of the park. In 1973, a survey of historic sites, conducted under contract by a team headed by William Griggs of Texas Tech University, established a baseline from which management decisions could be made. The report of the survey included photographs, scale drawings, and geographic locations for each of 47 sites. The team rated the structures for intrinsic and exemplary values and recommended treatment for them. [1]

Historians in the Regional Office used the information from the Texas Tech survey to classify the less obviously significant historic structures and sites in the park. When determining the historical significance of these sites, however, the regional staff apparently had some difficulty interpreting the assessments of the Texas Tech survey team. The survey report recommended preservation or restoration for interpretation for a number of the historic sites. In 1973 Park Superintendent Donald Dayton notified the Regional Director that he felt Regional personnel had "inadvertently made" a "false assumption" about the meaning of the term "historic" in the Texas Tech survey report. He was concerned because the historians in the Regional Office had recommended preservation for the entire complex of buildings at the Glover site. Dayton stated that he believed the survey team had used the term "historic" to distinguish modern structures from prehistoric structures, and had not used the term in the sense that it was used to determine eligibility for the National Register. While the Texas Tech survey recommended that seven of the sixteen structures in the Glover complex be preserved, Dayton pointed out that many of the structures the survey team recommended for preservation or restoration were simply "'best examples of' certain types of structures to be found within the park boundaries" and did not "have even 'Regional' significance as historic structures." [2]

Dayton apparently convinced Theodore Thompson, the Acting Regional Director, of the false assumption of Regional historians. Thompson responded to Dayton early in 1974 and provided a new list of classifications for all of the structures in the Texas Tech survey. Thirteen of the buildings on the Glover property that were under 50 years old had been determined to be of no historical or architectural value and had been delegated to the authority of the Park Superintendent for disposition. The Glover ranch house and cafe, both more than 50 years old, had been classified as having no historical or architectural value but required authority from the Associate Director of Professional Services in the Washington office for disposition. Seven structures or sites were classified as having obvious or possible historical value, regardless of age, and required interim preservation and protection until further research was completed to determine National Register eligibility. Finally, 18 structures, primarily small cabins, dugouts, and structures related to historic water systems in the high country, were determined to have no potential for listing in the National Register, but they were of enough interest to "warrant strong recommendation that they be left undisturbed except by justifiable action." [3]

Regional historians concluded that only one of the seven sites classified as needing more research was eligible for nomination to the National Register: the Wallace Pratt residence. The other sites were treated in varying ways. In 1975, the Houser house, dugout, and sheep-shearing pens near the Pine Springs campground were evaluated and determined to be insignificant historically, clearing the way for removal of the badly deteriorated structures in the following year. Historians determined that backcountry structures should be treated as discovery sites and allowed to molder naturally unless they posed a hazard to human safety. [4]

The Statement for Management that was approved in 1976 established four "historic zones" in the park. According to the statement, resources in these zones had been listed or had been determined to be eligible for listing in the National Register. The resources in these zones did not include any of those identified in the Texas Tech survey. The zones included: an area near Pine Springs that contained two sites, the ruins of the Pinery, which was a stage-stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail route, and an early cavalry encampment; an area surrounding the Williams ranch house; an area around the Frijole ranch house; and the area around the Pratt's stone cabin in McKittrick Canyon. Management planned that development in the historic zones would be minimal. [5] Since 1976 one additional historic resource has been identified and, while not part of a designated historic zone within the park, has claimed particular attention from resource managers: the Emigrant Trail. The trail coincides in many places with the route traveled by the wagons of the Butterfield Overland Mail.

While prehistoric resources also required the attention of management, they were less easily identified. Site surveys conducted in the early 1970s comprised the baseline for management of these resources, but trained personnel from the park, the Southwest Regional Office, and the Texas Historical Commission conducted additional surveys before each construction project was initiated in the park to ensure that important prehistoric cultural resources were not destroyed.

In this chapter four major issues relating to cultural resources will be considered: preservation of historic structures and the Emigrant Trail, adaptive use of historic structures, archeological issues, and finally, problems relating to the Glover property as a cultural resource.


Last Updated: 23-Apr-2001