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Aleck Tan – Blog 2

Aleck Tan – Blog 2

 

June 23, 2017 – FIELD DAY

Today, I started to map plants and brush at my survey area in Enderts Beach Coastal Plain. It was challenging because I had to apply my knowledge of the vegetation to my survey after one crash course last week. It was also challenging because of the terrain and the thick heavy (and thorny) brush. Even though the survey area is bordered by a popular beach and a popular road, it feels like I am the only person around because of the vegetation that divides the survey area from the other popular areas.

I used a Trimble device and a Garmin GPS device to map individual plants and brush. I also used a field map of the area to easily draw and identify plants so I wouldn’t have to walk through harsh blackberry bushes to collect GIS data.  It took longer than I would have wanted to cover a certain area because I was trying to learn how to use the Trimble device, but it was a great learning experience to figure out how I wanted to do the survey so that I can be more efficient for later field days.

June 24, 2017 – FIELD DAY

Today, I went out with a GIS specialist named Henry from the Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Nation, which is one of the Native American tribes in the area. We mapped out a large section of my study area together, in continuance of my work from yesterday. Company made the survey more enjoyable and easier since I had someone else to work with and identify plants with. The field day went by a lot faster and was much more productive than yesterday’s work. When Henry had to leave early, I was more comfortable working on my own. I was able to find my groove and keep collecting information for my survey report.

One challenge of surveying an area with heavy brush and tall grass is having to find a way to exit the study area to get back on the trail. I struggled with finding an easy access point because there was heavy brush and large thorns that I didn’t want to walk through. There was one point where I thought it would be easy to get back on the road but upon closer examination, I realized it wasn’t possible for me to walk through.

I tried to find another way, and walked/crawled through other brush, which was a mistake because it led me to heavier brush where I received the bulk of my scratches from blackberry bushes. I reviewed my maps to find easier access points, which eventually led to one. After 30 minutes of trying to leave, I was finally back on the road and walked back to my car. When I looked at the map again to see where I had exited out from, I realized that there was a clear distinct trail a couple hundred yards south, which would have come in handy. The lesson of the day is: be very familiar with field maps and your study area.

Smith River swimming hole off of Walker Road.

Smith River swimming hole off of Walker Road.

June 25, 2017 – JEDEDIAH SMITH STATE PARK

Today, I explored Jedediah Smith State Park with my neighbors from my park housing. We planned on going on the first ranger-led kayak tour on the river but didn’t get a chance to make reservations beforehand. When we arrived at the Hiouchi Visitor’s Center, we found out the kayak tours were all booked up for the day. We reserved our spaces for next weekend instead. After, we went to a swimming hole nearby that is on state park land and set up right on the gravel by the river. The river was cold, but refreshing. The day was perfect though because it was sunny and warm.

Afterwards, we drove on Howland Hill Road in Hiouchi, which is a popular dirt road that people drive on. The dirt road has plenty of pot holes to avoid and there is often only enough room for one car to pass. The road takes you through massive old growth redwoods, and leads to numerous trails, one of which we visited called Stout Grove. It was a short hike that allows you to get up close and personal with redwoods. I found out that when you touch a redwood, it’s a bit squishy and soft. It’s always humbling to just walk amongst them. The trail also leads to the Smith River, where people can enjoy swimming and kayaking.

Smith River swimming hole off of Walker Road.

June 29, 2017 – BALD HILLS

My supervisor Michael Peterson and I checked out the Bald Hills today. It was incredibly beautiful and interesting because the hills are covered in prairie/grasslands, very different than the redwood forests that the area is famous for. We looked at old wagon roads that were used before, and checked out an old cabin that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.

We enjoyed lunch at a fire lookout station, where there was a fire crew that was mowing the grass around the lookout station to create a fire break. One of the fire supervisors James brought us into the station and showed us how to use a fire finder.

 

Bald Hills and the Bald Hills Road. You can see the fire break around the lookout tower. If you look at the horizon, you might be able to see the ocean amidst the fog.

Bald Hills and the Bald Hills Road. You can see the fire break around the lookout tower. If you look at the horizon, you might be able to see the ocean amidst the fog.

Fire finder at the lookout tower. You peek through the hole in the gold-colored ruler to locate the fire and to measure where and how far the fire is. Back in the day, the location had to be exact as fire crews had to ride horses to get to the fires. Nowadays, they only use the range finder for a general location of the fire. If there are fires, they send out a helicopter crew to pinpoint the exact location of the finder.

Fire finder at the lookout tower. You peek through the hole in the gold-colored ruler to locate the fire and to measure where and how far the fire is. Back in the day, the location had to be exact as fire crews had to ride horses to get to the fires. Nowadays, they only use the range finder for a general location of the fire. If there are fires, they send out a helicopter crew to pinpoint the exact location of the finder.

Sunlight shines through the fog and trees

Sunlight shines through the fog and trees

July 1, 2017 – JEDEDIAH SMITH STATE PARK

Today, my friends and I traveled to Jedediah Smith State Park in Crescent City, California to go on the ranger-led kayak tours on the Smith River. The Smith River is California’s only undammed river and is considered to be a Wild and Scenic River.  People can catch a variety of fish in the river, including Chinook salmon, steelhead and rainbow trout.  The Smith River is also where we went swimming last Saturday.

We parked at the Jedediah Smith Campground day use area and met our kayak ranger named Brad, who was very knowledgeable and easy-going. The tour started with a .5-mile hike to the kayaks that were stationed upstream of the day use area. Brad talked about the logging industry, the river and the redwoods in the surrounding area.

