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With Heritage So Rich (1999)
WITH HERITAGE SO RICH
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich
NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION
Special Committee on Historic Preservation
United States Conference of Mayors
Albert Rains
CHAIRMAN
Laurance G. Henderson
DIRECTOR
PRESERVATION BOOKS
Preservation Books
National Trust for Historic Preservation
1785 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, chartered by
Congress in 1949, is a private nonprofit organization dedicated
to protecting the irreplaceable. It fights to save historic buildings
and the neighborhoods they anchor. Through education and
advocacy, the National Trust is revitalizing communities across
the country and challenges citizens to create sensible plans for
the future.
Support is provided by membership dues, endowment funds,
individual, corporate, and foundation contributions, and grants
from state and federal agencies. For information about member-
ship, write to the Trust at the above address.
Copyright © 1999 National Trust for Historic Preservation in the
United States
All rights reserved. Published 1966; reprinted 1983 and 1999
Printed in the United States of America
United States Conference of Mayors Special Committee on
Historic Preservation.
Preparation of the original report of the Special Committee on
Historic Preservation was supported by a grant from the Ford
Foundation.
The 1999 reprint was made possible through the generous sup-
port of Mrs. Patrick Healy III.
Originally published: New York: Random House, 1966.
ISBN 0-89133-396-7
Original design by Hubert W. Leckie
Cover Design of 1999 edition by Brian Noyes, National Trust
for Historic Preservation.
CONTENTS
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Richard Moe 6
INTRODUCTION Charles B. Hosmer, Jr. 9
FOREWORD Lady Bird Johnson 17
PREFACE Albert Rains and Laurance G. Henderson 19
EMPIRE FOR LIBERTY Sidney Hyman 23
IMAGES OF TRADITION George Zabriskie 53
OUR LOST INHERITANCE Carl Feiss 113
WINDOW TO THE PAST George Zabriskie 123
LANDMARKS OF BEAUTY AND HISTORY Christopher Tunnard 131
"PROMOTED TO GLORY ... " Walter Muir Whitehill 137
THE RIGHT OF CITIES TO BE BEAUTIFUL Walter Muir Whitehill 149
DEATH MASK OR LIVING IMAGE? Helen Duprey Bullock 161
TRAVELERS TO OLYMPUS Richard H. Howland 171
EUROPE PROTECTS ITS MONUMENTS Robert R. Garvey, Jr. 177
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Special Committee on Historic Preservation 189
NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT OF 1966, AS AMENDED 199
CONTRIBUTORS 239
PHOTOGRAPH CREDITS 241
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Richard Moe
WNWITH HERITAGE So R1cH WAS FIRST PUBLISHED 33
years ago, Historic Preservation editor Helen Duprey Bullock noted that its title came from the "Prayer for the
Nation" in the Book ofCommon Prayer. That kind of religious connection might not be considered politically cor-
rect today, but in the case of this particular book it has an undeniable appropriateness: If any secular publication
can rightly claim to be the Bible of the contemporary American preservation movement, it is this one.
That compelling fact underscores our decision to reissue
With Heritage So Rich as part of our commemoration of the
National Trust's 50th anniversary in 1999. This landmark vol-
ume - a particularly fitting description in this case - has
been out of print for many years. I am proud that the National
Trust, with the generous assistance of Martha Ann Healy
(whose late husband, Patrick Healy, was a consultant to the
Special Committee that produced the original report), can now
make it possible for a new generation of preservationists to
learn from it and be inspired by it.
In composing their report and recommendations for a
strengthened national commitment to the preservation of
6
America's cultural heritage, the members of the Special
Committee on Historic Preservation of the U.S. Conference of
Mayors produced a document that is lucid, concise and vision-
ary. It is also beautifully written. A reader doesn't expect to
find thoughtfully crafted, compelling prose - not to mention
poetry - in a committee report, but both are here. The open-
ing paragraph in Sidney Hyman's essay entitled "Empire for
Liberty" says just about all there is to say about the importance
of preservation as a means of keeping a people's shared mem-
ory intact. An array of luminous black-and-white photographs
conveys a clear sense of the marvelous diversity of our legacy
from the past and the tragedy of its loss. Accompanying and
illuminating the photos is a masterful prose-poem, "Images of
Tradition," in which George Zabriskie captures in just 18 syl-
lables the spreading urban desolation that helped spur the
Special Committee's work:
In parking lots,
cold-flecked with chrome,
the empty badlands
of the cities grow.
Despite the richness of its words and images, the true sig-
nificance of With Heritage So Rich derives less from what it
says than from what it accomplished. The report was pub-
lished in January of 1966. Just a few months later, when
Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act
(NHPA), nearly every major recommendation in the report
was translated into law. The primary components of the struc-
ture of today's preservation movement - the creation of the
National Register of Historic Places and the President's
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the development
of a nationwide network of state historic preservation offices
and the provision of federal appropriations to support their
work; the implementation of federal tax credits for rehabilita-
tion of historic buildings (recommended by the Special
Committee, but not enacted until 1976) - all of these grew
out of the 1966 legislation. Perhaps most important, the NHPA
represented an unprecedented codification of the govern-
ment's commitment - expressed in law and eventually
backed up with procedures and regulations - to historic
preservation as a matter of federal policy.
In every sense, 1966 was a transcendental year for historic
preservation, and the foundation for all that followed was laid
with the publication of With Heritage So Rich. That's why the
report is much more than a dusty historic relic of interest only
to archivists. This is not a dead document. Like the legislation
and the movement it spawned, it is very much alive.
If the authors of this report were given the opportunity to
evaluate today's preservation movement in light of the recom-
mendations made by the Special Committee more than three
decades ago, would they be pleased by what they would find?
For the most part, I think they would. They could hardly help
but be gratified by the extent to which the legislative and pol-
icy structure they envisioned has been realized, of course. But
I think they'd be equally impressed to find that the preserva-
tion movement itself has matured into something very like
what they hoped it would become.
It's worth remembering that With Heritage So Rich was
produced in an atmosphere of crisis. The mid- l960s marked
7
------ -- -"~---- ,.____,.._
the heyday of interstate highway construction and urban
renewal, when landmark buildings - even entire neighbor-
hoods - were being ruthlessly swept away in a misguided
pursuit of "progress." Against a dispiriting backdrop of wreck-
ing-balls and rubble, members of the Special Committee
called on Americans to broaden their vision of what preserva-
tion really is, or could be. In the section of the report headed
"Findings and Recommendations" appears this thoughtful
passage:
If the preservation movement is to be successful, it must
go beyond saving bricks and mortar. It must go beyond sav-
ing occasional historic houses and opening museums. It
must be more than a cult of antiquarians. It must do more
than revere a few precious national shrines. It must attempt
to give a sense of orientation to our society using structures
and objects of the past to establish values of time and place.
To a gratifying extent, the Special Committee's wish-list for
preservation's future has become reality over the past three
decades. The men and women who make up today's preserva-
tion movement are definitely not "a cult of antiquarians."
Today's preservationist is someone who wants to improve the
quality of life in his or her own community; someone who is
concerned about the rootlessness and erosion of community
that threaten the very foundations of our society; someone
who wants to maintain a connection with the past, who feels
the need for a tangible link with something real and lasting and
meaningful.
It comes down to this: Preservation today is more than just
buildings. It's about creating and enhancing environments that
support, educate and enrich the lives of all Americans. Just as
has been the case ever since Ann Pamela Cunningham rallied
American women to save Mount Vernon in the 1850s, preser-
vation today is rooted firmly in an appreciation of the value of
history and tradition, but it is no longer concerned primarily
with the past. It is essential to the quality of our life here and
now, just as the authors of With Heritage So Rich hoped it
would be.
But if this book is a visionary blueprint for the future, it is
also a sobering record of the mistakes and follies of the past.
In the January/February 1966 issue of Historic Preservation,
Helen Duprey Bullock noted the overriding message of the
Special Committee's report: "From chapter to chapter the fact
emerges...that as a nation we have been profligate with our
inheritance from the past, and immoral in our responsibilities
to the future."
Sadly, that grim assessment is no less true today. Rapacious
mega-scale programs such as urban renewal and interstate
highway construction may have faded, but other threats, with
equally disastrous consequences for America's historic
resources, have grown up in their place. Perhaps the biggest of
these is sprawl, which devours open space, drains people and
economic life out of traditional neighborhoods and business
districts, and forces communities into a wasteful and fiscally
irresponsible duplication of services and infrastructure in out-
lying areas while older neighborhoods are allowed to deterio-
rate. Even more alarming, a growing body of grim evidence
suggests that sprawl is eroding the very sense of community
that helps bind us together as a people and as a nation.
In 1966 no one could have foreseen that sprawl would
replace urban renewal as the chief threat to the continued liv-
ability ofAmerican communities, just as we cannot know what
new issue will become the crucible in which a future genera-
tion's preservation theories and practices are tested. One thing
we can be sure of: whatever changes may come, the preserva-
8
tion movement must and will adapt itself to them - and the
message of With Heritage So Rich will retain its timeliness.
Building on the foundation laid by the authors of this book
more than three decades ago, American preservationists
helped rewrite government policy, helped modify longstand-
ing patterns of behavior, helped change the way people
thought about our heritage and its value in our lives. Today, as
we continue our efforts to put the brakes on sprawl and
encourage policies that promote smart growth and enhance the
quality of life for everyone, our ranks are swelled by thou-
sands of people who never thought the label "preservationist"
applied to them - people who merely want communities that
work, that are safe, attractive and truly livable.
Working together, we can meet the challenge posed so elo-
quently in With Heritage So Rich: We can inculcate the value
of historic preservation as an ethic. We can change the face of
America for the better.
1999
INTRODUCTION TO THE 1983 EDITION
Charles B. Hosmer, Jr.
''THIS IS Nor A MALL-TO-MALL MAGIC CARPET THAT
will float us to Utopia, but it is the best chart we have ever had to guide us to a better destination." That "chart,"
as described by Editor Helen Duprey Bullock in the January-Februrary 1966 issue of the National Trust magazine,
Historic Preservation, was With Heriage So Rich. In announcing publication of this important new book, Helen
Bullock was cautiously optimistic. Today we are in a much better position to judge its effectiveness as a chart, for
we view it from the vantage point of nearly two decades of increased awareness that the nation's historic
and architectural heritage is indeed rich.
The optimism voiced in 1966 by preservationists such as
Helen Bullock was not premature or unfounded.
Preservationists from private organizations and government
agencies had finally united to propose a program that would
create a means for saving large portions of America's built
environment. The forces of destruction, both private and pub-
lic, had helped forge a union of professionals and amateurs
determined to surpass the accomplishments of European pre-
servers. The blueprint for a revolution was finally set in type.
9
The recommendations offered in With Heritage So Rich
proved to be the basis for the most important preservation law,
the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, to have been
passed in the United States in 30 years- or in the years since
then.
The 1966 act declared that the preservation of America's
irreplaceable historic and architectural heritage was to be the
policy of the nation. Within a decade after 1966, cities and
towns throughout the nation would be affected by new fed-
eral and state preservation activities. Money would be avail-
able for preservation and survey work, much of which would
be administered by newly created state agencies. The de-
fenders of historic buildings would find that they had new
tools and great opportunities. A nationwide network of
trained professionals was at last ready to carry out the task
of preserving America's historic heritage. Never again would
developers and federal planners propose the demolition of
whole neighborhoods without encountering legal restrictions,
hearings, advisory boards and the results of historical sur-
veys. The 1966 act established preservation mechanisms that
are in place today, helping create a national climate for pres-
ervation and saving a rich variety of the nation's heritage.
30-YEAR SYNDROME
When the 1966 act was passed, some preservationists ob-
served that major Jaws addressing the preservation of historic
sites had been passed at 30-year intervals. Each of these
major preservation acts was supported by a study carried out
by private individuals and each, when under consideration,
gave rise to debates about which agency would administer
the new federal program.
