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Acadia Trails: It’s a Lifestyle, NOT a Gig!

Acadia Trails: It’s a Lifestyle, NOT a Gig!

After spending the week at Acadia National Park last week, I will never look at another hiking trail the same way again.


The third day of our trip was all about trails. The morning kicked off with an introduction to the history and creation of Acadia’s extensive and highly crafted system of hiking trails, led by Margie Coffin Brown, who worked at the Olmsted Center for many years before starting her current position as the Integrated Resources Manager at Minute Man NHP. While with OCLP, Margie authored a Cultural Landscape Report on the hiking trails of Acadia, called Pathmakers. I had a chance to read through some of the report over the course of our week in Acadia, and, man, it is one heck of a document! Seriously, if you ever go hiking in Acadia, I encourage you to pick up a copy (or read it here). It details the history and characteristics of every single trail in the park, so you can learn the age and design ethos behind any trail you visit.

What came next was by far my favorite part of our trip to Acadia: getting to learn about the maintenance and care of the park’s trails from Acadia’s own Trails Foreman, Gary Stellpflug! We started out with a visit to the park’s trails workshop, a fascinating place full of character and history. The walls are lined with old trail signs from the park, which we all thoroughly enjoyed gawking at.

Afterward, we hit the trails! With Gary as our guide, we hiked up the Jordan Pond Trail to see some trail maintenance work in action. Several members of the trails crew were stationed at various sections along the trail and were working to improve it by installing new stone checks, creating “Jordan Pond style header walls,” and building new causeways. The new or improved features will help prevent the trail from washing out or eroding during large storms.

Seeing how these features are constructed gave me an immense appreciation for the hard work and design that goes into them. We learned how the trails team uses hi-lines that are rigged up to the trees to carry granite boulders, many of which weigh several hundred pounds, down the mountain to the desired location. The boulders have to be drilled or hammered to the right size and shape and then wrestled into their carefully chosen place in the trail. We also saw several exposed design features that hikers don’t normally get to see when the finished trail is covered over with dirt, such as the crushed stones and retaining walls that help the trails drain water and hold their shape.

It’s intensely physical work, but it also requires a high level of skill and craftsmanship. The beautiful design of the park’s trails and attention to detail was astounding. At one point, we even watched one member of the trails team transplant moss from the surrounding forest to create a subtle border that delineates the trail from the forest, while blending seamlessly into the natural surroundings.

A member of the Acadia trails team transplants moss to create a border along the trail.

Above all,  what really came through during our time with Gary was his passion and heartfelt dedication to his work. While Gary has worked at Acadia for over 30 years now, and getting to spend every day on the park’s hiking trails is a definite perk, he was careful to convey that he doesn’t work for the National Park Service because it’s fun. “It’s not a ‘gig,’” he told us repeatedly, while holding back tears. “It’s a lifestyle.” Gary does what he does, because he cares deeply and wholeheartedly about Acadia National Park and the mission of the National Park Service. This is a common thread I have seen in everyone I have met so far who works for the National Park Service and one of the most inspiring aspects of being an intern here. I hope to someday find myself in a career that I can dedicate myself to as fully and passionately.

Thanks for showing us the way, Gary!

Until next time,


Assessing Cultural Resources at Independence NHP

Assessing Cultural Resources at Independence NHP

by Clare Flynn

Happy New Year, everyone!

Things are starting to get back to normal at the Olmsted Center after the holidays as the snow outside from the recent “bomb cyclone” begins to melt during a little 30+ degree heat wave we’re having in Boston. I’m now the only intern left from our merry band of summer interns, but I’m very happy to report that my internship has been extended, and I’ll be sticking around for a few more months to continue my work with the CRSAs for  parks in the region.

There are a lot of fascinating new projects ahead for OCLP in 2018, but I want to take us back to 2017 briefly for today’s post.  Before the holidays, Bob Page, Director of the Olmsted Center, and I had the privilege of taking a trip down to Philadelphia to complete one of the last steps before we finish the CRSA for Independence National Historical Park: a meeting with the full team of staff who have been part of the effort to assess the current conditions and program health of cultural resources at Independence National Historical Park.

After months of trading emails and conducting hours of phone calls with park and regional archaeologists, historic architects, landscape architects, ethnographers, museum specialists, historians, archivists, etc., it was so exciting to finally meet this very skilled and knowledgeable group of people face-to-face. During our meeting, the team had a chance to review the findings of the assessment and discuss broad management topics that affect all cultural resource types, such as Section 106 compliance, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), NAGPRA compliance (Native American Graves Repatriation Act), and climate stressors.

Perhaps the most important result of our efforts was being able to work with this multidisciplinary team to determine several priority actions for the park to pursue in the months and years ahead based on areas of need we had identified.