When we reached the kayaks, we hopped on with our personal flotation devices and helmets. We went upstream and checked out the Stout Grove from the river, and then floated downstream about ¾ miles down the river. It was a very relaxing but also exciting day. We went through a Class I rapid, and also a Class II rapid. The Class II rapid was where I got drenched as the kayak dunked into a deep section of the river, but that was the best part of the kayak tour.

After the kayak tour, we enjoyed lunch in the day use area. Then, we went on a short hike on the Leiffer Trail loop. It was about a mile or so long, so it was easy and wasn’t crowded at all like many trails in Redwood National Park. I found a ton of redwood sorrels at the base of the redwoods, which I loved.

 

 

Redwood sorrel that grows in the understory of redwoods.

Redwood sorrel that grows in the understory of redwoods.

Ranger-led kayak tour on the Smith River.

Ranger-led kayak tour on the Smith River.

Sail Boston – Haley Arteaga

Sail Boston

By: Haley Arteaga

Sail Boston is an event that happens every few years where 13-15 countries come together and race tall ships around the world in the Rendez-Vous Tall Ships Regatta and Boston is one of the official places where they port. Some of the countries that take part are USA, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, Ecuador, and the United Kingdom.
On Sunday, June 18th, the curator of the Boston National Historical Park and I (Haley Arteaga) participated at one of the engagement tables. Our engagement table, in particular, was the cultural resources table. We had a Commandant’s House picture/caption matching game of different paintings and photos of the house throughout time for adults and kids to interact with and learn about the history of the house. We exhibited a Siena marble paneling section, which comes from the city of Siena in Tuscany, Italy, of the Rotunda’s wall inside the Bunker Hill Granite Lodge, and we also exhibited a scrapbook of old postcards (some written on and some not) of different historic sites in Boston that people around the world have visited throughout time. These two items, the marble and the scrapbook, along with the tall ships that sailed through the harbor, illustrate how different cultural influences can be carried around the world for everyone to see, enjoy, and embrace.

Below are a few pictures I took of the Sail Boston tall ships event and our engagement table from June 18th. 🙂

 

The Eagle- The tallest ship in the event & a USA ship! Woo!

The Eagle- The tallest ship in the event & a USA ship! Woo!

A family interacting with the Commandant’s Matching Game.

A family interacting with the Commandant’s Matching Game.

The Matching Game, Siena marble paneling section, and the scrapbook of postcards on our cultural resources engagement table.

The Matching Game, Siena marble paneling section, and the scrapbook of postcards on our cultural resources engagement table.

SEEKING THE BOSTON-RURAL AT MOUNT AUBURN

SEEKING THE BOSTON-RURAL AT MOUNT AUBURN

Washington Tower

View up to Washington Tower on a sunny day in late-June.

Since the last blog post, the world of mapping has opened a portal into the Olmsted Center and swallowed me up! (Or, at least that’s what it feels like.) Tim Layton hosted a three-day mapping workshop last week, which provided instructions and demonstrations on valuable techniques, office standards, and data insertion on a both ESRI’s ArcMap and AutoCAD Map applications. Although, I already had a good grasp on both programs, Tim taught me some shortcuts and methods I hadn’t known before.
The sun decided to make a glorious appearance over the weekend following the workshop. Clare and I decided to do some exploring within the Boston area. We met in Harvard Square – where everyone else in the world seemed to be converging – and set out for Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Picturesque trail and a beautiful beech

A picturesque scene along one of the trails, looking towards a grand beech.

Mount Auburn Cemetery is the nation’s (acclaimed) first rural cemetery. Today’s burial grounds and cemeteries take a variety of forms and conditions – graveyards, church yards, pastoral settings, urban crypts; you name it – but back in the early 19th-Century that was not the case. Before Mount Auburn, burials took place on private, confined plots, and usually associated with an adjacent church. After traveling through Europe, Dr. Jacob Bigelow found himself inspired to bring a garden cemetery to Boston. He sought to replicate a pastoral, picturesque English landscape in the hills just 4 miles from Boston’s center. After buying 70 acres of farmland, he brought on the founder of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, General Henry A. S. Dearborn, to design the cemetery’s plant collections and garden layout. Groves, meadows, sculptures, trails, and flowering ornamentals transformed the rural landscape into a true garden.

Engraving from Mount Auburn's early years

(From James Smillie’s Mount Auburn Illustrated in Finely Drawn Line Engravings. Courtesy Mount Auburn Cemetery)

Clare and I explored the grounds whimsically and only referring to the map at rare occasion. Thousands (nearly millions) of people have toured these grounds; however, I was thankful that I, unlike 19th-Century female visitors, could forgo a stuffy dress. (We saw photographs in the museum of Mount Auburn during the 1850s; a sure example of the juxtaposition between the day-and-age and how far lifestyles have changed.)

Spectacular view from Washington Tower.

Preservation at Mount Auburn faces an incredible amount of insight and adaptation. The most prominent features are the trees and herbaceous specimens; and they, being alive, require nurturing rather than ‘preserving.’ What stewards of the ground seek to preserve, instead, is the moments, botanical significance and ordering, and the view-sheds composed across the landscape. Washington Tower, a beautiful granite pinnacle in the center of the cemetery, provides 360-degree views from above the treetops, and is an example of the awe-worthy moments one will find in Mount Auburn.

Linden

We stopped often to admire the cemetery’s trees…and to enjoy their shade. This linden is absolutely breath-taking!