The Antiquities Act of 1906, the first law to give the
president the power to proclaim national monuments, was
designed to protect Indian ruins and other scenic and historic
sites located on public lands. But by the early 1930s there
was still no broad federal policy for the identification, admin-
istration and interpretation of historic sites. In 1933 Horace
Albright, the second director of the National Park Service,
helped persuade President Franklin D. Roosevelt to transfer
by executive order all the military parks and national monu-
ments to the Department of the Interior. Late in 1934 Sec-
retary of the Interior Harold Ickes, with the help of John
D. Rockefeller, Jr., hired J. Thomas Schneider, a lawyer,
to make a study for a new law protecting historic sites.
Schneider was expected to do two things at almost the same
time: draft the new preservation law and make a European
trip to gain an understanding of government preservation
practices in other countries. This information was to be em-
bodied in a report to the interior secretary. Schneider pre-
sented to Secretary Ickes a draft of the Historic Sites Act in
January 1935, just before he left for Europe. The bill passed
without substantial changes and was signed into law in the
summer of 1935.
The Historic Sites Act was a great step forward in com-
mitting the Department of the Interior to a program that
went beyond a mere caretaker role. The act authorized the
National Park Service to identify sites of national signifi-
cance; if a site were found to be nationally significant, the
10
secretary of the interior could accept the property into the
National Park Service. The act also provided for a national
survey of historic sites and buildings to be used to assist a
new advisory board in the selection and administration of
historic sites. It also authorized the secretary of the interior
to accept or acquire properties and proclaim them National
Historic Sites. At the same time Congress created a National
Park Service Trust Fund, which permitted private donations
for the support of historical activities on government prop-
erty. However, no large sum was appropriated for the pur-
chase of such areas. Individual congressional appropriations
provided for some acquisitions; other sites were donated or,
in a few instances, taken from public lands.
The projected national survey was a limited predecessor
of the National Register of Historic Places, created by the
1966 act. During the brief life of the program (until its re-
vival in the 1950s), the survey studies, carried out by a staff
of four historians, were generally limited to sites proposed by
members of Congress. After World War II started in Europe,
priorities shifted. All Park Service appropriations had to go
into projects already under way or into maintenance activi-
ties; no more money was available for locating potentially
important historic sites.
During the 1940s the National Park Service was unable
to carry out any survey work, major restoration or acquisi-
tion of historic properties except where prewar appropriations
were still available. Interested people inside the Department
of the Interior, most notably Chief Historian Ronald F. Lee,
began to press for the creation of an organization to promote
preservation, an American National Trust modeled after the
National Trust in Britain. In 1949 Congress chartered the
National Trust for Historic Preservation to lead the private
preservation movement. The National Trust soon undertook
programs in education, property management, field services
and publications. Under the early leadership of Frederick L.
Rath, Jr., and Helen Bullock, the Trust became a symbol for
preservationists throughout the United States, but the organi-
zation's limited financial resources made travel and educa-
tional work difficult.
In the 1950s, despite the National Trust's meager re-
sources, a new interest in historic preservation began to
sweep across the nation. It was the decade of the cities.
Although important municipal historic district ordinances had
been enacted in the 1930s, only a few cities in the South and
West were able to create preservation programs before World
War II. Starting with Beacon Hill in Boston in the early
1950s, the interest in creating historic districts and landmarks
commissions grew steadily in all parts of the country. The
National Park Service, under Conrad Wirth, reentered the
mainstream of preservation with Mission 66, a 10-year pro-
gram for upgrading park facilities through which the poten-
tial of the Historic Sites Act could finally be realized. As a
result, the Historic American Buildings Survey, created in
1933 but dormant since 1941, was resurrected. A National
Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings, covering 22 themes
in American history, started again in the late 1950s with an
adequate staff. In 1960 the secretary of the interior began
designating selected buildings and sites as National Historic
Landmarks-a direct outcome of the rejuvenated survey.
Much of the money appropriated for Mission 66 went into
improving National Park Service visitor centers, restoring and
maintaining existing park buildings, establishing a master
planning system for each of the parks and sponsoring re-
search. The program was expressly designed to make up for
nearly a decade of neglect, during which the sites so care-
fully identified and restored in the 1930s were permitted to
deteriorate.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s a broader preservation
constituency developed. The easing of cold-war tensions in
the mid-1950s led to a congressional willingness to fund the
National Park Service adequately for the first time in 15
years. As suburbs began to drain the middle class from urban
areas, Americans who remained in cities began to value their
neighborhoods more. In addition, a new interstate highway
program begun during the Eisenhower administration posed a
threat to numerous buildings, because in many cities it called
for roads to be constructed in older neighborhoods. The fed-
eral government itself began to upgrade its own facilities
around the nation, thus threatening architecturally significant
office buildings designed in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The destructive effects of urban renewal programs caused
preservationists to unite to maintain the character of older
towns. Historical administrators and philanthropists saw that
the 1960s might bring tremendous destruction unless a legis-
lative mandate could give preservationists the tools to fight
the new forms of "progress." Uncommitted citizens had to
be won over to the gospel of preservation and conservation.
Attitudes toward preservation were gradually being changed.
Public officials began to think in terms of preserving whole
districts of distinctive buildings rather than isolated individual
landmarks. As a result, preservation was becoming a planning
process with broad ramifications for how American towns
and cities would look and work.
In the fall of 1963, the National Trust and Colonial Wil-
liamsburg, in a conscious effort to gather preservationists
from public and private agencies throughout the United
States, sponsored a national conference on preservation in
Williamsburg. The greatest concern of preservationists was
their weakness in the face of the juggernauts of federal efforts
to improve transportation and to renew decaying cities. The
11
federal government seemed to be working at cross-purposes:
Although the Historic Sites Act called for a federal preserva-
tion program, new initiatives put government officials in the
business of destruction for the sake of "progress." The con-
ferees in Williamsburg called for a broader national historic
sites survey and better planning for urban growth. They dis-
cussed proper restoration practices and the need for pro-
fessional training in the field of historic preservation. The
results of the conference later appeared as Historic Preserva-
tion Today (published in 1966) .
The recommendations contained in Historic Preservation
Today did not fully anticipate a federally funded historical
survey program administered by state agencies. The language
deliberately refers to "historical" buildings, implying that
only sites of considerable importance would be cataloged.
The comments on professional training were equally narrow,
centering mainly on the education of restoration architects.
There remained a need to spell out goals for a new federal
initiative that would broaden preservation beyond the study
of limited historic sites toward the recognition of the larger
national architectural patrimony that existed; that goal would
be accomplished in the recommendations contained in With
Heritage So Rich.
In the summer of 1964, a small group of preservationists
began to push for a new preservation law. Carl Feiss, an
architect and planner with extensive experience in preserva-
tion, enlisted the help of Laurance G. Henderson, a Wash-
ington urban affairs lobbyist. Feiss and Henderson noted that
Rep. Albert Rains (D-Ala.) and Sen. Edmund Muskie (D-
Maine) were especially interested in urban issues and the
need for better planning. Henderson sketched out a plan for
a blue-ribbon committee that would travel to Europe to study
how various governments were handling preservation; the
study would culminate in a published report that would
make possible a major legislative campaign for a new pres-
ervation law in 1966. The timing was perfect. Feiss and
Henderson put together a special committee on historic
preservation that included as chairman Albert Rains (who
was retiring from Congress) ; the National Trust offered staff
support in drafting the initiative for new legislation.
One important ally for the committee was John Gunther,
executive director of the United States Conference of Mayors,
who helped with both financing and planning the trip, sched-
uled for October-November 1965. Money for the travel and
publication of the report came in from Mellon philanthropies
and the Ford Foundation. Robert R. Garvey, Jr., executive
director of the National Trust, had, at a meeting in Poland
to plan the formation of the International Council on Monu-
ments and Sites, made invaluable contacts with preservation
leaders from all over the world, and these associates assisted
in setting up the fall tour for the preservation committee.
Although the pace of activity for the next few months was
hectic for many of those involved, the plan came into clear
focus. The trip to Europe was a great success. While the
majority of the committee members studied English houses,
French palaces and the reconstructed city of Warsaw, Carl
Feiss visited preservation agencies in each country. He found
in The Hague an office that contained an index of every
building considered historically important in the Nether-
lands-a possible precedent for the National Register of His-
toric Places. Gordon Gray, chairman of the Board of Trustees
of the National Trust, became convinced that the need for
preservation legislation in the United States had never been
stronger. George Hartzog, the director of the National Park
Service, saw what European governments were doing to pro-
mote awareness of preservation. He believed that the Na-
tional Park Service would be the ideal federal agency to carry
out a similar program. Each participant became aware of
what broad federal support could do for preservation. As the
committee members sailed home, they discussed the outline
of the report and the legislation that should follow.
Carl Feiss had returned early to work with Helen Bullock
and the authors who had been asked to write the report, now
book length, that was to appear in January 1966. The month
of December was devoted to a concentrated effort to produce
a book that would give readers a clear message: The historic
heritage of the United States deserved greater attention than
it was then getting. The committee argued that the federal
government should be responsible for assisting state and local
governments in cataloging and preserving the cultural heri-
tage reflected in American architecture. The recommenda-
tions made in the report were similar in wording to the His-
toric Preservation Act that Congress passed the next fall.
The committee members and staff discussed the final loca-
tion for the new preservation program in the federal gov-
ernment. Robert Weaver, secretary of housing and urban
development, thought that his office would be the appropriate
place. George Hartzog, equally sure that the National Park
Service should continue to coordinate all federal preserva-
tion efforts, had precedent and professional staff to back up
his claim. In 1906 and again in 1935 the Department of the
Interior had been chosen as the arena for preservation leader-
ship. Carl Feiss, fresh from his visit with the Dutch preserva-
tionists, hoped that the Historic American Buildings Survey,
the newly proposed Advisory Council on Historic Preserva-
tion and the National Register could all be funded as a new
agency to maintain a posture of independence for preserva-
tion work. In the final hours of debate George Hartzog won
another victory for the Park Service: Congress created a new
office within the Interior Department to administer federal
12
archeology and historic preservation programs.
The committee staff met the tight editorial deadlines for
the book, with Helen Bullock and Carl Feiss often serving as
ghost-writers. The publication of With Heritage So Rich in
late January 1966 was cause for celebration, but much work
remained to be done. The legislation had to be shepherded
through both houses of Congress, an effort spearheaded by
Gordon Gray and George Hartzog. At one point Gray had
to plead with Rep. Howard Smith (D-Va.) to get the bill
out of the Rules Committee. In spite of some skirmishes, the
political and cultural climates were ripe for the new law.
Final victory came in October 1966, with the passage of the
National Historic Preservation Act.
DECADE OF DECISION
For preservationists, 1966 was a banner year. Chairman
Gordon Gray's speech at the 1966 annual meeting of the
National Trust was entitled "Decade of Decision." Gray, a
principal actor in the drama that unfolded on Capitol Hill
during the fall of 1966, noted that powerful new legislative
tools had been put into the hands of the preservation com-
munity, but whether these defenses could preserve the most
important historic places in the face of prosperity and growth
was not clear. There was real concern that the 1966 act
would be ignored by preservationists and local officials. State
governments might fail to prepare preservation plans that
would enable them to cooperate with the Department of the
Interior when grant funds became available. But the "Decade
of Decision" had begun. The new preservation program went
through several stages of development: years of financial
starvation with steady building of precedents and organiza-
tion, years of drafting and enacting laws and executive orders
that broadened the scope and power of federal preservation
programs and, most recently, a reevaluation of national pri-
orities in terms of federal funding.
Historians of the preservation movement will certainly
characterize the decade preceding the Bicentennial as one of
growth and accomplishment. The legal mandate and the pro-
fessional resources were much stronger in 1966 than they
had been in 1935. The 1966 act was the product of pros-
perity, based on a concern for the destructive growth ethic
in a society that was losing touch with its past. During this
time many Americans began to question the materialism of
a culture that was ruining its own environment for the pur-
pose of achieving unlimited "progress." The act called for
programs in all of the states with the idea that a true national
survey could be carried out only on the state level under
federal guidelines. The 1935 act had been too limited in its
concentration on sites of national significance. Now "local
significance" was sufficient reason for nominating a building
or a district to the new National Register.