Prior to our meeting, I also had the opportunity to spend a full day exploring the park. The park’s Chief of Cultural Resources, Doris Fanelli, organized a full day of activities and meetings for me, starting with a private tour of the Bishop White House and the portrait gallery housed inside the Second Bank of the United States. Although the temperatures had dropped down to the teens outside, there were some definite perks of visiting the park on a cold, winter day: there were only 11 people on the usually crowded tour of Independence Hall, and I got to enjoy a private visit of Congress Hall when no one else turned up for the normally scheduled talk. From there, I explored many of the other sites that were open to the public, including Congress Hall, Old City Hall, Carpenter’s Hall, and Franklin Court.

Independence Square

The Second Bank of the United States

Inside the Bishop White House

The Assembly Room inside Independence Hall

From there, I was treated to an “insider” view of the park, as Doris had scheduled me to meet with several members of the park staff. First, I got to sit down with Andrew McDougall, the park’s special event coordinator. I wrote my master’s dissertation on the use of historic buildings and sites as filming locations (Read a summary here), so I was particularly interested in talking to Andrew about his experiences coordinating special use permits for filming activity in the park.

Next, I visited the architectural study collection with Museum Specialist Nicole Altman. Coming from a background in architectural conservation, I was fascinated by this treasure trove of original fragments from buildings in the park as well as molds and reproductions that have been used in restoration work.

Lastly, Nicole and I met with the park’s historical architect, Winston Clement, who helped us end the day on a few literal high notes. He first took us up the tower of the Merchant’s Exchange Building. Originally built between 1832 and 1843, the magnificent Greek Revival building was the financial center for Philadelphia in the 19th century, housing commercial houses, marine insurance companies, the Philadelphia Board of Trade, and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. Merchants would climb its tower to watch ships come in. During our visit, we were able to enjoy the same view and observe the tower’s unique construction and internal bracing.

While that was an unforgettable experience by itself, the best was certainly saved for last: a trip up the bell tower of Independence Hall. The tower has been demolished, altered, and restored a number of times since the building was originally constructed between 1732 and 1753. From inside, we could see physical traces of the many phases of its life and view the mechanisms that operate the clocks on its exterior. Our visit was perfectly timed to fully experience this ingenious piece of engineering. As the sun set and the clock struck 5 o’clock, the clock mechanism sprang to life, and with the whirring of gears and chiming of bells, I said goodbye to Winston and a magical day at Independence National Historical Park.

IMG_1083Merchant’s Exchange Building 

The Independence Hall bell tower

The clock mechanism inside the tower of Independence Hall




Clare Flynn | January 11, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Categories: 2018, CRSA, Independence NHP, OCLP | URL:

Geospatial Surveys in the San Juan Islands

In August of 2017, the National GPS Program Coordinator for the National Park Service joined San Juan Island National Historical Park (NHP) staff members to conduct geospatial surveys at both American Camp and English Camp—the two units of the park located at opposite ends of San Juan Island, Washington. After setting up base stations and additional markers at strategic points near the park’s numerous shorelines, the advanced spatial equipment used will allow park staff to inventory and monitor environmental change over time with an extremely high degree of precision—often within millimeters of accuracy.

Sea level rise, ecosystem exploitation, and unsustainable urban development are issues of increasing concern for cultural and natural resource managers throughout the San Juan Islands and Salish Sea engaged in the preservation and conservation of maritime heritage landscapes. With the arrival of European and American colonial settlers and the displacement of Coast Salish peoples from their traditional landscapes since the nineteenth century, maritime resources have been extracted as lucrative commodities. Voices calling for the preservation and conservation of shoreline ecosystems have challenged San Juan Island NHP to look for new ways to enhance and improve park management systems. The data collected will be used by researchers in years to come, primarily to monitor shoreline erosion and the health of landscapes that are critically endangered.

For more information on the Inventory and Monitoring Program at San Juan Island NPH, visit


Battlefield (Shipwreck) Nomination, final post

I successfully completed every shipwreck nomination assigned to me during my last two weeks of the internship. Our team decided to combine two of the wreck-sites, U-166 and SS Robert E. Lee, into one battlefield site nomination. U-166 and SS Robert E. Lee were both engaged and sank due to the same war related conflict. Since both shipwrecks are within close proximity of one another and were involved in the same battle, the site can be justified as a battlefield site. Battlefield nominations are more complex than single site nominations, because they require extra research, time, and supporting evidence to prove the site to be an unequivocal icon of historical significance. This nomination is particularly special to me, because of the intense amount of research and writing that went into telling this amazing story.