My favorite aspect of Mount Auburn Cemetery remains the phenomenal silvic collection within the garden. I found myself dashing across graves (always accidentally) to see the tags identifying each of the specimens. Although a little rusty on plant nomenclature, I was surprised in how many I recognized. Often I exclaimed at the trees size, form, or rarity. As a tree-lover, Mount Auburn was an absolute delight to discover.
My next task at hand, as we enter into July, is to complete an existing conditions map of the Baker-Biddle site by compiling ortho-imagery, field notes, and photographs from the site. Until next time!

DRAFTING FOR THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURY LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT

DRAFTING FOR THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURY LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT

Most people think of working for the National Parks Service as getting to spend lots of time outdoors, going on hikes and nature walks, doing landscape maintenance work, and generally getting one’s hands dirty. While we get to do a lot of that as interns at the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, we are being introduced to another important side of the NPS’ work in our nation’s parks: the profession of landscape architecture. The Olmsted Center was named after Frederick Law Olmsted, after all, the father of landscape architecture in America and the designer of many of the most famous parks in the country, including Central Park in New York City, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and the Emerald Necklace in Boston, among many others.

As with architects who design buildings, knowing how to draft accurate site plans is an essential skill for any landscape architect. Creating up-to-date site plans will also be a central part of the Cultural Landscape Inventories (CLIs) that Jill, Catrina, and I are currently preparing for the Baker-Biddle Homestead, Long Island in the Boston Harbor Islands, and the Pamet Cranberry Bog, respectively.

My degrees are in history and architectural conservation, so I personally have had little exposure to architectural drafting software, outside of self-teaching myself how to use Revit. Thankfully, we had a savior in the Olmsted Center’s Tim Layton, who graciously came up from Richmond, VA to give us an intensive four-day workshop on everything we would need to know to get started on our own site plans. This included a crash course on a number of essential software programs: AutoCAD, ArcGIS, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, and even a quick primer on LIDAR scanning. It was a lot to process in a few short days, but we couldn’t have asked for a better teacher than Tim!

Last week, we took a break from the office to pay a visit to Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site – the site of Olmsted’s design firm and the world’s first professional office for the practice of landscape architecture – to see how landscape architecture was done in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. After a week of fumbling my way around AutoCAD and ArcGIS (lots of exploratory mouse-clicking and calling Tim for help), our visit was both a literal and figurative breath of fresh air.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but what struck me most during our visit was the contrast between drafting techniques in Olmsted’s time and today. In Olmsted’s day, everything was measured and drawn by hand, including the numerous copies which had to be made (usually by apprentices – our turn-of-the-century equivalents – who had to meticulously trace over the original drawings). We even saw an early 20th century blueprinting machine, which looked like something out of a sci-fi movie or Victorian magic show. Walking through Olmsted’s drafting workshops – strewn with the various tools for hand-drawing, measuring, copying, and printing – I found myself longing to learn the old methods, to put pencil to paper and use my own hands to create something.

My intern colleagues rightly pointed out that making changes to one’s drawings or printing a copy is infinitely easier to do using today’s digital methods, and I understand the enormous advantages that digital drafting technology presents for the profession. Part of my skepticism comes from the fact that, one, I love drawing, painting, and crafting with anything I can get my hands on, and, two, I’m a bit of a romantic at heart. As I become more comfortable using these digital drafting programs and the barrier of knowing simply how to do something begins to fall away, I’ve found myself enjoying the creative process more and more. I’m looking forward to improving my skills over the next few weeks and finding out what I can do with them….but I still miss my old pen and paper.

Until next time,

Clare

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I don’t know what prompted one of Olmsted’s colleagues to draw this terrifying cartoon, but I hope drafting never makes me feel like I’m being eaten by a giant spider.

Saint Gaudens National Historic Site, NH Curatorial Internship – May 2017

Saint Gaudens National Historic Site, NH Curatorial Internship – May 2017

by: Leah Chisolm-Allison

Hi everyone, my name is Leah Chisolm-Allison, Curatorial Intern at SAGA and member of ACE!

I arrived to New Hampshire and moved in on Friday which allowed me to explore and get acquainted with my new surroundings over the weekend before my first day. Let me tell you, when I arrived I was amazed at the beauty and richness of the environment. Living in Florida, I am used to seeing buildings and hearing street noise everywhere, but at Saint Gaudens all you hear is nature. I am surrounded by lush trees and towering mountains blanketed in soft clouds in the distance. The birds sing happily all throughout the day and flowers in purple, pink, white, and orange greet the sun with eager desire. Aside from nature, I explored the Aspet, the house of Saint Gaudens, which has the biggest Honey Locust Tree in all of NH standing guard right outside the house. I also ventured to the little studio where Saint Gaudens did most of his work and then little garden in between.

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I began my internship on Monday June 19th, where I officially met my fellow intern Abigail Wing, my Supervisor and Curatorial Technician Elizabeth Rodriguez, and Head Curiator Henry Duffy. The first week was focused on cleaning. We learned how to clean the relief statues and portraits throughout the grounds located outside. Learning to use hake brushes, towels, brushes, and cleaning products for certain surfaces on the historical works of art. We then switched to inside where we cleaned inside Aspet, Little Studio, and New Gallery. We clean a ll types of artifacts: Dishware, tapestries, relief portraits, carriages, and more. The first week we learned the importance of preventative care, object care, and weekly maintenance of historical objects so we can understand how valuable it is when it comes to preserving the past.