To meet the mandate embodied in the new preservation
law, planners, architects and historians active in preservation
convened a second Williamsburg conference in March 1967
to follow up on the recommendations of the 1963 meeting.
In a report entitled Historic Preservation Tomorrow, the con-
ferees recommended that preservation's scope be extended
to include districts and such diverse sites as industrial build-
ings, gardens, open spaces and interiors. There was a call to
go beyond the proposals of With Heritage So Rich and
recognize that saving the historic built environment of the
United States would be the responsibility of individuals, or-
ganizations and government agencies. The survey proposals
in With Heritage So Rich were fleshed out to include specific
directions for forms, filing and use of survey results. Planning
as a preservation tool had been mentioned in the 1966 book;
the delegates expanded the earlier concept to propose guide-
lines for restoration and maintenance of nonmuseum struc-
tures. The Williamsburg group also mentioned two facets of
education that needed investigation: the training of profes-
sionals (such as architects) and the vital cultivation of public
acceptance of preservation. Clearly, the same people who
had advocated passage of the 1966 act were thinking vigor-
ously about the implications of their legislative victory. With
all their concern for the future of America's historic heritage,
however, none of the preservationists at Williamsburg could
have foreseen the great changes that lay ahead.
Because no federal funding was available for the new pro-
gram until 1968 and 1969, most of the immediate activity
was restricted to the selection of the officials who would ad-
minister the programs opened up by the 1966 act, such as
the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the state
historic preservation officers. The machinery would be in
place when Congress saw fit to appropriate the money neces-
sary for carrying out surveys and distributing preservation
grants. No doubt many wondered if the act had been more
theory than substance.
But the time had come for a truly national preservation
program, and the movement toward a fully funded federal
effort was inevitable. Private preservation efforts were spurred
by the growth in the National Trust membership and by the
surveys mandated through the National Register process.
Preservation was on its way to attracting a vast constituency.
As sites of local significance received more attention, people
across the United States saw that their cultural heritage was
much broader than they had imagined- history was in their
backyards. At the same time, public support for environ-
mental causes grew as environmental projects made it clear
13
that our debt to future generations could not be ignored, in
either the built or the natural environment.
DECADE OF PROGRESS
The National Trust celebrated the Bicentennial in 1976 by
noting how far preservation had come during the decade that
followed passage of the National Historic Preservation Act.
In the foreword to the 1975-76 annual report, Chairman
Carlisle Humelsine, alluding to Gordon Gray's 1966 speech,
enthusiastically reported that the decade just ended was the
"Decade of Progress" for preservation. Indeed, the "national
plan of action" recommended by the special committee in
With Heritage So Rich has largely been achieved in the years
since 1966. A brief comparison of the committee's goals and
the movement's progress in this short time, following, proves
this point.
A comprehensive statement of national policy should be
developed to guide federal activities and programs. To the
clear statement represented by the National Historic Preser-
vation Act of 1966 has been added other legislation protect-
ing historic properties from adverse federal action, such as
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Depart-
ment of Transportation Act of 1966, Executive Order 11593
of 1971, which placed all federal agencies in the position of
inventorying and caring for important buildings under their
administration, and the 1980 amendments to the 1966 act.
The committee urged in 1966 that greater emphasis be
placed on government support of private preservation efforts.
By the mid-1970s, more than 200 programs in 49 federal
agencies were found to support or further preservation proj-
ects; the governments of all states and U.S. territories had
established state historic preservation offices; city and county
governments had created 500 landmarks and historic district
commissions; and many municipalities had started their own
preservation offices or programs. Government support of
preservation continued to grow through 1980, when retrench-
ments throughout the federal government began to cause
reverberations and cutbacks in government preservation pro-
grams at all levels.
An Advisory Council on Historic Preservation should be
established. This council, now an independent agency, has
since 1967 reviewed more than 16,000 cases in which federal
actions posed potential harm to historic sites, in addition to
providing guidance on preservation to the president and
Congress; more than 186,000 federal projects have been
reviewed by the state historic preservation offices.
An expanded National R egister of Historic Places should
be developed. From the late 1960s, when it included only
1,200 properties considered to be of national importance, the
National Register had grown by 1982 to include more than
27,000 listings of local and state as well as national signifi-
cance, including 2,500 districts representing approximately
250,000 individual buildings. State registers now include
additional sites and buildings.
The federal government should acquire threatened sites
of national importance and modify its urban renewal pro-
grams to include preservation activities. The government did
acquire some major historic properties in the late 1960s. It
also set up, through the U.S. Department of the Interior, an
endangered properties program administered by the National
Trust. A turnaround in the national policy on urban renewal
helped reduce the clearance of deteriorated but historic
neighborhoods and evolved into such current programs as
the Community Development Block Grants and Urban De-
velopment Action Grants of the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development, which have been used to aid preser-
vation indirectly.
Federal loans and grants should help expand state and
local preservation programs. Since the first grants-in-aid to
the states were awarded in 1969 by the Interior Department,
more than $275 million has been provided to help the states
survey their historic resources, develop state preservation
plans and aid restoration of individual properties. Additional
funds have been awarded to state and local programs by such
agencies as HUD, the National Endowments for the Arts and
the Humanities and the Institute of Museum Services.
Federal financial aid should be given to the National Trust.
Beginning in 1968, the Trust has received more than $46
million in Interior Department grants-in-aid, which it has
used to assist local projects and support its advisory and
educational programs; in addition, the Trust has sought and
has been awarded specific project grants from other federal
agencies to solve problems ranging from Main Street re-
vitalization to designing new buildings next to old ones.
Not every step recommended by the committee has been
adopted or has been successful, however, since preservation
has not yet achieved the status of a mainstream national
concern. The preservation-sensitive tax policies called for in
1966 were codified on the federal level only in 1976 and
then only for commercial or income-producing properties.
Owners of private historic properties still await a more
preservation-favorable tax climate, although limited state and
local benefits and federal deductions for easement donations
are available. The training of preservation professionals and
architects has not been strengthened through federal aid,
with the exception of such programs as fellowships offered
by the National Endowment for the Arts. Architects, many
of whom now work primarily in rehabilitation because of
14
the slowdown in new construction, still need better guidance
in the special requirements of restoring old buildings. Some
surplus federal historic property, rather than being trans-
ferred to the National Trust as recommended, has been
turned over to local governments and nonprofit organizations
(although even this limited program was suspended in 1981).
Federal matching grants to the National Trust never reached
the balance suggested: two-thirds federal funds, one-third
Trust funds. The federal government did not seek, or was
not asked to accept, the right of first refusal to save "second
category" National Register properties threatened with sale
or demolition.
But in other ways the hopes of the preservationists of the
1960s were realized when, on December 12, 1980, significant
amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act were
signed. Many of the ambiguities in the 1966 law were cleared
up, and the federal-state relationship appeared to become a
more healthy partnership. Local governments were author-
ized to participate in the National Register process, while
state governments were given much clearer standards for
operating their programs. Two significant existing programs
gained legislative definition-the National Historic Land-
marks Program and Executive Order 11593 of 1971, which
was strengthened by the 1980 amendments to require federal
agencies to care for their own historic properties.
Beginning with fiscal year 1982, however-with a new ad-
ministration and new economic climate-the federal budget
requests for the national preservation program and efforts to
change federal protective regulations ushered in a precipitate
reversal of the direction in which the program had been
heading since the 1960s. Interior Department funding for the
state preservation programs and the National Trust was
"zeroed out"-eliminated-in the administration's requests.
Only through the diligent and fast action of the new national
preservation network, supported by preservation friends in
Congress, was the funding saved in 1982 and 1983. Programs
that since the 1960s have indirectly worked to revitalize
buildings, neighborhoods and cities-such as housing, con-
servation, training and economic development-have been
reduced or eliminated. Support for the rehabilitation of com-
mercial property using the federal investment tax credit re-
mains popular; it makes economic sense. But in proposing
cuts in aid to the state preservation offices, which help certify
projects for the tax benefits, even this preservation program
was endangered. The rewriting and dismantling of regulations
meticulously drafted in the past two decades to protect his-
toric and natural landmarks represented another sudden
reversal for preservation.
The preservation community is continually faced with such
challenges. Can programs mandated by law be operated
without money? Can voters be led to see the value of federal
and state grants and tax incentives that spur rehabilitation?
Is preservation securely in the mainstream of American
thinking? But in spite of the public cry for reduced spend-
ing on the federal level, a vast constituency has developed
for preservation just as it has for the conservation of other
scarce resources.
The United States must move from being a consumptive
society toward being a conserving society. Many preservation
leaders are determined to follow that current and convince
the public and government officials that old buildings deserve
consideration as an undervalued resource. Probably there
will be continual debates on the most effective way to direct
the national preservation effort. But the most important con-
sideration will be the maintenance of a broad national con-
sensus on the value of older buildings.
It is wise to pause and look at what the pioneers of the
current preservation movement accomplished, and there is
no more effective way to do this than to reread With Heritage
So Rich, including its specific recommendations. We preser-
vationists can ask ourselves many questions about our own
approach to saving elements of the past as we scan the
examples selected in 1966 to typify America's architectural
heritage. The book's perspective- a natural product of an
era of great prosperity, cheap resources and the presence of
federal programs to eliminate poverty-may seem overly
optimistic to readers today. But the idealism of the 1960s
may fire us to sustain the fight for the historic heritage that
can enrich us all.
One benefit of looking back to the goals of With Heritage
So Rich will certainly be a recognition of how far we have
come. Look at the statistics given to the readers in the 1960s;
the budgets shown for several museums are minimal by the
standards of a later era. Although some of the buildings that
were threatened at the time of the 1966 act are still the
object of preservation efforts, the amount of important
architecture that has been cataloged and protected is im-
pressive. The process of surveying the whole country has
made us more sensitive than ever to humble buildings and to
commercial structures that at one time would not have been
considered a valuable part of our national heritage. Before
15
the mid-1960s the efforts to save buildings and districts had
been mainly an emotional response to specific emergencies
that arose. The authors of With Heritage So Rich placed
historic districts in the forefront of preservation efforts. The
special committee proposed that a "national plan" replace
the heavy dependence on uncoordinated private activity, and
it was correct in asserting that future preservationists would
operate in a new context-government leadership-in an
effort to integrate preservation into the planning process.
The time has come to use this book as a standard to judge
how far we have progressed in coordinating preservation
activities on all levels-local, state and national. We must
face again the difficult decisions about budgets, especially
when confronted with cutbacks in federal expenditures. We
have to assess which agencies are best able to lead the
preservation effort in this country. Some will continue to
question the placement of preservation programs in the
Department of the Interior and the lack of a new preservation
agency. Some of us will look back on the writing of With
Heritage So Rich as a heroic period. We look for public
figures of the stature of Gordon Gray to come forth to lead
the future battles in the halls of Congress, for leaders like
George Hartzog and Ronald Lee of the National Park
Service to build up a clear preservation program in the
federal government, for people with the planning and writing
experience offered by Helen Bullock and Carl Feiss. But a
large number of experienced and trained preservationists are
succeeding them in taking up the cause all over the nation,
challenging all of us to think deeply about a philosophy of
preservation. They know and understand the laws and fed-
eral regulations that have been enacted since 1966. Many of
them participated in the successful effort to amend the His-
toric Preservation Act in 1980. Their victories have been
the result of realistic lobbying and careful drafting of legis-
lation. The work done by the special committee in 1965 and
1966 has provided a firm foundation for preservation. The
members' monuments, to paraphrase Sir Christopher Wren,
are all around us if we only look for them. And if it is indeed
true that major preservation steps have come in 30-year
intervals, then 1996 should portend good things for preser-
vation.