Figure 2. (Left) Tyler Ball (BOEM intern) editing and proofing shipwreck nominations. (Right) ACE/NPS Intern Tyler Ball standing next to his list of completed shipwreck nomination for the NRHP. 2017

Figure 2. (Left) Tyler Ball (BOEM intern) editing and proofing shipwreck nominations. (Right) ACE/NPS Intern Tyler Ball standing next to his list of completed shipwreck nomination for the NRHP. 2017

At the end of my 10-week internship, I am proud to say that I accomplished what I set out to do and complete all 9 of my shipwreck nominations for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The majority of the shipwreck nominations sank in the Gulf of Mexico during World War II. Each nomination is more than a shipwreck site, but also a story of our past deserving to be told, remembered, and preserved for future generations to experience. Producing nominations for the NRHP is important, because if nobody is willing to tell the story then it could be lost forever.

  • SS Halo
  • SS M. Parker Jr.
  • SS Alcoa Puritan
  • SS Gulfpenn
  • SS Virginia
  • SS Robert E. Lee & U-166
  • MV Sheherazade
  • SS Gulfoil
  • Steam Yacht Anona

Through this internship I have enhanced my skills as a researcher, writer, editor, and my overall professionalism. In the future, I hope to work again with the amazing teams at the American Conservation Experience (ACE), AmeriCorps, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Department of the Interior (DOI), and the National Park Service (NPS).



Tyler Ball – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Weeks seven to eight were very busy. I spent much of the time researching, editing, proofing, and tweaking the nomination. Some of the shipwreck data previously gathered was in a variety of stages, some of which were outdated and incorrectly cited, or no longer available. I found that the Library of Congress is an extremely valuable national resource for examining primary source historical information.

Figure 1. The fountains outside of the Library of Congress, 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

Figure 1. The fountains outside of the Library of Congress, 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

During Week 8 I was given the chance to visit the Washington Navy Yard Museums. It was a fantastic experience, getting to see so many pieces of naval history displayed and properly cared for. Some exhibits were in the process of being exchanged out for new pieces, which was very encouraging to see how popular the museums are within the community. The first museum my group visited was the Cold War museum, which was incredibly informative on a subject that I found myself knowing surprisingly little about.

ACE capstone presentation


Last Friday, September 22, I gave my final presentation of my work to several staff at Cuyahoga Valley National Park covering all of the deliverables I have produced in my eleven weeks with NPS. To review some of my “stats” during my service, I completed a National Register of Historic Places nomination form, created a spreadsheet of archaeological data for Cuyahoga Valley National Parks prehistoric sites, drafted a new site discovery form, wrote a summary of the various prehistoric and historic Outstanding Remarkable Values (ORVs), discovered and documented four new sites within the park, updated five archaeological site forms, and cataloged eleven newly discovered artifacts. Needless to say, I was very busy during my internship!

My 11 weeks with Cuyahoga Valley National Park was a very special time for me. I learned a lot about the application of archaeology within the National Park Service, how sites are managed and preserved from a federal perspective, and saw the various facets of archaeology and historic preservation at work. Bill Hunter, my site supervisor, was amazing and very attentive to my project progress. I would not have been able to do my work as efficiently without his help every step of the way. I enjoyed going into the office, going into the field, and every minute I was serving NPS, and I’ve taken many lessons from this experience, from erosion control to conducting meetings.

Now that I’ve completed my American Conservation Experience, I’ve been busy analyzing potsherds and lithics from the Fort Ancient and Newark earthworks as part of the Ohio History Fund grant that the University of Akron received this past March. I’ve also been busy coordinating events and program for the non-profit Stewards of Historical Preservation, of which I am now president. Now, every time I go for a hike, I take each step with a new perspective thanks to ACE and my experience at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.



Tyler Ball – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management


Figure 2. View from the outside of the Library of Congress. 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

Figure 2. View from the outside of the Library of Congress. 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

During weeks 5 and 6, I needed to do more in depth research, specifically focusing on data found in shipping records of merchant shipping companies during World War II. These records can be tricky to find, and in some cases classified and not published on the internet. To do this research I needed to visit the National Archives and The Library of Congress, located in Washington, DC. Incorporating the information from these documents provides a stronger case in explaining the over significance of the shipwreck, both during their career and potential for future archaeological research.

Figure 1. View from the inside of the Library of Congress. 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

Figure 1. View from the inside of the Library of Congress. 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.




Tyler Ball – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management


2017 BOEM Intern Tyler Ball (ECU) reading up on previous research done with BOEM’s Environmental Program Division. Photo by Marjorie Weisskohl, BOEM.

During my third and fourth weeks working at BOEM, I was given the opportunity to attend weekly staff meetings discussing a variety of topics within each branch of the Division of Environmental Assessment in the Office of Environmental Programs (OEP/DEA). The OEP/DEA includes research in a variety of topics from oil spill modeling, and marine life protection to oceanography and maritime archaeology in the Gulf of Mexico. This gave me a deeper understanding of how important the other areas are in the bigger picture. I finished creating maps displaying the suggested site boundaries for the shipwreck nominations. It was important to create the boundaries in a geo-rectified ArcGIS map to give precise coordinates and measurements of the sites.  After the map boundaries were created and scaled appropriately, the points were added to the shipwreck nomination database. Images and charts were added to the database.