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My second week of work focused on cataloging and inventory. Abigail and I made a huge binder with all the items located within SAGA and our job was to locate the item and then check it off. We learned how to use Re-Discovery which is basically on the computer and we use it to find more information about the item in case we are having trouble finding it. We type in the catalogue number and can see what the object looks like where it should be located and other information that can help us to identify the object. We finished cataloging the Atrium, New gallery, stable, and the Little Studio. Took us a couple days but that is to be expected. It felt like we were on a huge scavenger hunt. We also had the experience of deinstalling two relief portraits and installing a high relief portrait that is on loan and also took on cleaning it so that ready to be viewed by the public. Lastly, we began taking pictures of the dish ware in Aspet to replace old photos of them our new update project.

Last but not least, Mount Ascutney, also known as “The sacred Mountain” to Saint Gaudens and his friends is an inspiration and a subject in many works and art of Saint Gaudens and his friends.  I can see this mountain on my way home and anywhere on the grounds of SAGA. This is my favorite view of the mountain from Saint Gaudens.

Blog Post – Abigail Wing

Blog Post

By: Abigail Wing

Hi there! My name is Abigail Wing and this summer I am a Curatorial Intern at Saint Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire.

I began my internship on June 19th and so far the first week and a half has been amazing. I met my supervisor, Elizabeth Rodriguez and the head curator of Saint Gaudens, Henry Duffy, and am getting to know them better every day. It has been a blast working with people who are so passionate and knowledgeable about their jobs. I also met my coworker, Leah Allison-Chisholm and we have had a great time exploring the historical site together and learning all sorts of new techniques.

During the first week we were given an extensive tour and began to learn the basics about cleaning outdoor art pieces. Saint Gaudens is full of bronze statues and reliefs. One of the most impressive pieces is the newer addition to the park, Abraham Lincoln! Leah and I started cleaning his statue first using towels, dusters for spider webs, special hake brushes with soft bristles to remove pine pollen from small detailing (such as the folds of his coat) and began to learn about appropriate cleaning supplies to use on bronze. The sculpture is quite impressive due to its size and the stature of Lincoln. He almost feels alive due to his fine detail and thoughtful expression as he looks out over the park he now calls home.

Cleaning Abraham Lincoln

Cleaning Abraham Lincoln

The first week of the internship also taught me how to properly handle books and dining china. Not only that, but I am also becoming more focused on becoming spatially aware in my surroundings. One wrong move with an elbow cleaning or taking inventory could mean the end of a fragile oil lamp or teacup!

Leah and I cleaning the Admiral Farragut bronze statue

Leah and I cleaning the Admiral Farragut bronze statue

 

After learning how to clean and handle objects and familiarizing myself with the historic site, I was taught how to take inventory of objects and work with an online program called Rediscovery. It is a huge catalogue of all the objects at Saint Gaudens. I learned how to search for specific items using their assigned numbers, modify records, and locate pieces that were hard to find or moved from a display into storage.

During the second week of the internship we took a very exciting field trip to the Marsh Billings site in Woodstock, Vermont. While there we got to experience how another museum organized their collections and storage. Not only that, but we were given an in-depth tour and were lucky enough to enter the fallout shelters under the mansion and recreation building!

Fallout shelter located underneath the Marsh Billings Mansion

Fallout shelter located underneath the Marsh Billings Mansion

People always talk about how when you love what you do, you never feel like you’re working a day in your life. I feel like this summer I’ll have the pleasure of joining that small and fortunate bandwagon!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Ravi Venkataraman

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

By: Ravi Venkataraman

I dived into my work in my first week at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Diving into my work included hours spent in front of screens and in classrooms orienting myself to the perils of the workplace–perils involving cars, computers, and bears–and to the history of the park.

This is the part where I could bore you with the intricacies of the history of the park. But I would prefer to keep this part short and sweet. The park was established in 1934, and formally inaugurated in 1940. Since then, the park has had tall tasks of managing tourist traffic (the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country), wildlife restoration (by 1936, two-thirds of the park area had been affected by logging activity), and settlements within the park boundaries.

My project as an intern involves the latter. My project goal is to create a story map of the history of the Elkmont area in the park. The Elkmont area is a campground and a recognized historic place. The area has been continuously settled for most of the 20th century, first by homesteaders, then loggers, and finally well-to-do vacationers who owned cabins in the area. For the past few weeks, I have been scrutinizing records, interview transcripts, and photos in order to create a cohesive history of the area for the park and the public.

At the moment, I am putting together that story map. So, my work is not exactly photogenic, unless you are interested in seeing a picture of a desk stacked high with manila folders full of records. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, I can share with you my final project.

Pao Arts Center – Madeline Le

Pao Arts Center

By: Medeline Le

Week three with CHSNE included a field trip to the Pao Arts Center. For a neighborhood that is shrinking due to rising rents and land grabs, community spaces like the Pao Arts Center are important.

The Pao Arts Center is part of One Greenway, a housing development on Parcel 24. It hosts an art gallery, theater, and classrooms, bringing exhibit space to Chinatown.
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The space is part of the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center’s mission to reclaim space for art – and the dialogues that come with it. It is in partnership with Bunker Hill Community College, which makes a great pathway for Chinatown youth in the future.

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Week four was busy, with a CHSNE board meeting to start the week off with a bang. With the board’s input, we finalized the list of topics of the short films that the teens will be developing this summer, as well as the list of people we should get in touch with about the films.

The week went by with a flurry of meetings and conference calls. On Thursday we hosted a CHSNE appreciation lunch for about 30 people, as a way to thank the people that have contributed their time and energy to CHSNE projects, particularly to the National Register work that had just finished.