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
FOREWORD
ER TWO YEARS I HAYE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF LIVING
in one of the great historic homes of the United States. Daily the lives of the President and of my whole family
have been affected by tangible mementoes of earlier Chief Executives and their families. The experience has
driven home to me the truth that the buildings which express our national heritage are not simply interesting.
They give a sense of continuity and of heightened reality to our thinking about the whole meaning of the
American past.
I was dismayed to learn from reading this report that
almost half of the twelve thousand structures listed in the
Historic American Buildings Survey of the National Park
Service have already been destroyed. This is a serious loss
and it underlines the necessity for prompt action if we are
not to shirk our duty to the future.
We must preserve and we must preserve wisely. As the
report emphasizes, in its best sense preservation does not
mean merely the setting aside of thousands of buildings as
museum pieces. It means retaining the culturally valuable
17
structures as useful objects: a home in which human beings
live, a building in the service of some commercial or com-
munity purpose. Such preservation insures structural integ-
rity, relates the preserved object to the life of the people
around it, and, not least, it makes preservation a source of
positive financial gain rather than another expense.
In the beautification work in which many of us are now
engaged, we try to carry on our activities within the sturdy
American tradition which seeks the beautiful which is also
useful. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson may have
disagreed politically. They emphatically agreed, however, that
a garden was one of the most "rational" of pursuits because,
while throwing a glow of color and charm on everything
around it, it also provided food for the body and a place of
repose and reflection for the mind. May this tradition of
usefulness guide all our beautification work, including that
specific important form of beautification, the retention and
rehabilitation of our buildings of special historic significance.
18
I hope that many Americans will read this thoughtful and
spirited volume and consider seriously what they can do to
help bring its message to fulfillment. The report points out
that a number of European countries have long since under-
taken extensive programs for protecting the national heritage
in highly practical ways. We, blessed with so exciting and
meaningful a heritage, should hardly be less active.
PREFACE
ALBERT RAINS, Chairman and LAURANCE G. HENDERSON' Director
Q SEPTEMBER 15, 1687, A VENETIAN BOMB FELL ON A
Turkish powder keg and blew the Parthenon to pieces. The Venetians who did the bombarding and the Turks who
used the Parthenon for a powder magazine did not intend its destruction. But the act of war was decisively final.
An edifice which had stood for over 2,000 years as one of the supremeworks of Athenian culture, lay in ruins.
We do not use bombs and powder kegs to destroy irreplace-
able structures related to the story of America's civilization.
We use the corrosion of neglect or the thrust of bulldozers. The
result is the same as in the case of the Parthenon. Places where
great Americ~n voices were heard, or where great acts of valor
were performed, are lost. Connections between successive gen-
erations of Americans- concretely linking their ways of life-
are broken by demolition. Sources of memory cease to exist.
Why then are we surprised when surveys tell us that many
Americans, young and old, lack even a rudimentary knowledge
of the national past? We ourselves create the blank spaces by
doing nothing when the physical signs of our previous national
life are removed from our midst.
The Special Committee on Historic Preservation was formed
19
to explore this harsh reality, and to suggest ways of dealing
with it.
Members of the Committee have served or continue to serve
in various posts at all levels of government, but it is a privately
organized body disinterested in all but its objectives in the
realm of knowledge.
We on the committee have wanted to know what is happen-
ing in the field of historic preservation; the present trends in
saving what can be saved, and the losses from destroying what
deserves to be saved. We have tried to discover what we must
do to rescue from certain destruction what remains of our leg-
acy from the past, and how best to do that rescue work.
We have sought advice in this matter from sources which
command respect. We have consulted with members of the
Executive Branch whose various programs-whether in the
field of housing, urban renewal, road construction, national
parks and the like-have a direct bearing on historic preserva-
tion. We have travelled extensively abroad to consult with
Europeans and to draw from their experiences such knowledge
as can be applied to the American case. We have had the bene-
fit of help rendered by an expert technical staff. We are grateful
to all these, and to the Ford Foundation and a generous anony-
mous donor whose grants of funds made the whole of this
project possible.
While the heads of all the Federal departments and agencies
whose programs affect historic preservation served as ex-officio
members of the Committee, the Committee itself assumes sole
and full responsibility for what appears in this report. Much
research, many trips, long debates, and above all, an ardent
love of country, have gone into its preparation and publication.
For the Committee is convinced that an action program for
historic preservation cannot be a piecemeal affair or a series of
straitjackets. It must be both comprehensive and flexible. It
must be designed to allow each interested private and public
20
party to play a role commensurate with his own rights, duties
and resources.
The report, therefore, suggests in broad terms certain prac-
tical avenues of approach to the problem of conserving places
and objects of value in our individual communities and in the
nation as a whole. We have not attempted to write the details
of any law or laws which are necessary if a program of historic
preservation is to attain the object for which it is framed. City
councils, state legislatures and the Congress of the United
States are and must be the source of the necessary laws. Each
of these legislative bodies, in the light of its own be$t judgment
and within the sphere of its own jurisdiction, has an essential
part of its own to play in constructing a legal foundation for
undertakings in historic preservation.
The Committee, on its own part, hopes that the body of fact
it has assembled and the guidelines for action it has set forth,
will materially assist our different legislative organs in the dis-
charge of law-making functions they alone can perform. The
case is urgent. May the legislative response be both thoughtful
and resolute.
1966
21
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
EMPIRE FOR LIBERTY
Sidney Hyman
Land without population is a wilderness, and population without land is a mob.
The United States has many social, political, and economic questions, some old, some new,
to settle in the near future; but none so fundamental as the true relation of the land to
the national life. The first act in the progress of any civilization is to provide homes for
those who desire to sit under their own vine and fig tree.
JAMES J . HILL
A NATION CAN BE A VICTIM OF AMNESIA. IT CAN LOSE
the memories of what it was, and thereby lose the sense of what it is or wants to be. It can say it is being "progressive"
when it rips up the tissues which visibly bind one strand of its history to the next. It can say it is only getting rid of
"junk" in order to make room for the modern. What it often does instead, once it has lost the graphic source of its mem-
ories, is to break the perpetual partnership that makes for orderly growth in the life of a society.
It is true that small scale things, even important things, can
be done by a single generation. It is all the more true, however,
that a piece of work cast on an heroic scale needs the labor of
generations. It needs the consecutive efforts of grandfathers,
fathers and grandsons, "bound in a partnership not only be-
tween those who are living, those who are dead, and those who
are about to be born." Each generation, by the terms of the
partnership, still has a right to express what is unique in itself.
Each still has a right to meet its own needs in its own style. But
each builds best in its own day when it pays a decent respect to
the past and future, and frames its own work to fit in between
the growing ends of both.
23
What we want to conserve, therefore, is the evidence of in-
dividual talent and tradition, of liberty and union among suc-
cessive generations of Americans. We want the signs of where
we came from and how we got to where we are, the thoughts
we had along the way and what we did to express the thoughts
in action. We want to know the trails that were walked, the
battles that were fought, the tools that were made. We want to
know the beautiful or useful things that were built and the
originality that was shown, the adaptations that were made and
the grace-notes to life that were sounded. We want to know the
experiments in community living that were tried and the lessons
that were taught by a brave failure as well as by a brave success.
It is all these things and more like them that we want to keep
before our eyes as part of our lived life as a people, and as
connecting links between a past which millions of Americans
helped make and a future which we must continue to make.
THE TURNING POINT
Yet how can one convey in a few words all there is to see, re-
member and retain of the partnership among American genera-
tions? Where can the account begin? What should be put into
the story and what left out? A thousand books would not be
enough for the telling, while only a focal point is possible here,
and a single starting date must be chosen from any number of
equally valid choices.
Let the starting date be the year 1800 when Thomas Jeffer-
son was elected President of the United States, for it was in
consequence of his Presidency and that of his hand-picked heir,
James Madison, that America began an adventure in nation-
building that was without precedent in human history.
Many theorists, some ancient, some fairly new, could be
cited to prove in advance that the adventure was doomed.
There was Plato who had said that the size of a democracy
must be limited to the number of people standing in one place
who can hear a speaker's voice. There was Montesquieu who
had said that a republic worked best in a limited territory, and
was ill-suited for the government of an empire. There was also
Adam Smith who had said that "a man is of all sorts of luggage
the most difficult to be transportable."
The American, however, had a special theory of his own,
and a temperament to go with it. He said that Life was larger
than Logic, and he felt that a man finds his best ideals in his
obstacles. He had thus brought the Republic to birth despite all
high and mighty logicians who told him that he must bend his
strength to the end of having everything stand still.
By a law of "natural selection," he presently drew to himself
a vast congregation of men and women who shared his special
theory, this temperament, and who also could not stand still.
Specifically, in the century between the end of the War of 1812
and the onset ofthe First World War in 1914, some fifty million
people left their native Europe to seek new homes in other
lands, and of this number fully three-fifths came to the United
States. They were called "immigrants," where their pre-Revo-
lutionary War counterparts had been called "settlers," and it
took a man like Theodore Roosevelt to make a joke out of the
distinction. The term "settler" said he, was "a euphemistic
name for an immigrant who came over in the steerage of a sail-
ing ship in the seventeenth century instead of the steerage of a
steamer in the nineteenth century." In any case, by whatever
name the waves of newcomers were called- and some, at first
had a harsh sound- they and their descendants interlaced their
24
energies with the American population descended from pre-
Revolutionary War colonizers. So joined, they made every day
in America another "moving day" in a westerly migration
whose scope dwarfed the total of all the known tribal migra-
tions on the Eurasian land mass.
It was commonly said of them collectively that "if Hell lay
in the West, Americans would cross Heaven to reach it." It
could just as well have been said that they were on the constant
look-out for a short-cut through Hell in order to reach a Heaven
in the West, whether by a water route or overland. With so
much land that was vacant, the American could not be expected
to be content with what he happened to possess. Somewhere
on some unspecified point on the far horizon was the perfect
one-hundred-and-sixty-acre-tract. It was made just for him at
the beginning of time, and it was lying in wait just for him to
find and possess. It had just the right balance between meadows,
forests and arable soil. It had a clearer spring for water, a closer
river for transportation, a more sheltered and better-drained
spot for a home, more wild game for meat, fewer crows to de-
vour his seed grain and no hostile Indians. If the perfect tract
could not be found in Kentucky, try Ohio. If not Ohio, try
Illinois. If not Illinois, try Iowa.
The individual's search for the perfect one hundred and
sixty acres often had its matching piece in the American's re-
current dream about the perfect community in which he wanted
to live and help build. If it entailed wandering beyond the
boundaries of existing civilization, the gain would be an unde-
filed stretch of earth where a new-style community could give
form and force to his ideal. It might be an ideal of religious
(or non-religious ) life. It might be an ideal about the modes of
work best suited to man, and how best to organize production
and distribution. It might be an ideal of social justice. What-
ever it was, it was worth a try. And if it turned out in the end
that there was a gulf between the ideal and the real, well, so be
it. There was no lack of other experiments in community living
for him to try out.
Suddenly, though, the continent had been spanned, and the
frontier that had run parallel to the ground for so long, as befit
a predominantly agricultural society, shot upward in the verti-
cal frontier of an industrialized and urban society. Village
crafts which once produced for a local market had become
giant and complex factories producing for consumers the world
over, and the place where the village stood had become a giant
megalopolis. But towering over everything else was the tremen-
dous fact about the American Republic. The union of men,
materials, motives, temperaments, convictions-and a kindly
Providence-had made of the Republic something unique in
the story of man on earth. Here was an infinitely varied people
spread in greater number over a greater distance than was the
case with the Roman Empire at its height. Here was the first
continental democracy, organized along federal lines, differing
in its components yet strong in the center. Here was an empire
for liberty. Here was a human patriotism distilled from the sum
of national and local prides.
APPROACH MARCH TO A NATION OF NATIONS
But how did things stand in the year 1800?