Shipwrecks are an important part of history. For many people it reflects more than a job, but rather an identity. Having the privilege to help voice the urgency for these icons of maritime history has brought me a strong sense of pride and a new respect for the field that I work in.

2017 BOEM Intern Tyler Ball (ECU) creating maps in ArcGIS for shipwreck boundaries for the National Register of Historic Places nomination forms. Photo by Marjorie Weisskohl, BOEM.

2017 BOEM Intern Tyler Ball (ECU) creating maps in ArcGIS for shipwreck boundaries for the National Register of Historic Places nomination forms. Photo by Marjorie Weisskohl, BOEM.

Shipwrecks are an important part of history. For many people it reflects more than a job, but rather an identity. Having the privilege to help voice the urgency for these icons of maritime history has brought me a strong sense of pride and a new respect for the field that I work in.

 Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. Photo by Tyler Ball 2017.

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. Photo by Tyler Ball 2017.

The William H. Hunt Estate

The William H. Hunt Estate

By Eric C. Olson

During the last two weeks I’ve had the great pleasure of learning about one of Cleveland’s unsung civic heroes, William H. Hunt. Hunt was a huge entrepreneur in Northeast Ohio, who got his start working at what would eventually become First Merit Bank in Akron, and eventually becoming the president of the Cleveland Life Insurance Company. Hunt is an uncredited funder and supporter of the Hiram House, the first settlement house in Ohio, and a prominent founder of the St. Luke’s Hospital in Cleveland. Hunt was also selected as the president of the Cuyahoga County Centennial Celebration of 1910. I had the opportunity to go to the Western Reserve Historical Society and read Hunt’s letters to Teddy Roosevelt and Glenn Curtis. Roosevelt declined, in a very presidential way, to attend the ceremony, but Glenn Curtis personally spoke in Cleveland and had the first airplanes land in Cleveland thanks to William Hunt’s efforts.

I could go on about how interesting William Hunt was, but the estate itself is an amazing historic mining landscape that William Hunt transformed into his millionaire’s estate, Terraced Lakes. I have hiked around the estate several times and photographed the contributing elements of this National Register (NRHP) eligible property. I have been working on writing the NRHP nomination form for Terraced Lakes these past two weeks, among other projects. The mining landscape is just as incredible as the twin lakes and dam that William Hunt erected to manage the water on his property in the 1920s. I did not figure I would see “pyramids” in the Cuyahoga Valley, but some of the spoil piles from the mining operations of H. C. Currier in the 1870s are twice my size composed of waste sandstone that never made it to out of the quarry. These quarries were among the many of Independence, Ohio, that literally formed the foundation stones of Cleveland’s first buildings.

In the coming two weeks I hope to finish my first draft of the NRHP nomination form, with all of the data I have collected on the historic quarry and the Terraced Lakes Estate.

Picture of one of the two spoil piles of sandstone from the Currier Quarry known as the “pyramids.”

Picture of one of the two spoil piles of sandstone from the Currier Quarry known as the “pyramids.”

Picture looking west of “Terraced Lake;” the lake has silted-in since the 1950s. The dam is to the right out of frame.

Picture looking west of “Terraced Lake;” the lake has silted-in since the 1950s. The dam is to the right out of frame.

The Terraced Lake Dam; the dam breached in 1929 during a historic flood and was re-habilitated.

The Terraced Lake Dam; the dam breached in 1929 during a historic flood and was re-habilitated.

Leah’s blog August 4 and beyond part II

August 4th and Beyond Part II

by: Leah Chisolm-Allison

At the end of my internship we had a Youth Summit at Marsh Billings with interns from SCA and VYCC. This was a wrap-up for all interns where we could meet each other and give a presentation on our summer internship so that everyone could see the work that we have done. It was a great way to get in touch with other organizations and to see other areas within a park service and the needs that it requires. We also got to know each other through games and making homemade pizza and by taking a mini nature hike. Afterwards we got meet up with Mary-Ann to see and tour the archives for Marsh Billings.



OUR HOMER EXHIBIT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS! Towards the end we were worried that we were not going to finish in time but we did. Through hard work and dedication Abigail, Elizabeth, and I were able to finish the exhibit. Our research from Rauner paved the way to create an indepth story of Homer Saint-Gaudens that will give the audience a view and glimpse into his life. Countless time was spent on editing to make sure that the information was both correct and in chronological order. Once done, Elizabeth and Henry reviewed our work and made sure that it was correct. Afterwards we printed it out and mounted it on foam core. We then went on to gather the objects for the exhibit and made tombstone labels that give all the necessary information about the objects. Once everything was done we gathered boxes that we would use to transport the items to be set up on friday which is opening day.