 

First Week at Great Smokeys

First Week at Great Smokeys

by: Ravi Venkataraman

I dived into my work in my first week at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Diving into my work included hours spent in front of screens and in classrooms orienting myself to the perils of the workplace–perils involving cars, computers, and bears–and to the history of the park.

This is the part where I could bore you with the intricacies of the history of the park. But I would prefer to keep this part short and sweet. The park was established in 1934, and formally inaugurated in 1940. Since then, the park has had tall tasks of managing tourist traffic (the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country), wildlife restoration (by 1936, two-thirds of the park area had been affected by logging activity), and settlements within the park boundaries.  

My project as an intern involves the latter. My project goal is to create a story map of the history of the Elkmont area in the park. The Elkmont area is a campground and a recognized historic place. The area has been continuously settled for most of the 20th century, first by homesteaders, then loggers, and finally well-to-do vacationers who owned cabins in the area. For the past few weeks, I have been scrutinizing records, interview transcripts, and photos in order to create a cohesive history of the area for the park and the public.

At the moment, I am putting together that story map. So, my work is not exactly photogenic, unless you are interested in seeing a picture of a desk stacked high with manila folders full of records. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, I can share with you my final project.

Hello World! – From San Juan

 Hello World! – From San Juan

by: Jordan Davis

Hello! My name is Jordan Davis and I am interning with the San Juan Island National Historical Park (SAJH) on San Juan Island, Washington this summer. I hold a bachelor’s degree in History (with a minor in Archaeology) from Calvin College and am currently competing a professional master’s degree program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Sustainable Peacebuilding. This summer, I am working on the SAJH “archaeology crew” at American Camp, one of the two major part units along with “English Camp” on San Juan Island. In 1859, the United States and Great Britain almost went to war over a boundary dispute in the region. Known as the “Pig War,” namely in reference to the shooting of a pig of the Hudson’s Bay Company by an American settler—the SAJH preserves and interprets the history of the conflict and the peaceful resolution of hostilities. The park, however, is also one of the many stewards for the natural resources of the island, including foxes, eagles, butterflies, and the shorelines which are important for the conservation of salmon and orcas. Furthermore, the SAJH is also a steward of the indigenous cultural landscapes of San Juan Island, a commitment to the Coast Salish Tribes and Nations who have lived in the region for thousands of years including the Samish, Stillaguamish, and Lummi. Major challenges confronting the park lie in balancing cultural and natural heritage preservation and management, as well as a broadening park interpretive frame responsive to historically marginalized voices and peoples.

In coming posts, I will be able to go into more depth about the park’s history and archaeological survey work, nature and wildlife conservation, island festivities, and the parks’ vital, collaborative engagements with Coast Salish peoples in this truly breathtaking place.

The Visitor Center at “American Camp” at San Juan Island National Historical Park (SAJH)

The Visitor Center at “American Camp” at San Juan Island National Historical Park (SAJH)

View Overlooking “English Camp” at San Juan Island National Historical Park (SAJH)

View Overlooking “English Camp” at San Juan Island National Historical Park (SAJH)

Along the Canal: A Week of New Beginnings

Along the Canal: A Week of New Beginnings

by: Ashley Dam

On my first day as the administrative history and ethnography specialist at the C&O
Canal I was already hitting the ground running. The orientational expectations I held
were thrown out for an exciting look into the park’s upcoming project of reconstruction
and rehabilitation of a bridge near the canal’s locks 3 and 4 within Georgetown. While
building tours and occupational disclaimers awaited me during orientation, they most
certainly did not greet me on that first bright morning.
As me and two other cultural resources personnel piled into a car at 7am, I couldn’t help
but be skeptical. How would attending this meeting help me with my research? I
literally have no clue what is going on. Despite my initial fears, my unorthodox
introduction to a day working at the canal proved quite fruitful. This “field trip” was to
attend a meeting between the C&O Canal’s cultural resources department and the
District of Columbia’s Department of Transportation. With the advisement of several
engineers, the park’s superintendent, and my park counterpart Sophie, I was able to
understand the immense layers of bureaucracy that befell any complex, yet
good-intentioned project encountered by the park. Regardless of the superficial benefits
a project may promise, I learned about the intersecting nature of government,
environmentalist endeavors, land stewardship, and the preservation of history.
Thus began my busy, but exciting week at the C&O Canal. From speaking to
knowledgeable historians, to trekking through thick forests with machetes, I began to
understand how expansive the park was. While I was doing my research solely in the
administrative history, I was introduced to the hidden gems of the park. I spent an

entire day visiting important sites all over the park, and even hiked the famous Billy
Goat Trail. The park’s grandeur began to grow on me and I became more and more
excited about delving into the research aspect of things. Although I’d be compiling a
report on past 26 years, the task didn’t seem as daunting as it initially had. This is my
park, and I love it!
When I was in 8th grade I had an English teacher who taught us about this wondrous
movement known as transcendentalism. Founded by a collective of scholars on the east
coast of the United States, this philosophical movement emphasized the inherent purity
and goodness of both nature and mankind. As I sat upon a rock gazing over the Potomac
River in the Great Falls portion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical
Park, I felt an immense peace befall me. In front of me was a combination of feats of
both in nature and engineering; I was at the center of both past and present. I was
astounded by the glory of this park and could not wait to encode its distinct,
foundational history. Just as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great was ever
achieved without enthusiasm”. My newfound love for the C&O Canal and research is
beyond enthusiasm; a love for researching is rare, but a love for ethnographic research is
exceedingly rare — here’s to a summer of falling in love with anthropology all over again.

