HISTORIC & ARCHITECTURAL CONTEXTS FOR THE EVALUATION OF SIGNIFICANCE OF AFRICAN AMERICAN DWELLINGS ON HUNTERSVILLE ROAD IN WEEKSVILLE, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK Client:  Society for the Preservation of Weeksville Team:   Neil Larson Date:    June 2004 Four small wood frame houses on the old 17th-century Hunterfly Road in  Bedford-Stuyvesant are the lone survivors of Brooklyn's rural landscape and the African American community of Weeksville that developed there in the 1840s on the fringe of the expanding New York metropolis.  As part of a documentation project to nominate the property a National Historic Landmark, LFA developed historic and architectural contexts and prepared an assessment to determine the authenticity of the buildings and their unusual siting.  In particular, the report addressed the question as to how the oldest of these buildings (c. 1830) appeared on its site and how it and its neighbors survived the relentless expansion of Brooklyn's urban grid.  The project was funded by a technical services grant by NYSCA's Architecture Planning & Design Program. STATE-WIDE CONTEXT STUDY FOR THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD IN MASSACHUSETTS Cambridge, Massachusetts Client: Massachusetts Historical Commission/National Park Service Team:  Kathryn Grover & Neil Larson Date:   May 2004 This context study was done to assist in identifying extant historic resources in Massachusetts that are associated with the presence, movement, and assistance of fugitives from American slavery and to provide a historic overview to assess their significance in historical, social, and cultural contexts.  It also included models to help in the preparation of nominations of Underground Railroad resources to the State and National Registers of Historic Places and the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.  LFA was the architectural history consultant and registration specialist for the project and assisted the project leader, Kathryn Grover, in assessing historic resources and developing architectural sections of nomination forms. The project team wrote a model National Register Nomination Form using the Dorsey- Jones House in the Florence section of Northampton as a resource example.  The house was built in 1849 for Basil Dorsey, a fugitive slave who settled in Massachusetts following a celebrated court case in Pennsylvania that denied his owner's representative custody of him.  Dorsey sold the house to Thomas H. Jones in 1854.  Jones was also a fugitive slave who was a vocal abolitionist who traveled throughout New England telling the story of his experiences.  He published his accounts to raise money in the hopes of buying the freedom of a son who remained enslaved. A model National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Nomination Form (NPS) was written using the Joshua Bowen Smith House at 79 Norfolk St., Cambridge (pictured above).  Smith was a fugitive slave who worked in the Boston restaurant trade and helped many fugitives find safe havens in the city.  He was a prominent figure in the abolitionist movement and became a successful caterer.  He moved into the Cambridge house in 1852 and lived there until his death in 1879.   CITY OF MEDFORD COMMUNITY-WIDE SURVEY PLAN Medford, Middlesex County, Mass. Client:  Medford Historical Comm. Team:  Neil Larson Date:   September 2010 The City of Medford is one of the "outer towns" spread around the periphery of Boston.  The newly reconstituted Medford Historical Commission wanted to establish survey priorities in this dense and diverse urban community.  The Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) contracted with LFA to assist the commission in this effort.  Neil Larson made a reconnaissance survey of the city's six neighborhoods (a seventh had served as a study area for a survey class at Boston University's New England Studies Program) and provided overviews of their development histories and architectural characteristics.  Then, in consultation with historical commission members and MHC drafted a city-wide survey plan and provided recommendations for prioritizing different areas and resource types in a survey program.  Success can be measured by the fact that the city has received their first survey and planning grant from MHC and a commitment from the city to budget for the match.  THE JONATHAN HASBROUCK HOUSE   Newburgh, Orange County, New York Client:  Hasbrouck Family Association, New Paltz, NY Team:   Neil Larson and Annie O'Neil,              Shawangunk Graphics Date:    October 2000 In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Washington Headquarters State Historic Site and the 250th anniversary of the Hasbrouck family's purchase of the property, the Hasbrouck Family Association funded the research and writing of a short book about the architecture of the building.  Since the site itself is interpreted in the 1782-83 period of George and Martha Washington's occupation, the site staff welcomed a publication addressing the broader history of the distinctive stone house they occupy.  Neil Larson researched and wrote the text, selected the illustrations and directed the design of the book, which has been distributed to libraries and historical organizations in the region as well as offered for sale in area bookstores.   SURVEY AND ASSESSMENT OF HISTORIC RESOURCES OF THE DELAWARE & HUDSON CANAL Town of Mamakating, Sullivan County, NY Client:  Town of Mamakating Team:   Neil Larson and Jill Fisher (LFA) Date:    December 2001 This survey of a 15-mile corridor provided critical planning information for one of the Town's major assets--the D& H Canal.  There was a general idea that something should be done to improve the resource, but a lack of information about its condition, land ownership, where trails could be extended, and the extent and significance of associated historic resources.  The plan provided parcel- by-parcel data, suitable for integration with GIS programs, with photographic documentation of conditions and significance statements for the canal as a whole as well as for adjacent villages and hamlets.  A recommendation section provided succinct direction for future improvements that galvanized the community into making the most of opportunities along the canal, including trail enhancement and interpretation. HAWKINS - MOUNT HOMESTEAD: OPTIONS FOR FIRE PROTECTION & FLOOR LOAD ASSESSMENT Stony Brook, Long Island, Suffolk Cty., NY Client:   Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages Team:   Jill Fisher & Neil Larson Date:     April 2003 The historic Hawkins-Mount Homestead is located in the Town of Brookhaven on Long Island and contains portions that date to the 18th century. The original house has been expanded a number of times, with at least one of the additions being a building moved to the site.  The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in October 1966, one of the first listings after the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.  This two- part study addressed two important separate but related issues.  Part I addressed the issue of fire protection for both the house and barn.  Consideration of having a sprinkler system installed in order to assure its protection in case of fire spurred the need for a broader evaluation of fire prevention/protection methods. The study included a survey of how other organizations responsible for historic structures and artifacts address these same fire protection issues.  Part I provided a solid foundation for decisions about fire protection and related it to the potential future uses of the building.  Part II of the report focused on structural problems, in particular the limitations on floor loading, that could affect both its use and long-term preservation.  This information was key to making plans for ultimate use of the facility.  Part II also provided cost estimates for all recommended corrective measures. HISTORIC PRESERVATION BROCHURE Town & Village of New Paltz, Ulster County, NY  Client:   Historic Preservation Commissions, Town & Village of New Paltz Team:   Jill Fisher Date:     August 2005 Following up on the completion of historic resource surveys on the Town and Village of New Paltz, an eight-page brochure was developed to provide the owners of historic properties with a view of the results of the study, as well as provide publicity for the historic preservation commissions and their role in community planning.  Copies of the full-color publication were made available through numerous outlets in the town and village.
Project Examples SPECIAL PROJECTS