Leah’s Blog August 4 and Beyond Pt 1

August 4th and Beyond Part I

by: Leah Chisolm-Allison

Highlights from the weeks of 7/23-8/5  consisted of our our Process Tour presentations of our mini exhibits that we put together, a surprise thank you brunch from the staff at Saga, and our research and construction of our biggest and final exhibit on Homer Saint-Gaudens.

Presenting our exhibit to the public has been amazing. It is quite the accomplishment for Abigail and I to both present on the research we have done on our assigned topics. Also seeing the interest that visitors have on what we were talking about and engaging with us and discussing about it with us felt great. I loved talking about an important piece of American history, the twenty dollar gold piece, that Saint-Gaudens commissioned to represent America.


Our Surprise Brunch was fantastic. ACE and SCA Interns had no idea that we were in for a surprise. Members of the SAGA staff gave out praise and thanks for our hard work and help during this season. Afterwards we were all able to enjoy the delicious baked goods and fruit that was laid out on the table to be enjoyed and consumed.


Lastly, for our final and upcoming exhibit on Homer Saint-Gaudens went spent an entire day in the Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College. While there we had access and read through piles of written correspondences from the Saint-Gaudens family. We also got to hold and read through some of Homer’s personal belongings, letters, checkbooks, textbooks, and letters to and from his family. This helped us get an insider’s view to who he was as a person and to read about his life and accomplishments.




Things are starting to calm down around the Olmsted Center, but they’re heating up for me. Our numbers have dwindled over the last few weeks as Daisy, Jill, and Catrina have all left Boston and returned to school. I already miss them tons, but I’m thrilled to be sticking around the Olmsted Center for a bit longer. So, what exactly will I be doing for the next few months, aside from reveling in all of the apple-picking, leaf-changing, and general fall-related fun New England has to offer?

The main reason I was brought on as an intern is to assist with the completion of the next round of Cultural Resource Stewardship Assessments (CRSA) for the Northeast Region. The initiative is taking place across the NPS with the eventual goal of completing CRSAs for every park in the system.

The CRSA seeks find out how we’re doing as stewards of the cultural resources that are in our care. Cultural resources are different from the natural resources that are more commonly associated with the National Parks Service (Don’t worry, natural resources have their own similar, but separate, assessment program). Cultural resources include historic structures, cultural landscapes, archeological resources, cultural anthropology, history, and museum collections — All of my favorite things!

In a nutshell, the CRSA seeks to answer the following questions:

  • What do we know about the cultural resources that we care for at each park?
  • How are we applying that knowledge to their management?
  • What is the condition of these resources?
  • What do we need to do to maintain or improve our knowledge or the condition of these resources?


As 2017 CRSA coordinator, I’ve gotta keep a lot of people in line…Hopefully they don’t see me like this.

The most interesting part for me will be getting to work with so many parks across the region, all of them fascinating in their own way. For this round of the CRSA, we’re starting off with Minute Man National Historical Park (the place where the first battle of the Revolutionary War took place) and Independence National Historical Park (where so many things happened that that I can’t even begin to list them. Just think Independence Hall, Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Liberty Bell, and you’ll be well on your way). We’ll be adding other parks to that list in the coming weeks, but, as a former history major, I am elated to have the chance to work so closely with these two parks. To quote my first blog post, pinch me!

I’m most excited about getting to work with the teams of specialists who will represent the various cultural resource disciplines, both from the individual parks and from the regional offices. By talking and collaborating with these teams, we’ll be able to answer the questions I listed above and have a much better understanding of where we are now and what we need to do to make things better in the near future. Our interactions will also give me a great opportunity to gain a thorough and overarching understanding of the depth and range of work the NPS does.

I won’t have many interesting photos to share with you until we start visiting the parks that we’re assessing to meet with their teams (Right now, my days are filled with a lot of Word documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, emails, and phone calls). For now, I’ll leave you with a few photos from Minute Man, each photo representing a different type of cultural resource that will be part of the CRSA…

Hartwell Site Visit 2.22.12_DSC_3939

The Hartwell Tavern represents the “historic structures” at Minute Man

CLI Hartwell Tavern_Cover_edited_Hartwell Tavern 2003

The view of one of the “cultural landscapes” at Minute Man

Fiske Hill CLI Report Images_21_DSC_7559

A historic house foundation, representing “archeological resources.”


The “History” of Minute Man is represented by a 1775 etching of the fighting at the Old North Bridge (Courtesy of the Library of Congress).

