During the past few decades, the concept of historic preservation has grown beyond protecting a single building or urban district to include the historic landscape that provides the setting and context for a property as well as much larger landscapes that have regional and national significance. In response to this growing interest in the historic preservation and documentation of landscapes, the American Society of Landscape Architects worked with the National Park Service to create a national program, and in October 2000, the National Park Service established the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) to document historic landscapes in the United States and its territories to serve as tangible evidence of our nation’s heritage and development.
The Empire Ranch HALS Report will be added to the Library of Congress where it will be available online and maintained in perpetuity. In addition, the American Society of Landscape Architects named the Empire Ranch entry to its 2016 annual contest for landscape write-ups as No. 1 of 43 entries. A group of University of Arizona professors and students aided by local organizations worked last spring and summer to complete the study and enter it into the awards competition. This incredible document not only described the Empire Ranch Headquarters in architecture and history, but also the wider context of the Empire Ranch, neighboring ranches, and now the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.
The American Society of Landscape Architects provides professional guidance and technical advice for HALS through its Historic Preservation Professional Practice Network. The Library of Congress accepts and preserves HALS documents, furnishes reproductions of material, and makes records available to the public at www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/.
Results of the 7th annual HALS Challenge were announced at the HALS Meeting of the New Orleans ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo on Saturday, October 22, 2016.
1st Place: Empire Ranch HALS AZ-19, Greaterville vicinity, Pima County, Arizona.
By Gina Chorover, MLA, Heritage Conservation Program, University of Arizona; Helen Erickson, MLA, Drachman Institute, University of Arizona; Robin Pinto, Ph.D., Consultant; and University of Arizona; Heritage Conservation Program Student Researchers: Abrar Abdullah H. Alkadi, Heather Leigh Havelka,Armando Lagunas, Gabrielle Miller, Taira Lynn Newman, Genna Renee Vande-Stouwe, Jessica PaolaEstrada, Rachelle Hornby, Nicole Lavely, Kathryn Elizabeth McKinney, and Chelsea Parraga. Assisting the project documentation and fieldwork were: Alison Bunting and the Empire Ranch Foundation, Chris Schrager and Jeff Simms from the Bureau of Land Management, and Shela McFarlin from the Cienega Watershed Partnership
Photo of Empire Ranch in the 1880s courtesy Empire Ranch Foundation.