By then, the effort to populate what had become the United
States of America had been going on for almost two centuries.
Many countries with odd-lot motives-and many odd-lot "cor-
porations" and individuals with motives of their own-had
played a part in this effort. Yet in the year 1800-when the
population of the British Isles was more than 15 million, and
that of the French Republic was more than 25 million-the
United States contained only 5.3 million people. Of these, one-
fifth were Negro slaves. Of the 4.5 million free whites, less than
one million were able-bodied male adults. Of the total popula-
tion, two-thirds clung to the Atlantic seaboard within fifty
miles of tidewater where alone the wants of civilized life could
be supplied from various urban centers like Boston, with a
population of 23,000, New York with a population of 63,000,
or Philadelphia with a population of 70,000.
Nowhere did eastern settlements touch the western. At least
one hundred miles of mountainous country held the two regions
everywhere apart. The shores of Lake Erie, where alone con-
tact seemed easy, were still unsettled. Wc:stern New York still
remained a wilderness. Buffalo was not laid out. Rochester did
not exist. Utica contained fifty houses, mostly small and tem-
porary. Albany was still a Dutch city with some five thousand
inhabitants.
In the region that lay between the western slopes of the
Appalachians and the Mississippi River, Indians still repre-
sented formidable obstacles to further advances. Powerful con-
federacies of Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws and Choctaws
lived and hunted where the states of Mississippi, Alabama and
the western parts of Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky were to
extend. In areas that were to form the later states of Wisconsin,
Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and one-third of Ohio, there were
Wyandottes and Shawnees, Miamis, Kickapoos and other
tribes, who could raise in the aggregate a force of some five
thousand warriors to fight or hunt. In the south and the north
alike, the Indians were ready to offer sharp resistance to any
invasion on their domain, exacting life for life, and yielding
only as their warriors perished. In this they were being encour-
aged in the south by the Spanish authorities based in the Florida
and Louisiana territories, and in the north by the English
authorities in Canada.
Nature itself, however, had created four routes for a flow of
traffic from the eastern settlements into the West. To the south,
25
one rocky route ran from Alexandria to Richmond and from
Richmond through the Cumberland Gap into the Kentucky
country. It was along this trail that Daniel Boone had blazed
the way as early as 1769, and in the course of time it had been
widened to a wagon road. A second route lay westward from
Alexandria over the mountains and across the Great Kanawha
to Boonesboro. In the middle region, three roads, starting from
Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Alexandria respectively, con-
verged on Pittsburgh, where the wide waters of the Ohio River
offered the emigrant an easy journey into the far country. To
the north the Genesee road, beginning at Albany, ran almost
due west through level country to Buffalo, on Lake Erie, the
principal gateway into the upper reaches of the Northwest
Territory.
For a time, the Cumberland road held the primacy. The
region into which it led was at the beginning under the govern-
ments of Virginia and North Carolina. The road itself was very
near the back door of the upland farmers in those states and it
beckoned them on to a more fertile soil than their plowshares
had so far broken. Moreover, the advance of slave-owning
planters from the coast exerted a steady pressure on them,
driving them to escape by the Cumberland route from that in-
vasion. On this account, of the 500,000 inhabitants who formed
a human wedge driven through the Appalachians into Ken-
tucky and Tennessee with its apex at Nashville and its flanks
covered by the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, the majority were
men from Virginia and the Carolinas.
Toward the closing years of the eighteenth century, the
routes that first converged on Pittsburgh-not without difficul-
ties-had begun to gather an ever-larger portion of the west-
ward traffic. For as soon as the immigrant family arrived at the
headwaters of the Ohio, it could buy almost any kind of boat
for the remainder of the trip-a light canoe for two or three,
or a ten-ton barge that would carry a score of passengers with
household goods, wagons, plows and cattle down the river to
the landing points nearest the chosen destination. Since the
approach to Pittsburgh lay closest to the settlements of Mary-
land, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it was the immigrants from
these states who were most likely to travel the Ohio River route.
Another factor contributed to the increase in favor for this
route toward the close of the eighteenth century. Until the
establishment of the new federal government in 1789, settlers
in the region south of the Ohio had been compelled to do their
work under the protection of Virginia and North Carolina state
governments. The protection was sketchy at best, and the result
led to encounters with Indians that made Kentucky and Ten-
nessee a "dark and bloody ground." But not long after his
inauguration, President Washington, himself a large holder of
western lands, took vigorous measures to organize military ex-
peditions against the Indians on the frontier. His commander,
General Anthony Wayne, after many clashes, brought the lead-
ing chieftains to their knees, forcing them in 1795 to sign a
treaty which cleared the eastern and southern portions of the
Western Reserve and Northwest Territory for white settlement.
Grim days, however, still lay ahead.
Meanwhile, the domain of the Western Reserve had been
retained as a kind of lien held by Connecticut when it surren-
dered to the Union its historic land claims. Thus while set-
tlers from other states would leave their mark on the Western
Reserve, it was the Connecticut Yankees and their Massachu-
setts cousins who were in a position to leave the greatest mark.
They began to do just that, step by step, in line with General
Wayne's work of pacification in the eastern and southern por-
tions of the region. A case in point was Moses Cleaveland who
blazed a path to the shores of Lake Erie, and in 1796 estab-
lished a post that was destined to grow into a great city. Other
Connecticut Yankees and their Massachusetts cousins would
be flooding the Western Reserve-and after that, the North-
west territory-by the approach march of the Genesee Road
running between Albany and Buffalo. After that, with the pre-
cision of a drilled army on parade, the town meeting, the Con-
gregational Church, steady-going habits and Massachusetts
thrift would be reproduced beyond the mountains once land-
hungry sons and daughters of the Puritans began in earnest
their rapid advance across northern Ohio, Indiana and lllinois,
upward into southern Michigan and Wisconsin and westward
toward the great plains. But this would come after 1800, by the
route of the Erie Canal as well as the Genesee Road.
Taking the population picture of the country as a whole as
it appeared in 1800, America had recovered a fraction of an
estimated 300,000 American Tories loyal to the British Crown,
who had voluntarily left the country or had been driven out of
it, some to England, some to Canada. On the other hand, the
infiow of wholly new settlers from European shores had been
slowed down to a trickle for successive reasons. There was the
world turmoil attending the waging of the Revolutionary War.
There was America's civil turmoil following the winning of
independence, while independence itself brought to an end the
English colonial practice of sentencing English convicts to
labor for a period of years under a colonial master in America.
Then, too, there was the difficulty of reaching the lands avail-
able for settlement on the western side of the Appalachian
mountains- and in the turmoil to be encountered if those lands
were reached. On top of everything else was the trump reason.
It was the onset of the French Revolution which spread a con-
tagion of worldwide war that would rage for a generation.
The immediate American byproduct of that world war was
the Louisiana Purchase, which removed French power from
the North American mainland, gave America control of the
Mississippi River, and brought within American possession a
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tremendous empire fanning out and up from the west bank of
the Mississippi River. The further American byproduct of that
world war was the War of 1812, whose dismal episodes have
tended to obscure the triumphant consequences. The war at its
end had produced a set of conditions in which the hostile Indian
barrier to westward advance had for all practical purposes been
removed throughout the Mississippi Valley. At the same time,
it had removed Great Britain as a harassing agent in the north-
erly part of the region, led to the demilitarization of the U. S.-
Canadian border and its clear demarcation up to the Oregon
Territory. It had also put Spain in a frame of mind in which it
sold the Floridas to the United States in 1819. Still farther, the
worldwide war which had engaged and drained Spain's energies
made it possible for her colonies in the Western Hemisphere to
stage successful revolutions which led to their independence.
In this way, Mexico would win her independence and include
within her domain the whole of the American Southwest and
California, a portion of the domain to fall later to the United
States by insurgency, annexation and the Mexican War.
Beginning with the Louisiana Purchase, then, a tremendous
area would await settlement, not only by the descendants of the
original American colonists, but by newcomers from Europe,
once the end of the Napoleonic Wars gave them an opportunity
and a spur to start life anew in the United States.
As of 1800, however, the ethnic picture of the American
population-save for the loss of the American Tories-was
roughly what it had been in 1776. The previous preponderence
of the English had served to make English the common lan-
guage, and to fix governmental institutions and political ideals
in an English mold, subject to Americanization. This, in a
sense, was the supreme strategic achievement of the "great"
migration of 20,000 English Puritans into early New England,
and the 150,000 Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who arrived in the
eighteenth century and settled in nearly five hundred scattered
communities. But as of 1776, fully half the population outside
of New England was of non-English background-which ex-
plains why Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John
Adams jointly proposed that the official seal of the United
States bear the national emblems of England, Scotland, Ire-
land, Germany, Holland and France. In this way, said they, the
seal would point out the countries from which these states had
been peopled.
Though the three men had overlooked a bit of Sweden and
Switzerland, and though in any case other counsels prevailed,
the point they had in mind was essentially correct. Men and
women from Holland who had colonized New York, and those
from Sweden who had helped colonize Delaware had been
forcibly absorbed by English power. French Huguenots had
settled in virtually all the colonies after the Edict of Nantes had
been revoked, while some 200,000 Germans had congregated
in the new sections of New York and in the Pennsylvania back
country, where they gave rise to the strain called the "Pennsyl-
vania Dutch." There were also congregations of Spanish and
Portuguese Jews in Atlantic coast port cities who reached
America by way of various stepping stones, and who had woven
trading links with Spanish and Portuguese outposts in the New
World.
As in the years before 1776, a religious or political motive
was often present among the trickle of newcomers who reached
America in the years that intervened between 1776 and 1800.
So it would often be in all the decades that followed . But the
economic urge, operating independently or as a stiffening agent
to religious and political conviction, was responsible for most
of the settlers. Continuing the pre-1776 pattern, most of the
settlers were the poor of Europe. They were the day laborer,
the peasant, the artisan and the shopkeeper rather than the
nobleman, the squire, the great merchant.
Religious or political persecution, or an unusual chance to
acquire wealth, might induce a member of the upper middle
class to transplant himself in America. But in the main, Amer-
ica continued to be peopled by the underprivileged who could
not even afford to pay for their own passage to America from
English and Continental ports. They sold their services to a
merchant or ship captain in lieu of paying the transportation
fare. Then, after an ocean voyage where they were jam-packed
aboard ship under conditions where as many as 50 per cent of
them might die en route, they were auctioned off on arrival to
the highest bidder for a term of labor extending from two to
seven years. People of this description had composed fully half
of the total migration before 1776, and the labor-contract sys-
tem still prevailed in 1800-and would continue to prevail in
some states until the third decade of the nineteenth century.
Meanwhile, along the fifty-mile strip of tidewater where the
bulk of the American population was to be found in 1800,
home construction and town planning had passed through their
primitive stages. They continued to show, as in 1776, the dif-
ferences successive groups of settlers had imported from their
points of origin in Europe, subject to modification by local fac-
tors of climate, building materials, concepts of communal life
and their economic underpinning. It is not possible here to
detail all the differences or everything that remains of what was
done in the seed-time years of the American Republic. But a
picture, drawn in broad strokes, and arranged roughly in the
chronological sequence that marked the process by which re-
gions were first opened for colonization, would look like this:
THE VIRGINIA AND MARYLAND COAST
At an early date in the history of the Virginia and Maryland
colonies, their legislatures at the request of the Crown had
passed various "New Town Acts." These designated the sites
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for towns, established the method of land acquisition and land
valuation, provided for their layout, and made provision for
disposition of town lots. The motives stemmed from a desire to
promote town life generally as the best means of stimulating
the development in the two colonies and the wish to control
trade and customs collections for the mother country. Towns
which exist to this day-Yorktown, Petersburg, Fredericks-
burg, Williamsburg, Alexandria and Annapolis-had their
seminal source in the ideas that lay behind the "New Town
Acts" of colonial times.