Lexington Minute Men_1899432_orig

“Cultural anthropology” is represented by the involvement of the local community, such as the Lexington Minute Men.

2016_Parker's Revenge Archeological Project_REPORT

Fired musket balls from the park’s “museum’s collections.”

Investigating recent archaeological discovery

Investigating recent archaeological discovery

By Eric C. Olson

I had the pleasant opportunity to go on a hike in around some ledges in the park. The opportunity presented itself because of the keen eye of Dr. Metin Eren at Kent State University, who just a couple of weeks ago noticed some artifacts near what he believed might be a rock shelter. The Lake Erie watershed is full of deeply dissected river valleys that have exposes miles of bedrock, usually sandstones and shales. These areas, known as ledges, are unique because there is a specific layer of sandstone with quartz concretions, or inclusions, known as Sharon Conglomerate. I was able to re-locate the site Dr. Eren discovered, and experience the ledges for the first time in this part of the park.

It just so happened that this was the date of the solar eclipse. Before I ventured deep into the woods, a nice couple loaned me their glasses to see the eclipse. The sun was roughly 80% blocked by the moon while I was hiking, and it provided for a unique experience. It was one of the quietest times I had ever been in the park. Perhaps this was in part because of the eclipse’s effect on the wildlife, or perhaps the ledges absorbed some of the white noise typical of Cuyahoga Valley. It could be that most normal visitors were elsewhere that had better views of the eclipse. In any case, I was able to have the entire trail to myself, which is a rarity in Cuyahoga Valley. I also snapped a few photos of myself just to see what it looked like in the dimmed light of the eclipse.

This particular part of the park is not well understood prehistorically, as very few sites have been reported. However, prehistoric American Indian populations likely utilized these ledges for short camp sites, or possibly even sacred rituals, based on rock shelters investigated and reported in the area.




This is my second time saying good bye to the National Park Service. The last eleven weeks have moved so quickly, a mad dash to learn how to build a map and get some writing done. As someone with limited mapping skills, learning to use a handful of new software programs was an uphill battle (one that Illustrator often won). As I leave, I’m lucky enough to come out with a whole new skill set. The Park Service is incredible in that it’s not just a working experience but it’s a learning and exploring experience. Over the summer I got to map, do field work, write, research, take architectural pictures, learn geology, engage with communities and so much more. I always acquire waaaayyy more skills than I had anticipated when working for the Park Service. The thing about working here is that everyone is so excited to share what they know. Whether that’s revolutionary war facts or how to use a chainsaw. Everything I do at the Park Service is done to the backdrop of enthusiasm.

I didn’t become a “go-getter” until I was in college. I was an athlete on the crew team and I had this (now very obvious) realization that I would never be able to go home after practice until all of the equipment was put away. From then on, I’ve dedicated myself to being the first person to get down to business and it’s been the most rewarding change in my life. The place I truly see this is in the Park Service, my delight in learning new skills is instantly rewarded as other equally eager individuals are ready to impart their wisdom upon me.

Over the last few months, I’ve learned to map, as promised. But I’ve also measured, photographed and explored modern and historic houses. I’ve taken pictures of so many different things and learned the names of so many different kinds of plants and trees, it makes my head spin. I’ve removed invasive species, helped build a trail, put together a goat shelter, taken down that same goat shelter, herded aforementioned goats and I have learned so much. I’ve learned history and politics and all about the internal workings of the Park Service. I’ve learned about laws and preservation and stewardship. I’m leaving this internship with so much more knowledge than when I began and I’m ready to apply that knowledge anywhere I can.

I’ve had an amazing summer and I’m so grateful for everything the Park Service has done for me. The people at the Olmsted Center were wonderful mentors and delightfully knowledgeable about so many things. My fellow interns were spectacular and Boston was a nice, breezy alternative to the muggy Florida heat.

As for me, I’m headed back to the Swamp to finish up my graduate degree and continue my adventures.

Goodbye for now NPS.



On Monday, the Saugus Iron Works planting design came full circle. I met the Branching Out Field Team at the site for their week-long ‘Resource Protection and Pest Management’ task – as known as, the goose-deterrent garden. Adrienne, the Field Team Coordinator; and Innocent and Ashley, Field Team Leaders; structured the day so that the Branching Out team would learn about the site’s history and contribute to its stewardship.

Branching Out approaches each of their projects fully prepared and provides time for reflection. I enjoyed joining them for their Safety and Stretch Circle in the morning before heading down to the site. We also took time in the afternoon to practice mindfulness and reflection. (We sat in the shade, exercised our minds with some writing, and took a few minutes to consider how we were feeling in that very moment.)

I helped to introduce the project and our goals for the week. This was the final week for the Branching Out Team, so by now they have already worked with a planting plan and schedule. We tested them to read the plan and come up with a plan of approach. They chose to start with installing the wire fence and spacing flags. Without much prompting, the team divided tasks and tools and began to make the design a reality.

