cultural resource compliance training


US Army Dugway Proving Ground was established in Utah by the Chemical Warfare Service for the testing of biological and chemical weaponry in 1942, to ensure the Allies had equal capabilities to the Axis powers. VCHP developed a comprehensive historic context and evaluated all facilities at the Proving Ground to provide recommendations on NRHP eligibility. The NRHP assessment work was also incorporated into the Integrated Cultural Resource Management Plan for the installation. In subsequent projects, VCHP evaluated the test ranges for NRHP eligibility, documented the archaeological remains of Japanese Village and provided documentation of four historic properties at the Army facility based on Historic American Building Survey standards as negotiated with the Utah State Historic Preservation Office.


VCHP developed preservation plans for four Indian Health Service Area Offices (Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, and Tucson), which encompassed buildings in both rural and urban settings, a wide variety of vernacular and formal building styles, historic districts and individual buildings, and different building types (hospitals, residences, offices). For each district or building, VCHP developed a plan that included an historic context, identified their character-defining features, and provided an assessment of their existing conditions. The plans also include long and short-term recommendations for the maintenance and preservation of the historic properties and districts.


VCHP developed campus historic preservation plans for both the University of New Mexico (1889) and New Mexico State University (1888 – land grant institution). The VCHP team analyzed the historic development of the campus, the history of campus planning at the academic institution, important landscapes and buildings, and identified character-defining features and preservation approaches for the campuses. Under both contracts, VCHP worked with building committees and student survey data to complete the project. Other projects at these institutions included an historic structure report for the YMCA building at New Mexico State University and an historic building walking tour for the University of New Mexico.


The TRESTLE was a Cold War structure built in 1979 at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. The TRESTLE was designed to test aircraft for electromagnetic pulse (EMP) in a simulated high altitude environment. The VCHP team completed HAER Level I documentation and creative mitigation of the enormous structure. The documentation included a mylar drawing set, a written history and large format photographs. The 15 story, 1,000 foot long structure was documented using LIDAR and transcribing the data into line drawings. In addition a 3-D model was created for animation use in a 40 minute DVD documentary that features the engineering, design and construction of the facility, interviews with designers and test staff, as well as technical data on why it was needed and how the testing worked.


Hobbs Army Airfield was constructed in 1942 as a training base for the B-17. The VCHP team completed a technical report on the history of the base including the development of the field, the architectural and social environment, its relationship to the town of Hobbs as well as its World War II training mission. Because there were remains of the buildings on the ground, the technical report included archaeological documentation completed by our team. Oral histories of community members who served at the base or remembered the effect the base had on Hobbs were collected. The data from the technical report and oral histories was developed into a glossy, popular report with many graphics to illustrate Hobbs Army Airfield. The popular report won a State of New Mexico historic preservation award for public history outreach.


In early 1944, the Army Air Corps Proving Ground Command at Eglin Field in Florida was assigned the task of developing tactics and weapons to attack German launch targets for the V-1 rocket. The test site was called Operation Crossbow, and the VCHP team documented its historic remains. The Operation Crossbow Historic District is comprised of four discontiguous target sites consisting of 15 buildings and structures. The project also included developing an amended National Register nomination form for the Crossbow resources.


Picturesque Villa Philmonte was built between 1926 and 1927 to serve as the summer home of Oklahoma millionaire, Waite Phillips. The 22-room villa, designed in Spanish Mediterranean style, was a favorite retreat for the Phillips family and friends for 15 years, until Waite donated the property to the Boy Scouts in 1941 (complete with all the furnishings). The complex includes many materials and features from Europe, multiple buildings, courtyards and a formal landscape. The VCHP team prepared a preservation plan for the ornate, stylistically eclectic complex, designed by Edward Beuhler Delk. The landscape was designed by Hare & Hare. The preservation plan documents the history, alterations, character-defining features and provided recommendations for preservation of the complex.


In 1896 Gifford Pinchot was appointed to the National Forest Commission. Under Pinchot’s watch, the Choctawhatchee National Forest was established on 27 November 1908. In 1910, Inman F. Eldredge, first forest supervisor, established Camp Pinchot as the forest headquarters. In 1940 the land was transferred to the military and the buildings have been used as housing since then. The area is now a recognized historic district. It consists primarily of wood frame and clapboard houses and supporting buildings, and one structural clay tile building (the largest residential structure). VCHP developed a preservation plan for the Camp Pinchot Historic District at Eglin Air Force Base. In addition to buildings, the district also incorporates an archaeological site and a cultural landscape. The preservation plan includes the history, documented character-defining features, existing conditions, and provided recommendations for repair.


The Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, plays a significant role in providing leadership excellence among non-commissioned officers in the U.S. Army. Although men who have achieved the rank of Sergeant Major have played a critical role in the military since the Revolutionary War and have served as Army Chiefs of Staff, there was not a formal academic building/campus for them until 1987. Significant effort was put into the design and construction of the facility with the goal to create a special place in part modeled after other military academies. The building was designed by Fouts, Gomez, Moore Architects in El Paso and was designed to be a modern oasis in the desert. The interior of the complex is lushly landscaped while the exterior xeriscaped. The buildings maintain a formal architectural rhythm while incorporating a modern asymmetry. The architects also used the early techniques of daylighting to provide natural light to the interior, while avoiding the effects of a harsh El Paso sun. VCHP completed a National Register nomination form and a glossy, popular report about the Sergeants Major role in the military and the architectural design of the academy.

The field of historic preservation includes a wide variety of facets that relate to the identification, evaluation, and treatment of cultural resources, and assorted components of these activities. VCHP prides itself on having a staff with the experience to address all of these various activities and provide guidance and expertise to our clients in order to successfully reach their project goals. VCHP conducts projects to survey, identify, and record all types of historic properties—historic buildings and structures, archaeological and ethnographic resources, and traditional cultural properties—in order to evaluate their significance for the National Register of Historic Places. We also have the experience to follow-up on this evaluation by preparing National Register nomination forms.

A critical aspect to identifying and evaluating historic properties is the preparation of a carefully crafted historic context, which relates the historical background, themes and types of properties significant to a particular historic era. VCHP has written numerous historic contexts for a variety of resources and historical periods. Our staff has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to produce a meaningful and useful historic context that is thorough enough to properly evaluate the historic properties within the project area, and yet stay within our client's budget and time schedule.

VCHP also has the expertise and experience to document historic buildings, structures, and cultural landscapes using standards developed by the National Park Service through their HABS, HAER, and HALS programs.

Finally, VCHP has the experience and skills to offer our clients "creative mitigation" strategies that not only meet the regulatory requirements, but provide an added value of public history to the project results. Most often, these products consist of "popular" brochures and reports or professionally designed posters and displays, but VCHP has also directed the production of videos to highlight a project's contribution to history. All of these products are designed to inform the general public and provide for them an appreciation of the history associated with the resource.