In the main, however, the "New Town Acts" failed to con-
jure up actual towns, and the reasons why not were closely
related. First, the Virginia-Maryland coast line was bisected at
frequent intervals by rivers that were navigable for many miles
inland by the largest merchant ships in general use-a 250- to
400-tonner at the most. Since there were so many excellent and
protected anchorages to choose from-and no single site had
any marked advantage over the others-the colonial legisla-
tures of Virginia and Maryland were caught in on-going dead-
locks and made no decisions whatever about the specific places
where a New Town would actually be laid out and built.
Second, the adoption of tobacco as the dominant product of
Virginia and Maryland for a growing market in England, had
led to a dispersed pattern of settlement in the form of large
plantations. Based on slave labor, these proved the most eco-
nomical and efficient methods of tobacco production. Then as
the plantation system matured, individual plantations-almost
invariably located close to tidewater channels-became small
communities themselves with their own docks and other port
facilities, warehouses, shops, slave quarters and the plantation
house.
The plantation system did not need any "public" kind of
commercial, financial and industrial center. And it was perhaps
for this reason that Thomas Jefferson, in his Notes on the State
of Virginia, extolled the "moral" virtues of agriculture as a way
of life and excoriated the "corrupting" influences of city life.
The plantation system, however, did need government where
titles to land could be recorded, where cases could be argued
before a court, where the arm of civil order could be centered,
and the means for the common defense mustered. As the county
was the basic unit of local government, when towns refused to
spring up naturally as county seats, the solution to the needs
just mentioned lay in constructing county buildings in as central
a location within the county as was possible.
Accordingly, such buildings presently came into existence
to form a compound in a rural setting. Some eventually became
the centers of present-day Virginia towns, as in the case of
Gloucester. Others, such as Virginia's King William Court-
house, stand today as solitary sentinels, symbolic of govern-
ment. The typical compound was surrounded by a brick wall,
inside of which were a courthouse, a jail, a clerk's office, and a
row of lawyer's offices. The nearby tavern or ordinary was
always part of the complex and often served as a courthouse
while the latter was being constructed. The tavern, inn and jail
had a year-round use. On the whole, however, these little ad-
ministrative and legal communities came to life only when the
court was in session or other sporadic governmental activities
occurred.
State capitals were another matter. Before the Revolutionary
War, Georgian architecture had formed the core buildings
found in state capitals. But after the Revolutionary War, there
was a natural tendency to give effect in building to the inde-
pendence and vigor of the new Republican state, and a more
monumental type of state capital was developed as architects
went farther afield in their inspiration.
The new capitol at Richmond as designed by Thomas Jeffer-
son was founded on the plan of the Maison Carree in Nimes,
France; while the new capitol in Washington by Dr. William
Thornton was based on the Palladian plans of English country
mansions. Here and there, traces of what would presently be
called the "Greek Revival" were visible, but the full force of the
revival would not be felt in America until the nineteenth cen-
tury was under way.
Finally, if the county compounds expressed the form of
government that seemed natural to the plantation system in
Virginia and Maryland, while the new-style capital buildings
expressed the independence of the new Republic, the master's
house on the great plantations reflected the social and economic
.basis of that system. The architectural "envelope" had become
formal, balanced, aristocratic, with extended plans, many guest
rooms and detached units. It made little difference how far the
kitchen might be from the dining room, or how many fireplaces
were needed to warm the whole of a house. There were plenty
of servants to take the steps from the kitchen, bearing food and
to tend the fireplaces when there was a chill in the air. There
were also plenty of servants to tend to the area immediately
surrounding the manor house with its meadows, sweeping
views, rows of trees and gardens. Surviving Virginia examples
of the maritime plantation houses include, besides George
Washington's Mount Vernon, George Mason's Gunston Hall,
Benjamin Harrison's Berkeley near Charles City, Westover of
William Byrd II, William Byrd Harrison's Brandon and Carter
Burwell's Carter's Grove.
NEW ENGLAND
New England towns and villages, even though they had
passed through. their rough-hewn days, still continued to show
in 1800 the imprint of social forms, ideas and needs that
marked their establishment.
It is worth saying here, that the "general welfare" clause in
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the Federal Constitution of 1789 had one of its early roots in
the Mayflower Compact by which the Puritans bound them-
selves together to promote "the common weal." The individual
had rights of his own, but the "common weal" bore within itself
the idea of community effort on behalf of those objects needed
by and common to all individuals. Nor was this piece of phras-
ing just a rhetorical flourish. As a minority religious sect that
had been persecuted in England, the Puritans had learned that
they could survive only through mutual assistance, and this
truth was reconfirmed by the needs they faced in the harsh
environment of the hew world where they planted their first
colonies.
By coincidence, the land tenure system with which they were
familiar in England, had a form with mutual assistance through
communal effort. Specifically, the original Puritan settlers in
New England were largely drawn from the English countryside
where feudal concepts of community organization and modes
of agricultural production still held sway. In that countryside
the farmer lived in a village while the strip of field he personally
worked as a tenant or freeholder, along with the field he had
access to in common with other farmers, lay on the outskirts
of the village.
The pattern was transplanted on New England soil. Unlike
the vast plantation in the South, or the isolated farmstead that
was to be the hallmark of later settlement practices in farmer
areas to the west of the Appalachian Mountains, the New Eng-
land agricultural community centered on the village. All or
nearly all farmers lived in it in a relatively compact community
and daily went to their fields that stretched outward from the
cluster of buildings.
Whereas the county was the basic unit of local government
in the South, the basic unit in New England was the township
which integrated an urban center with a rural countryside.
Homes were constructed on lots near the center of the town-
ship, and these were usually grouped around an open space at
the front of which the meetinghouse was erected. The outlying
fields suitable for cultivation were known as the "common
fields" or "proprietors' commons." These had been roughly
surveyed, divided into strips, and allotted to the settlers accord-
ing to agreed upon rules of equity. Land of this description was
not open to subsequent settlers unless the newcomers were
formally granted commoners' rights. The remaining land, how-
ever-pasture and woodland-were held in common owner-
ship by the village. The pasture could be used by all residents
of the village, and subject to agreed-upon regulations, residents
could fell trees and quarry stone for individual use. Thus the
land system of the typical New England village combined in-
dividual ownership and ownership in common.
The concentration of people in one place did more than
make the village a kind of fortress. It made it easier for the
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villagers to pool their slender resources in order to provide a
library of "serious" books and to maintain a common school
where children could be educated. A plantation owner in the
South could acquire for his own use or for the use of his friends
a personal library far larger and more varied than the total
number of books found in several scores of New England vil-
lages. He could also set aside among the dependencies sur-
rounding the plantation great house a schoolhouse for his own
children, and engage tutors that would give his children a more
cosmopolitan education than was the case with New England
children. But the difference was, that learning under the planta-
tion system was confined to the few-it could not be until after
the Civil War that a public school system was created in the
South-whereas in New England there was from the beginning
a very high level of literacy and a very broad diffusion of knowl-
edge throughout the population. This head start in education
was to be of material advantage to the sons of New England,
and was to make their minds the source of an outlook and values
destined to spread throughout most of the Western Reserve,
and the Northwest Territory, and the upper reaches of the
Louisiana Territory.
What has just been said points to something else. When in-
creases in the population of a New England village-by births
or by new immigration-produced a condition where there was
no more common land to be subdivided for individual cultiva-
tion, the practice was to "hive off" groups of settlers from the
old township and to start a new township on newly granted
ground nearer the frontier. The "hiving off" process generally
involved the youngest sons of a family (and their brides) while
the older or oldest sons stayed on to cultivate the lands they
were due to inherit from their fathers.
But in 1800, the process of "hiving off" was still limited by
several factors. For one thing, the continued uncertainty about
where the borderline ran between Canada and the United States
posed a risk that a penetration of the frontier along the north-
western part of New England might bring a settler into sharp
collision with Canadians who had come to include the Tory
refugees from the American Revolutionary War. In another
direction, the penetration of the Western Reserve was limited
by the extent to which the Indian tribes had been pushed back
and their titles to the land extinguished. Then again, there was
little profit in bringing new lands under cultivation when there
were no waterways or roads over which the produce of those
fields could be brought to a market. This latter need was an-
swered in the wedge of 500,000 Americans that had already
been driven through the Appalachian mountains into the region
bounded by the Tennessee and Ohio rivers. Some sons and
daughters of New England had already formed part of that
wedge. They tended to favor the lands lying to the north of the
Ohio River, and Marietta was their principal "staging area"
30
for a further northerly advance, destined to intersect with a
southerly advance from Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Meanwhile, along the Atlantic coastline, other New England
townships, while still retaining their agricultural base, had long
before come to look to the sea as a source of food and supple-
mentary income. Food meant the rise of a fishing industry-
which led by accident to the rise of the whaling industry. In-
come meant the rise of a shipbuilding and shipping industry
that had been spurred by both the Revolutionary War and the
flaring world war that began with the French Revolution. The
Revolutionary War had meant the equipping of privateers to
prey on British merchantmen, and this work engaged the ener-
gies of 90,000 New Englanders, more than the total number of
Continentals and militia in any year except 1776. The world
war that began with the French Revolution meant the equip-
ping of ships to carry cargos for belligerents or for trade that
was going by default to the Americans.
Independently of these considerations, there was the need
for coastwide shipping-since travel and transport by water
along the Atlantic coastline was far more preferable than travel
and transport over wretched land routes. There was also the
lure of the East Indies-China trade which entailed a voyage
around the Horn, then perhaps a voyage up the Pacific coast to
the fur trading sea-outposts of the Oregon territory, then on to
the East Indies and China with a cargo of fur, and then back
around the Horn with the profits from the sale of the furs and
with the produce of the East for resale in the United States.
In different degrees, these various aspects of a living drawn
from the sea left distinctive marks still visible among New Eng-
land place names-Boston and Salem, Martha's Vineyard and
New Bedford, New London and Nantucket, Fairhaven and
Sag Harbor, Portsmouth and Providence, and thirty others of
lesser celebrity like Mystic, Conn.
Maritime life not only called for marines and sea-captains;
it called for the designers of ships, carpenters who built them,
and for the carpenters who signed aboard for a voyage in order
to repair damages suffered en route. All these, plus a breed of
masons born and trained among the stone quarries of New
England, had combined by 1800 to upgrade the style and qual-
ity of home construction in New England's seaport towns.
From these points, the upgrading process spread into the zones
of the interior. A word about this:
In the rural districts of England from which most of the
original colonists of New England came, wood was still plenti-
ful and buildings were of the time-honored "half-timber" con-
struction. The frames of such buildings were constructed on the
ground, then raised into place and pinned together with heavy
dowels. After that, the interstices were filled with wattle and
daub or with rough mud, bricks made of clay and straw and
called cats. The interior walls were plastered inside with white-
washed clay, and the exterior was covered with a coating of
lime.
The early New England colonists were thoroughly familiar
with this type of structure, and as they found wood plentiful
they used it widely to duplicate the homes they had left behind.
But it was not long before there began among them a process
of adapting the familiar to the formidable demands of their
immediate environment-a process that was to be repeated
again and again by other Americans elsewhere. In this case, the
New England colonists discovered that wattle and daub, satis-
factory in the genial climate of Old England, was not equal to
the climate of New England.
Environment thus stepped in to alter the historic architec-
tural procedure. The colonists now rived, split or sawed out a
covering of clapboards to sheath the half-timber houses, to shed
the water and keep out the cold. The efficacious clapboards
were universally adopted, and became an important feature of
subsequent American architecture.
Meanwhile, the vigorous climate also accounted for the com-
pact plans of buildings in early New England. The chimney
was placed in the center of the house, with fireplaces for various
rooms. This arrangement not only conserved heat but stiffened
the structural frame. When more room was needed, the house
went up instead of out. Most homes faced the south to take
advantage of the sun, and most of them had a narrow entrance
hall and a stairway hugging the chimney. The floors of the
upper rooms were supported by a huge, handhewn summer
beam which was supported in turn by the chimney and outside
wall.