After joining them on a tour of the Iron Works where we learned about the process of iron production and the industry, we returned to the site and I gave them a quick lesson on the plants that they will be planting. I had a lot of fun introducing each plant and seeing if they could, as detectives, determine the species from the clues I offered.

When I left Saugus that afternoon with excited anticipation to see the final product by the end of the week, I began to reflect the entirety of the project. Only weeks earlier, I had exchanged emails, drafted a design, determined a plant schedule, and navigated through some issues; and now, it is real. I also left confident in the team to make independent choices about the site and the design. That is the beauty of landscape architecture: there is design intention and design execution, and they do not have to be identical. The Saugus River buffer planting was designed in an office in the middle of downtown Boston; therefore, even with all the research in the world, the real experience of the site remains a mystery. (For example, only the person installing the fence knows where rocks are underground, and they must adapt the installation to the constraints of the site.) I trust the team to recognize the design’s intent and, when faced with issues, adapt.


On Thursdays I saw Marc, and he updated me on the progress at Saugus. He told me that the Branching Out team decided to move the fencing into the middle of the planting beds in order to mask it from view. I was glad to hear that they came up with that solution and that re-installation went smoothly. I cannot wait to visit Saugus in a few years to see how the buffer garden matures and evolves.



First off, apologies for the gap since my last post. I’ve been busily trying to finish my CLI site plans of the Pamet Cranberry Bog before moving on to the project that really brought me to the Olmsted Center and which will be the primary focus of the rest of my internship: the Cultural Resource Stewardship Assessment (CRSA). I’ll dedicate many blog posts to it in the future, so stay tuned for those!

That said, I’m happy to report that my maps of the Pamet Cranberry Bog are now complete (although, I’m sure there will be some tweaking down the road). Given my lack of experience with AutoCAD, Illustrator, and cultural landscapes in general at the start of my internship, I’m incredibly proud of how they’ve turned out.

pamet 30

Detail site plan of the Boghouse and its immediate surroundings


Full site plan

I’m a particularly big fan of the full site plan, which shows the extent of the irrigation system that essentially enabled this fascinating natural landscape of peat bogs, kettlehole ponds, and sandy knolls formed by prehistoric glacial activity to be converted for use in the commercial cultivation of cranberries. Water was pumped from the nearby Pamet River through a long irrigation ditch to a small kettlehole pond, which overflowed through a system of irrigation ditches, culverts, and canals into the bogs to the east, west, and south of the Boghouse. Equipment and harvested cranberries were stored on the Boghouse’s ground floor, while the bog’s caretaker lived on the second floor. The water was then pumped from the West Bog back to the Pamet River through another long irrigation ditch, creating a closed loop that not only irrigated the Pamet Cranberry Bogs, but also allowed them to be flooded during the wintertime.

Fun fact about the Boghouse: it started out as a typical one-story “full Cape Cod” house, probably built in the early 1800s, but it was moved to its present location and raised to two stories at some point in order to accommodate its use in the cranberry growing industry. Examining the floor plan of the Boghouse from a 1963 appraisal of the property at the time of its transfer to the NPS, one can clearly see the ghostly outline of its original early 19th century layout as a typical full Cape Cod cottage. Knowing its history also explains oddities like the floating doors on the second floor. Trying to piece its development back together by examining its existing fabric (albeit only casually and from the outside) allowed me to scratch my historic-buildings-preservation itch for a bit.


The Boghouse today with floating second story doors!

As someone who studied architectural conservation in grad school, I hadn’t had much exposure to cultural landscapes prior to starting this internship, but one of the major takeaways I’ve had through working on this project and getting to know the rest of the work going on at the Olmsted Center, is learning the importance of looking at buildings and structures within the larger context of their surrounding landscapes, be they natural, designed, or, more often, a mix of both.

In Edinburgh, where I studied for my degree, we were taught about the importance of studying the history and development of the city and surrounding neighborhood in which an individual building was located in order to really understand how that building may have changed over time; however, the settings we worked on were largely urban, by dint of the fact that the “laboratory” for our studies was a densely packed World Heritage city. Working with a landscape as rural and overgrown as that at the Pamet Cranberry Bogs, someone with my background might be tempted to focus just on the Boghouse without realizing that the building’s significance comes from understanding that it was just a small piece (Literally, it’s just a speck in the full site plan) within a much larger, complex agricultural system in which the surrounding landscape was absolutely essential. Indeed, this kind of thinking is evident in the fact that the Boghouse was the primary focus of National Register draft nominations that were prepared in the past as well as maintenance efforts up to this point.