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ACE Blog – Jill Miller

My name is Jill and I am one of the Designing the Parks interns at the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation in Boston, Massachusetts. This summer I will be focusing on the Baker-Biddle property on Cape Cod National Seashore. I recently graduated from Virginia Tech (Let’s go – Hokies!) earning a BLA (Landscape Architecture), and will enter Cornell University in the fall to study Historic Preservation Planning. I am a New Englander at-heart, and Boston brings me closer to my hometown in central Connecticut. I love landscapes and discovering their stories – nothing tickles me more than finding a remnant stonewall, browsing through Sanborn maps, or enjoying the shade of an old-growth tree. My interest in vernacular landscapes led me to the Olmsted Center, where I hope to explore the stories of our nation’s most significant landscapes.

Here I am, next to a beautiful old growth hemlock, while hiking at Cathedral Pines at Mohawk Mountain, in Connecticut.

Here I am, next to a beautiful old growth hemlock, while hiking at Cathedral Pines at Mohawk Mountain, in Connecticut.

In commencing my research and investigation of the Baker-Biddle Property and its contributions to the Cape Cod National Seashore, I realized frequent discontinuity in the homestead’s history. History, alas, can appear confusing, and one should always take caution when a story seems too polished. Preliminary research, as I often see it, is playing sheet music without having heard it aloud. You organize, connect, and redefine following known parameters and rules that you trust; the story once spoken might then be enough to recognize the melody.
The Baker-Biddle homestead is a 1792 ‘cape and a half,’ with three surrounding structures, most dating back to the 19th century. It is located on 10 acres, over looking a salt marsh that was once Duck Harbor and allowed bay-access. A lot has changed since the Bakers lived on the property.
The narratives from the Baker era, although lacking specific detail, paint the family’s sustenance lifestyle and connection to the shore. Parts of their landscape – the windmill that ground their flour, fields that grew their food, and vats that processed their salt – drop away from the tangible remnants of today. The open-ended existence of the landscape demands a physical investigation of the homestead.
With every transfer in ownership, the homestead reappears in a new light, for new uses, and with new inhabitants. These different visions for the landscape intrigues me, because it must reflect, to a certain degree, the condition and ephemerality of each owner’s presence in the place. The Bakers lived off their land, while Jack Hall used the property to practice his craft, and finally, the Biddles found their respite and retirement on Bound Brook Island.

The Olmsted Center interns at Charlestown Navy Yard; left to right: Clare, Melissa, Jill (me), Catrina, and Ella.]

The Olmsted Center interns at Charlestown Navy Yard; left to right: Clare, Melissa, Jill (me), Catrina, and Ella.

In addition to researching the Baker-Biddle property, I joined the other interns to the Navy Shipyard in Charlestown. There, we met with the Olmsted Center staff and learned more about their work in education and maintenance. Making use of the beautiful weather, we explored the Captain’s Quarters, Navy Shipyard, USS Cassin Young, USS Constitution, and took the ferry back to Boston. Next week, we will be traveling to Cape Cod to inventory the properties, and following week we will continue our research.

USS Constitution, undergoing some restoration in one of the shipyard’s locks. It was constructed around same time that the Baker’s built their homestead on Cape Cod – an interesting juxtaposition of times.

USS Constitution, undergoing some restoration in one of the shipyard’s locks. It was constructed around same time that the Baker’s built their homestead on Cape Cod – an interesting juxtaposition of times.

HELLO, BAKER-BIDDLE HOMESTEAD, PLEASURE MEETING YOU

HELLO, BAKER-BIDDLE HOMESTEAD, PLEASURE MEETING YOU

Cape Cod National Seashore came alive this past week. A portion of the Olmsted Center, Minuteman, SUNY-ESF (Environmental Science and Forestry), and Salem Maritime staff and interns participated in a 5-day field workshop – collecting and inventorying Cape Cod National Seashore’s mid-modern homes, Pamet Cranberry Bog, and Baker-Biddle property. Standing on the homestead and experiencing the landscape firsthand invigorates my interest in the site’s history and the narratives of its inhabitants.

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The Baker House (ca. 1792): The front of the main house faces south, a feature of a traditional Cape, and is perched on a slight terrace above a wetland meadow. A millstone serves a step and intricate carvings adorn the framing of the door.

 

My research of the “Cape Cod lifestyle” began before even arriving to the Baker-Biddle site. The readings I completed the week prior told of a rugged landscape that slowly morphed over centuries into the vacation destination recognized today. Once off Route 6, thick scrub oak-pine forests enclose pocketed, sandy drives; as one moves through, Cape houses of various ages peek out of thin openings in the vegetation. It takes a far stretch of the imagination to see the land that David Baker Jr., who built the Baker-Biddle main house, saw when he settled on Bound Brook Island in 1792. He saw cleared land, farms, and an active shoreline. A century and a half later, life on the Cape shifted from homesteads to the seasonal retreats of artists and intellectuals – Jack Hall included. By the time the Biddles called Bound Brook Island (by then, no longer an island) home, forests had replaced fields and gardens contained flowers and ornamentals rather than crucial subsidence for the family. I knew what to expect at the end of the swooping drive to the Baker-Biddle site, but I did not know how I would find it or what had faded into the past.

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Debriefing the Inventory Team: Bill Burke (center, with brimmed hat) explains the history of the site to the group in the shade of a large tree-of-heaven. Behind him is the north façade of the main house.

 

The connection of research-knowledge to experiential, firsthand-knowledge requires you to retell stories in your head. What was this? What was it before? And, why? I found the arrangement of the structures, buildings, and components of the landscape most interesting, because of the intention evident behind the spatial organization. Cleared of objects and all evidence of habitation, at times the site felt barren; nevertheless, there were many moments while in the space providing an ephemeral quality of place – immeasurable even by photograph.