In New England, as in the South, the winning of independ-
ence from Great Britain might of its own accord have released
a new spirit that demanded new architectural expressions.
Nonetheless, it took more money to build a great house than
those people had been accustomed to in colonial days. When
money eventually came to those New Englanders who con-
trolled the means of trade in the young nation's seaports, there
were available, as noted a moment ago, the designers and
craftsmen with finely developed talents in the use of wood or
stone.
There were men like Samuel Mcintire, the skilled architect
and woodcarver, who dominated the construction of some of
the finest privately owned and public buildings in Salem which
still stand and are in use. Indeed, even the houses built after
his death in 1811 reflected his influence. Known as "the Federal
style," most of them are square, hip-roofed buildings of white
clapboard or brick laid in flawless Flemish bond. Front doors
are framed in fanlight and sidelights, shaded by eliptical or
oblong porches whose roofs are supported by slender columns.
A Palladian window opens into a formal garden in the rear.
Most of the interiors are simply arranged, usually four rooms
31
to a floor. But there are three floors instead of the usual two of
colonial days and the chimneys have been relegated to the side
walls instead of the center of the house. As a crowning touch
there is a balustrade around the roof known as "the captain's
walk" where householders could look to the sea for incoming
ships.
Of equal influence there was the architect Charles Bulfinch
whose professional reputation was established in Boston and
whose work appears in other communities like Waltham. He
was endowed with an experimental turn of mind, the results of
which appear in the different forms he gave to the edifices of
his design at different stages of his career. Many of the old
homes standing on Boston's Beacon Hill and Louisburg Square
were his work. In this, he experimented with unified residential
blocks whose distinctive feature- representing a break from
the traditional austerity of New England architecture- was the
bow-front house. It was Bulfinch, too, who designed the Massa-
chusetts State House in 1795 with its long central colonnade
and dome, standing on its imposing site.
While men like Mcintire and Bulfinch were among the new
style setters for the New England beneficiaries of wealth ac-
quired by means of the sea, people throughout the countryside
were also beginning to think in terms of more elaborate struc-
tures. Into this situation stepped Asher Benjamin, a carpenter
from Greenfield, Mass., who is credited with having exerted
more direct influence than any other single person on the whole
tissue of architecture in New England.
The inspirational idea which gave him this influence began
when he recognized a central truth stated by Benjamin Frank-
lin some years earlier. The latter, in reference to the conditions
of the Americans, had observed that they were not so miserable
as the poor of Europe, but "there are also very few that in
Europe would be called rich; it is rather a happy mediocrity
that prevails. There are few great proprietors of the soil, and
few tenants; most people cultivate their own lands or follow
some handicraft of merchandise; very few are rich enough to
pay the high prices given in Europe for painting, statues, archi-
tecture, and the other works of art, that are more curious than
useful." Asher Benjamin, in 1797, had the shrewdness and
capacity to prepare and publish a book with this market in
mind.
The book was called The Country Builder's Assistant. It was
not the first book on architecture printed in the United States,
but it was the first genuinely American treatment of the subject.
It was very much a "how-to-do-it" book, since it contained
plans and detailed drawings for various private and public
structures. Carpenters throughout the northeast, being of Puri-
tan stock, were a literate breed. They acquired Benjamin's
book and began to pattern their construction work on his plans.
The First Congregational Church in Bennington, Vt., one of
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With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)
With Heritage So Rich (1999)

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With Heritage So Rich (1999)

  • 4. With Heritage So Rich NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION Special Committee on Historic Preservation United States Conference of Mayors Albert Rains CHAIRMAN Laurance G. Henderson DIRECTOR PRESERVATION BOOKS
  • 5. Preservation Books National Trust for Historic Preservation 1785 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036 The National Trust for Historic Preservation, chartered by Congress in 1949, is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable. It fights to save historic buildings and the neighborhoods they anchor. Through education and advocacy, the National Trust is revitalizing communities across the country and challenges citizens to create sensible plans for the future. Support is provided by membership dues, endowment funds, individual, corporate, and foundation contributions, and grants from state and federal agencies. For information about member- ship, write to the Trust at the above address. Copyright © 1999 National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States All rights reserved. Published 1966; reprinted 1983 and 1999 Printed in the United States of America United States Conference of Mayors Special Committee on Historic Preservation. Preparation of the original report of the Special Committee on Historic Preservation was supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation. The 1999 reprint was made possible through the generous sup- port of Mrs. Patrick Healy III. Originally published: New York: Random House, 1966. ISBN 0-89133-396-7 Original design by Hubert W. Leckie Cover Design of 1999 edition by Brian Noyes, National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • 6. CONTENTS MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Richard Moe 6 INTRODUCTION Charles B. Hosmer, Jr. 9 FOREWORD Lady Bird Johnson 17 PREFACE Albert Rains and Laurance G. Henderson 19 EMPIRE FOR LIBERTY Sidney Hyman 23 IMAGES OF TRADITION George Zabriskie 53 OUR LOST INHERITANCE Carl Feiss 113 WINDOW TO THE PAST George Zabriskie 123 LANDMARKS OF BEAUTY AND HISTORY Christopher Tunnard 131 "PROMOTED TO GLORY ... " Walter Muir Whitehill 137 THE RIGHT OF CITIES TO BE BEAUTIFUL Walter Muir Whitehill 149 DEATH MASK OR LIVING IMAGE? Helen Duprey Bullock 161 TRAVELERS TO OLYMPUS Richard H. Howland 171 EUROPE PROTECTS ITS MONUMENTS Robert R. Garvey, Jr. 177 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Special Committee on Historic Preservation 189 NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT OF 1966, AS AMENDED 199 CONTRIBUTORS 239 PHOTOGRAPH CREDITS 241
  • 7. MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Richard Moe WNWITH HERITAGE So R1cH WAS FIRST PUBLISHED 33 years ago, Historic Preservation editor Helen Duprey Bullock noted that its title came from the "Prayer for the Nation" in the Book ofCommon Prayer. That kind of religious connection might not be considered politically cor- rect today, but in the case of this particular book it has an undeniable appropriateness: If any secular publication can rightly claim to be the Bible of the contemporary American preservation movement, it is this one. That compelling fact underscores our decision to reissue With Heritage So Rich as part of our commemoration of the National Trust's 50th anniversary in 1999. This landmark vol- ume - a particularly fitting description in this case - has been out of print for many years. I am proud that the National Trust, with the generous assistance of Martha Ann Healy (whose late husband, Patrick Healy, was a consultant to the Special Committee that produced the original report), can now make it possible for a new generation of preservationists to learn from it and be inspired by it. In composing their report and recommendations for a strengthened national commitment to the preservation of 6 America's cultural heritage, the members of the Special Committee on Historic Preservation of the U.S. Conference of Mayors produced a document that is lucid, concise and vision- ary. It is also beautifully written. A reader doesn't expect to find thoughtfully crafted, compelling prose - not to mention poetry - in a committee report, but both are here. The open- ing paragraph in Sidney Hyman's essay entitled "Empire for Liberty" says just about all there is to say about the importance of preservation as a means of keeping a people's shared mem- ory intact. An array of luminous black-and-white photographs conveys a clear sense of the marvelous diversity of our legacy from the past and the tragedy of its loss. Accompanying and
  • 8. illuminating the photos is a masterful prose-poem, "Images of Tradition," in which George Zabriskie captures in just 18 syl- lables the spreading urban desolation that helped spur the Special Committee's work: In parking lots, cold-flecked with chrome, the empty badlands of the cities grow. Despite the richness of its words and images, the true sig- nificance of With Heritage So Rich derives less from what it says than from what it accomplished. The report was pub- lished in January of 1966. Just a few months later, when Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), nearly every major recommendation in the report was translated into law. The primary components of the struc- ture of today's preservation movement - the creation of the National Register of Historic Places and the President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the development of a nationwide network of state historic preservation offices and the provision of federal appropriations to support their work; the implementation of federal tax credits for rehabilita- tion of historic buildings (recommended by the Special Committee, but not enacted until 1976) - all of these grew out of the 1966 legislation. Perhaps most important, the NHPA represented an unprecedented codification of the govern- ment's commitment - expressed in law and eventually backed up with procedures and regulations - to historic preservation as a matter of federal policy. In every sense, 1966 was a transcendental year for historic preservation, and the foundation for all that followed was laid with the publication of With Heritage So Rich. That's why the report is much more than a dusty historic relic of interest only to archivists. This is not a dead document. Like the legislation and the movement it spawned, it is very much alive. If the authors of this report were given the opportunity to evaluate today's preservation movement in light of the recom- mendations made by the Special Committee more than three decades ago, would they be pleased by what they would find? For the most part, I think they would. They could hardly help but be gratified by the extent to which the legislative and pol- icy structure they envisioned has been realized, of course. But I think they'd be equally impressed to find that the preserva- tion movement itself has matured into something very like what they hoped it would become. It's worth remembering that With Heritage So Rich was produced in an atmosphere of crisis. The mid- l960s marked 7 ------ -- -"~---- ,.____,.._ the heyday of interstate highway construction and urban renewal, when landmark buildings - even entire neighbor- hoods - were being ruthlessly swept away in a misguided pursuit of "progress." Against a dispiriting backdrop of wreck- ing-balls and rubble, members of the Special Committee called on Americans to broaden their vision of what preserva- tion really is, or could be. In the section of the report headed "Findings and Recommendations" appears this thoughtful passage: If the preservation movement is to be successful, it must go beyond saving bricks and mortar. It must go beyond sav- ing occasional historic houses and opening museums. It must be more than a cult of antiquarians. It must do more than revere a few precious national shrines. It must attempt to give a sense of orientation to our society using structures and objects of the past to establish values of time and place. To a gratifying extent, the Special Committee's wish-list for preservation's future has become reality over the past three decades. The men and women who make up today's preserva- tion movement are definitely not "a cult of antiquarians." Today's preservationist is someone who wants to improve the quality of life in his or her own community; someone who is concerned about the rootlessness and erosion of community that threaten the very foundations of our society; someone who wants to maintain a connection with the past, who feels the need for a tangible link with something real and lasting and meaningful. It comes down to this: Preservation today is more than just buildings. It's about creating and enhancing environments that support, educate and enrich the lives of all Americans. Just as has been the case ever since Ann Pamela Cunningham rallied American women to save Mount Vernon in the 1850s, preser- vation today is rooted firmly in an appreciation of the value of history and tradition, but it is no longer concerned primarily with the past. It is essential to the quality of our life here and now, just as the authors of With Heritage So Rich hoped it would be. But if this book is a visionary blueprint for the future, it is also a sobering record of the mistakes and follies of the past. In the January/February 1966 issue of Historic Preservation, Helen Duprey Bullock noted the overriding message of the Special Committee's report: "From chapter to chapter the fact emerges...that as a nation we have been profligate with our inheritance from the past, and immoral in our responsibilities to the future."