I’m very thankful to the Olmsted Center and this internship for helping to expand my way of thinking about historic buildings and landscapes. It’s a real example of the importance of, to use a particularly appropriate idiom, “seeing the forest for the trees” that I’ve greatly appreciated.

From here, I’ll be dipping into the written portion of the CLI for the Pamet Cranberry Bog from time to time, but the majority of my attention will be spent on the CRSA. Onward to more adventures and opportunities to learn new things!

Until next time,


Madeline Le Blog 3

Week 5 was rather short because of the holiday, but we officially kicked off the CHSNE collaboration with the teen program. On the 7th, we hosted the teens for a walking tour of Chinatown.

Though it was rainy, we managed to see a couple of sites that are related to the topics of the videos they will be creating soon, such as the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center (pictured right) and the Chinatown Heritage Mural (pictured below).


Chinatown Heritage Mural

Chinatown Heritage Mural

Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center

Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center

I began week 6 by continuing my adventures through the CHSNE archives to see if there was anything we could copy for the teens when they began their research later in the week.



On the 13th, we introduced the teens to the project and split them up into groups based on their interest in each topic. The teens then got to meet with some of the people most knowledgeable about their topics, some of whom will also be the people they interview on camera for their short films.

We finished off the week with some work on the community resource kit for The Chinese Exclusion Act documentary.

Madeline Le Blog 5

Week 9 began with more filming. I supervised a couple of different groups, and it’s really interesting to see the similarities and differences in what shots each group wants to get. Some groups were more focused on staging scenes and getting action shots, while other groups were getting more building and interior shots.

On the 3rd, I actually got a visit from the family that had inquired about the grave at Mount Hope. They had been able to find the grave earlier that day and came by to express their thanks again in person. It turns out that they had been looking for their father for over 50 years! The son lives in China and had come for a visit and was to leave in a few days. Had the directory not been in existence, the likelihood that they would have found the grave was very low.  The Chinese Burial grounds are in an isolated part of the cemetery, and the families of those buried there often never knew what happened to them. A fair number of the headstones are faded and broken, but luckily this headstone was still in quite a good condition. Finally after decades, the son was able to pay respects to his father. They were also able to locate the location of the laundromat the his father had worked at in one of the old directories we have in our archive.

On the 4th, I accompanied the teen program on a field trip to the African Meeting House and Black Heritage Trail. They started in the basement of the Meeting House with an icebreaker and then got to learn more about NPS, this time from the interpretation side.


After the presentation, they played some team-building games. After a month together, they were pretty good at them. They also got to see a talk in the main part of the building.



After a break for lunch, we went on a tour of the Black Heritage Trail.

Despite coming from the area, this was actually my first time on the Black Heritage Trail as well. In school, if we went on field trips out to Boston, it was always the Freedom Trail or the Museum of Science.


Here’s a picture of the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial.

Here’s a picture of the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial.

And here’s a picture of the State House across the street.

And here’s a picture of the State House across the street.

The teens’ favorite stop was probably the Lewis and Harriet Hayden House because of the stories that came with the site. It was one of the safest stops on the Underground Railroad. Lewis Hayden was known to answer the door with a loaded shotgun and a lit candle. If the slave catchers weren’t disturbed by the shotgun, it was revealed that there were two barrels of gunpowder by the door, hence the lit candle.


We then returned to the basement of the African Meeting House, where the teens got to think up sites for their own heritage trails. A lot of the groups chose the Chinatown Gate as their site because of how iconic it is. For visitors especially, this is what Chinatown is. Through their video project, however, they will be complicating this image of Chinatown. They will be showing that Chinatown is a living community

Abigail Wing Blog Post

During the weeks at my internship at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, I have learned more about artifact care and preservation. Below is a picture of me putting a protective coating of wax onto a bronze relief. This process we do annually while weekly we dust reliefs to remove pollen and dust particles


In the recent weeks I have also learned how to create a museum exhibit. The process for creating labels and finding appropriate artifacts is a long one, but well worth the effort! My exhibit was about James Earle Fraser, a friend and student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The focus of my exhibit was the Special Commemorative Medal of Honor that he presented to Augustus in 1901 at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. Below is an image of my final display case.

The case was made up of multiple different objects. In the top shelf is a bust of Augustus that was made out of plaster and has pencil marks for which a measuring instrument called a pantograph machine was used to scale the piece. The pantograph would trace the bust and cut a larger or smaller identical image with a cutting tool. The bust was used to make the profile image of Augustus that can be found on the bottom shelf. The middle shelf displays the reverse of the medal in which there is Greek imagery of Pegasus, the winged horse, and a nude man holding a hammer and chisel.


We also made presentations to go along with our exhibit. Below I am giving a presentation to a group of visitors that explains what is in the case and a brief history of who James Earle Fraser was and his connections to Saint-Gaudens.