When Jack Hall arranged the outbuildings, and later when the Biddles renovated them to conform to their lifestyle, great attention was given to tiny details that prevail today. We found many of these examples while inventorying the site. A mature catalpa growing from a private patio off the back of the Randolf Biddle Cottage engulfs the converted barn in a veil of privacy. An arbor in a garden hedge, overgrown with wisteria and honeysuckle, continues to create a passage from the main house lawn to the formal garden Katherine Biddle so lovingly maintained. Jack Hall’s reinvented whaling shed peaks out from the west side of the home, where in-between a brick patio shows signs of frequent use – for possibly both relaxation and lively gatherings. From the south side of the house, an overgrown meadow must have held gardens or pastures – possibly during the Bakers’ time, offered a clean view to Duck Harbor and the vats of their saltworks. These snip-its of the landscape anchor themselves in stories from the past – the inventory began to solidify and verify the many tales of Bound Brook Island.

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Remnants of Katherine’s Gardens: Little remains of the Biddles’ formal garden, which was located to the north of the main house and extended up the hillside. A brick-lined pebble path circled an elaborate ornamental planting.

 

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Bill Burke, Cape Cod National Seashore Historian and Cultural Resource Program Manager, joined us during the site visit and provided interpretation and narrative, which helped to animate the stagnant aspects of the landscape. By incorporating specific research to the general Cape Code narrative, Bill described the history of the place as it was experienced by the inhabitants. We engaged in a historical photograph activity, which tasked teams to identify the location where historic scenes occurred and to recreate them to match the photographs provided. Although the heat of the day wore on us, the team discovered the photos’ locations and reenacted the (sometimes comical) scenes – family gatherings, lounging in the garden, a candid action shot, and even feeding some goats.

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Photograph Scavenger Hunt: Nearly a half-century prior, a lively group posed for a photo in front of the Delight Cottage. Since then, much has changed.

None of the photos depicted the homestead during the Bakers time prompting me to reflect on what I would have seen if such photographs existed. Bound Brook Island provided the Bakers ‘farmstead living,’ a means to survive, and a base for a functional, devoted lifestyle. I imagine Thankful Baker laboring day after day to tend to the needs of her large family, and David Baker returning to his wife after weeks on his packet vessel, but always relieved to find his children working on the saltworks and gristmill. The Cape Cod aesthetics that today we recognize for their sentimental qualities – millstones, split-rail fences, crushed shell drives, and weathered cedar siding –  lacked no amount of functionality 200 years ago and carried a far greater weight.

Jack Hall’s head swirled with modernist designs and Bauhaus architectural theory during his occupancy on Cape Cod; nonetheless, his passion for authentic, resourcefully constructed Cape Cod homesteads prevails in the modifications he made on the Baker-Biddle site. The Baker-Biddle home anchored him to Cape Cod and, conversely, allowed him to engage in the intellectual society prominent during the mid-twentieth century. The modern houses Hall designed, like the Hatch Cottage that we visited during the trip, reflects an intentional, deliberate organization of space and functionality. He incorporated this organization, prior, in the way he developed the Baker-Biddle site. Adjacent to the main house, he sited a guest cottage (Delight Cottage); to the north, he placed a barn to be used for his hobby farm; and nearer to the drive, he rebuilt a barn that housed his studio. I journeyed through the Baker-Biddle homestead, just as I had the Hatch Cottage just a day before: feeling an intimate validation of space to its use. The site is cohesive and complete. Additionally, it lends a feeling of expanse and vastness; I cannot imagine living there alone, as Jack did; so, I trust he was the host to many social gatherings, just as the Biddles had in the years following his occupancy.

As the site’s final owners, the Biddles sought to live their golden years (well, just the warm seasons) in the place they could find both respite and entertainment. The Biddles prominent social influence brought numerous “grand…large, and lavish” parties to their residence. However, Katherine and Francis Biddle also allocated a large portion of their time on Cape Cod to a collection of literary novels and poems, which they composed in their barn ‘writing studio.’ Although hardly recognizable today as a formal garden from where Katherine would have gazed out her studio’s window, the landscape is no less than inspiring. I am amazed at how quickly, 50 years, the succession of vegetation in Cape Cod reverts landscape back into wild – a transformation frequently noted by Thoreau during his visits to the Cape.

The Baker-Biddle site prepares to enter a fourth era of occupancy, in a culmination of visitation and adoption as a part of Cape Cod. With its transfer to the National Parks Service, the homestead was spared by the culturally destructive forces of subdivision, and protects a window into the evolving lifestyle of Cape Code settlers.

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An Old Road Trace: A popular Bound Brook Island road passed to the west of the homestead, but presents today as only a grassy trail through the forest. We found wooden posts along the trace that marks out a fence line.

 

So, Baker-Biddle site? What lies ahead for you?

That is the conversation on the table, often followed by the inquiry of ‘how?’ An inevitable side effect of time includes not just our changes to the landscape, but also the changes and maturation of the land independently. Duck Harbor is gone, the vibrant fishing industry dried up, and the Baker’s parcel (once 180 acres total) has been reduce to a mere 10 acres. These changes add challenge to the interpretation and reenactment of history.

I left the Baker-Biddle homestead inspired by the essential ruggedness only found in the Cape Cod National Seashore – whether you fought it for your survival, you explored it with creative vigor, or sought it as your haven. Tomorrow (figuratively) we seek to balance the site’s future between remnants of the past and tangible narratives of today.

Until next time,

Jill

Jordan Davis Blog Post

San Juan Island National Historical Park (SAJH) was established on September 9, 1966 by the U.S. Congress in Public Law 89-565 for “… the purpose of interpreting and preserving the sites of the American and English camps on [San Juan] island, and of commemorating the historic events from 1853 to 1871 on the island in connection with the final settlement of the Oregon Territory dispute, including the so-called Pig War of 1859…” Additionally known for its spectacular views, natural landscapes, and wildlife, San Juan Island is an important site in the history of the United States, British Columbia/Canada, and international politics more broadly.

In recent years, the SAJH has grown to expand upon its founding mandate. With the installment and dedication of a Reefnet Captain Totem Pole and two Salmon Story Boards on August 25, 2016, representatives of the Lummi Nation and the Saanich First Nation returned to an ancestral village site known as Pe’pi’ow’elh, now located within the northernmost “English Camp” unit of the San Juan Island National Historical Park. And while I spend most of my time at the park’s southernmost “American Camp” unit, my first visit to Pe’pi’ow’elh sparked my own interest the importance of the park’s contemporary responsibilities to the region’s Native American communities. Collaborative relationships to safeguard the many cultural, natural, and often painful landscapes of the San Juan Islands, nevertheless, are not merely efforts to “diversify” a set of mid-20th century interpretative themes for various publics. Rather, as I have come to appreciate during my short time here, these events are part of an ongoing process of cultural revitalization, education, and healing from the past and current traumas of colonialism.

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On June 22, 2017, I was honored to attend a “Coast Salish Cultural Day” event at Pe’pi’ow’elh (English Camp) at the beginning of my CRDIP internship. Taking a short canoe outing in the waters of Garrison Bay with representatives of the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, the Samish Indian Nation, and other Coast Salish tribes and nations, the notion of collaborative stewardship took on a completely new meaning. Being present with Coast Salish Elders, families and youth; community members and visitors to the island; and my park colleagues at the close of the day’s celebration has been one of the highlights of my experience as a CRDIP intern thus far.

For additional information on the interpretive themes of the San Juan Island National Historical Park, visit the park’s website. Additionally, see Daniel E. Coslett and Manish Chalana’s 2016 essay “National Parks for New Audiences: Diversifying Interpretation for Enhanced Contemporary Relevance” in The Public Historian, Volume 38, Number 4, pages 101-108. Information on the aforementioned events can be found at indiancountrymedianetwork.com.

The Enderts Beach Coastal Plain

The Enderts Beach Coastal
Plain

by: Aleck Tan

My name is Aleck Tan and I am serving as a Cultural Resource Management intern at Redwood National Park in Orick, California. For my internship, I am creating an archaeological report on the cultural landscape of the Enderts Beach Coastal Plain area in Crescent City, California. The Enderts Beach Coastal Plain is unique in that it does not allow for ground surveying and excavations easily, since it consists of heavy brush and grass. There are some piles of dirt here and there that I can examine for cultural resources, but for the large part, there’s not much that I can see from the ground.

Because I can’t see much from the ground, I am focusing on researching historical imagery, maps, and documents to create the survey report. I am examining old aerial photographs and historic maps to see where cultural resources were located before. I am also working with the Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Nation, one of the Native American tribes in the area, to discuss their cultural resources. On June 13th, I went out with a group of tribe members to walk on the beach, and talk about their marine resources.

Another aspect of the project is researching and mapping vegetation, because there might be patterns that show historic cultural resources, which is unique in my opinion. Usually, archaeological surveys focus on what we see in the dirt, rather than what we see growing on top of the dirt. I’ve done a similar vegetation study before, where I examined vegetation at an ancient Maya community in Belize to detect causeways, but not to this project’s extent.

For this project, I have to be very familiar with the background of the plants because they might have been planted there before for certain reasons. In order for me to know more about the vegetation, I went out on June 14th with a NPS plant ecologist for a vegetation field tour, which was very informative. We walked around my study area to identify native and invasive plants and to collect samples for plant pressing and identification. One of the plants of interest is the invasive rose, which only grows and stays where it is planted. I am studying the patterns of these planted rose bushes, among other types of vegetation, to see if they might indicate some sort of boundary or cultural resource. For example, the rose bushes might line up with an old wagon road or an old fence line, but I will have to see when I map them out in the field.

I’m excited to see how mapping vegetation might indicate cultural resources, and look forward to sharing what I find.

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My study area is Enderts Beach in Crescent City, California. More often than not, days are gloomy and foggy, so when there is a sunny day, everyone takes advantage of it and goes to the beach or the river.  I enjoy both the foggy cold days, and the bright sunny days, and still go to many of the beaches around here either way.

For my survey project, I am looking at both the beach and the coastal plain that is located right above the beach. It is a dream to survey right near the beach where you can hear the waves crashing and feel the cold ocean breeze.

June 13, 2017 – Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Marine Resources Field Tour with tribe members.

June 13, 2017 – Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Marine Resources Field Tour with tribe members.

June 14, 2017 - Vegetation Field Tour with NPS Archaeologist and NPS Plant Ecologist

June 14, 2017 – Vegetation Field Tour with NPS Archaeologist and NPS Plant Ecologist

June 15, 2017 – Pressing plants for preservation and identification. The plant ecologist suggested I press plants so that I can keep them for the future and use them to help with identification when I am out in the field.

June 15, 2017 – Pressing plants for preservation and identification. The plant ecologist suggested I press plants so that I can keep them for the future and use them to help with identification when I am out in the field.

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