  • 9. Sadly, that grim assessment is no less true today. Rapacious mega-scale programs such as urban renewal and interstate highway construction may have faded, but other threats, with equally disastrous consequences for America's historic resources, have grown up in their place. Perhaps the biggest of these is sprawl, which devours open space, drains people and economic life out of traditional neighborhoods and business districts, and forces communities into a wasteful and fiscally irresponsible duplication of services and infrastructure in out- lying areas while older neighborhoods are allowed to deterio- rate. Even more alarming, a growing body of grim evidence suggests that sprawl is eroding the very sense of community that helps bind us together as a people and as a nation. In 1966 no one could have foreseen that sprawl would replace urban renewal as the chief threat to the continued liv- ability ofAmerican communities, just as we cannot know what new issue will become the crucible in which a future genera- tion's preservation theories and practices are tested. One thing we can be sure of: whatever changes may come, the preserva- 8 tion movement must and will adapt itself to them - and the message of With Heritage So Rich will retain its timeliness. Building on the foundation laid by the authors of this book more than three decades ago, American preservationists helped rewrite government policy, helped modify longstand- ing patterns of behavior, helped change the way people thought about our heritage and its value in our lives. Today, as we continue our efforts to put the brakes on sprawl and encourage policies that promote smart growth and enhance the quality of life for everyone, our ranks are swelled by thou- sands of people who never thought the label "preservationist" applied to them - people who merely want communities that work, that are safe, attractive and truly livable. Working together, we can meet the challenge posed so elo- quently in With Heritage So Rich: We can inculcate the value of historic preservation as an ethic. We can change the face of America for the better. 1999
  • 10. INTRODUCTION TO THE 1983 EDITION Charles B. Hosmer, Jr. ''THIS IS Nor A MALL-TO-MALL MAGIC CARPET THAT will float us to Utopia, but it is the best chart we have ever had to guide us to a better destination." That "chart," as described by Editor Helen Duprey Bullock in the January-Februrary 1966 issue of the National Trust magazine, Historic Preservation, was With Heriage So Rich. In announcing publication of this important new book, Helen Bullock was cautiously optimistic. Today we are in a much better position to judge its effectiveness as a chart, for we view it from the vantage point of nearly two decades of increased awareness that the nation's historic and architectural heritage is indeed rich. The optimism voiced in 1966 by preservationists such as Helen Bullock was not premature or unfounded. Preservationists from private organizations and government agencies had finally united to propose a program that would create a means for saving large portions of America's built environment. The forces of destruction, both private and pub- lic, had helped forge a union of professionals and amateurs determined to surpass the accomplishments of European pre- servers. The blueprint for a revolution was finally set in type. 9 The recommendations offered in With Heritage So Rich proved to be the basis for the most important preservation law, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, to have been passed in the United States in 30 years- or in the years since then. The 1966 act declared that the preservation of America's irreplaceable historic and architectural heritage was to be the policy of the nation. Within a decade after 1966, cities and towns throughout the nation would be affected by new fed-
  • 11. eral and state preservation activities. Money would be avail- able for preservation and survey work, much of which would be administered by newly created state agencies. The de- fenders of historic buildings would find that they had new tools and great opportunities. A nationwide network of trained professionals was at last ready to carry out the task of preserving America's historic heritage. Never again would developers and federal planners propose the demolition of whole neighborhoods without encountering legal restrictions, hearings, advisory boards and the results of historical sur- veys. The 1966 act established preservation mechanisms that are in place today, helping create a national climate for pres- ervation and saving a rich variety of the nation's heritage. 30-YEAR SYNDROME When the 1966 act was passed, some preservationists ob- served that major Jaws addressing the preservation of historic sites had been passed at 30-year intervals. Each of these major preservation acts was supported by a study carried out by private individuals and each, when under consideration, gave rise to debates about which agency would administer the new federal program. The Antiquities Act of 1906, the first law to give the president the power to proclaim national monuments, was designed to protect Indian ruins and other scenic and historic sites located on public lands. But by the early 1930s there was still no broad federal policy for the identification, admin- istration and interpretation of historic sites. In 1933 Horace Albright, the second director of the National Park Service, helped persuade President Franklin D. Roosevelt to transfer by executive order all the military parks and national monu- ments to the Department of the Interior. Late in 1934 Sec- retary of the Interior Harold Ickes, with the help of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., hired J. Thomas Schneider, a lawyer, to make a study for a new law protecting historic sites. Schneider was expected to do two things at almost the same time: draft the new preservation law and make a European trip to gain an understanding of government preservation practices in other countries. This information was to be em- bodied in a report to the interior secretary. Schneider pre- sented to Secretary Ickes a draft of the Historic Sites Act in January 1935, just before he left for Europe. The bill passed without substantial changes and was signed into law in the summer of 1935. The Historic Sites Act was a great step forward in com- mitting the Department of the Interior to a program that went beyond a mere caretaker role. The act authorized the National Park Service to identify sites of national signifi- cance; if a site were found to be nationally significant, the 10 secretary of the interior could accept the property into the National Park Service. The act also provided for a national survey of historic sites and buildings to be used to assist a new advisory board in the selection and administration of historic sites. It also authorized the secretary of the interior to accept or acquire properties and proclaim them National Historic Sites. At the same time Congress created a National Park Service Trust Fund, which permitted private donations for the support of historical activities on government prop- erty. However, no large sum was appropriated for the pur- chase of such areas. Individual congressional appropriations provided for some acquisitions; other sites were donated or, in a few instances, taken from public lands. The projected national survey was a limited predecessor of the National Register of Historic Places, created by the 1966 act. During the brief life of the program (until its re- vival in the 1950s), the survey studies, carried out by a staff of four historians, were generally limited to sites proposed by members of Congress. After World War II started in Europe, priorities shifted. All Park Service appropriations had to go into projects already under way or into maintenance activi- ties; no more money was available for locating potentially important historic sites. During the 1940s the National Park Service was unable to carry out any survey work, major restoration or acquisi- tion of historic properties except where prewar appropriations were still available. Interested people inside the Department of the Interior, most notably Chief Historian Ronald F. Lee, began to press for the creation of an organization to promote preservation, an American National Trust modeled after the National Trust in Britain. In 1949 Congress chartered the National Trust for Historic Preservation to lead the private preservation movement. The National Trust soon undertook programs in education, property management, field services and publications. Under the early leadership of Frederick L. Rath, Jr., and Helen Bullock, the Trust became a symbol for preservationists throughout the United States, but the organi- zation's limited financial resources made travel and educa- tional work difficult. In the 1950s, despite the National Trust's meager re- sources, a new interest in historic preservation began to sweep across the nation. It was the decade of the cities. Although important municipal historic district ordinances had been enacted in the 1930s, only a few cities in the South and West were able to create preservation programs before World War II. Starting with Beacon Hill in Boston in the early 1950s, the interest in creating historic districts and landmarks commissions grew steadily in all parts of the country. The National Park Service, under Conrad Wirth, reentered the mainstream of preservation with Mission 66, a 10-year pro-
  • 12. gram for upgrading park facilities through which the poten- tial of the Historic Sites Act could finally be realized. As a result, the Historic American Buildings Survey, created in 1933 but dormant since 1941, was resurrected. A National Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings, covering 22 themes in American history, started again in the late 1950s with an adequate staff. In 1960 the secretary of the interior began designating selected buildings and sites as National Historic Landmarks-a direct outcome of the rejuvenated survey. Much of the money appropriated for Mission 66 went into improving National Park Service visitor centers, restoring and maintaining existing park buildings, establishing a master planning system for each of the parks and sponsoring re- search. The program was expressly designed to make up for nearly a decade of neglect, during which the sites so care- fully identified and restored in the 1930s were permitted to deteriorate. In the late 1950s and early 1960s a broader preservation constituency developed. The easing of cold-war tensions in the mid-1950s led to a congressional willingness to fund the National Park Service adequately for the first time in 15 years. As suburbs began to drain the middle class from urban areas, Americans who remained in cities began to value their neighborhoods more. In addition, a new interstate highway program begun during the Eisenhower administration posed a threat to numerous buildings, because in many cities it called for roads to be constructed in older neighborhoods. The fed- eral government itself began to upgrade its own facilities around the nation, thus threatening architecturally significant office buildings designed in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The destructive effects of urban renewal programs caused preservationists to unite to maintain the character of older towns. Historical administrators and philanthropists saw that the 1960s might bring tremendous destruction unless a legis- lative mandate could give preservationists the tools to fight the new forms of "progress." Uncommitted citizens had to be won over to the gospel of preservation and conservation. Attitudes toward preservation were gradually being changed. Public officials began to think in terms of preserving whole districts of distinctive buildings rather than isolated individual landmarks. As a result, preservation was becoming a planning process with broad ramifications for how American towns and cities would look and work. In the fall of 1963, the National Trust and Colonial Wil- liamsburg, in a conscious effort to gather preservationists from public and private agencies throughout the United States, sponsored a national conference on preservation in Williamsburg. The greatest concern of preservationists was their weakness in the face of the juggernauts of federal efforts to improve transportation and to renew decaying cities. The 11 federal government seemed to be working at cross-purposes: Although the Historic Sites Act called for a federal preserva- tion program, new initiatives put government officials in the business of destruction for the sake of "progress." The con- ferees in Williamsburg called for a broader national historic sites survey and better planning for urban growth. They dis- cussed proper restoration practices and the need for pro- fessional training in the field of historic preservation. The results of the conference later appeared as Historic Preserva- tion Today (published in 1966) . The recommendations contained in Historic Preservation Today did not fully anticipate a federally funded historical survey program administered by state agencies. The language deliberately refers to "historical" buildings, implying that only sites of considerable importance would be cataloged. The comments on professional training were equally narrow, centering mainly on the education of restoration architects. There remained a need to spell out goals for a new federal initiative that would broaden preservation beyond the study of limited historic sites toward the recognition of the larger national architectural patrimony that existed; that goal would be accomplished in the recommendations contained in With Heritage So Rich. In the summer of 1964, a small group of preservationists began to push for a new preservation law. Carl Feiss, an architect and planner with extensive experience in preserva- tion, enlisted the help of Laurance G. Henderson, a Wash- ington urban affairs lobbyist. Feiss and Henderson noted that Rep. Albert Rains (D-Ala.) and Sen. Edmund Muskie (D- Maine) were especially interested in urban issues and the need for better planning. Henderson sketched out a plan for a blue-ribbon committee that would travel to Europe to study how various governments were handling preservation; the study would culminate in a published report that would make possible a major legislative campaign for a new pres- ervation law in 1966. The timing was perfect. Feiss and Henderson put together a special committee on historic preservation that included as chairman Albert Rains (who was retiring from Congress) ; the National Trust offered staff support in drafting the initiative for new legislation. One important ally for the committee was John Gunther, executive director of the United States Conference of Mayors, who helped with both financing and planning the trip, sched- uled for October-November 1965. Money for the travel and publication of the report came in from Mellon philanthropies and the Ford Foundation. Robert R. Garvey, Jr., executive director of the National Trust, had, at a meeting in Poland to plan the formation of the International Council on Monu- ments and Sites, made invaluable contacts with preservation leaders from all over the world, and these associates assisted
  • 13. in setting up the fall tour for the preservation committee. Although the pace of activity for the next few months was hectic for many of those involved, the plan came into clear focus. The trip to Europe was a great success. While the majority of the committee members studied English houses, French palaces and the reconstructed city of Warsaw, Carl Feiss visited preservation agencies in each country. He found in The Hague an office that contained an index of every building considered historically important in the Nether- lands-a possible precedent for the National Register of His- toric Places. Gordon Gray, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Trust, became convinced that the need for preservation legislation in the United States had never been stronger. George Hartzog, the director of the National Park Service, saw what European governments were doing to pro- mote awareness of preservation. He believed that the Na- tional Park Service would be the ideal federal agency to carry out a similar program. Each participant became aware of what broad federal support could do for preservation. As the committee members sailed home, they discussed the outline of the report and the legislation that should follow. Carl Feiss had returned early to work with Helen Bullock and the authors who had been asked to write the report, now book length, that was to appear in January 1966. The month of December was devoted to a concentrated effort to produce a book that would give readers a clear message: The historic heritage of the United States deserved greater attention than it was then getting. The committee argued that the federal government should be responsible for assisting state and local governments in cataloging and preserving the cultural heri- tage reflected in American architecture. The recommenda- tions made in the report were similar in wording to the His- toric Preservation Act that Congress passed the next fall. The committee members and staff discussed the final loca- tion for the new preservation program in the federal gov- ernment. Robert Weaver, secretary of housing and urban development, thought that his office would be the appropriate place. George Hartzog, equally sure that the National Park Service should continue to coordinate all federal preserva- tion efforts, had precedent and professional staff to back up his claim. In 1906 and again in 1935 the Department of the Interior had been chosen as the arena for preservation leader- ship. Carl Feiss, fresh from his visit with the Dutch preserva- tionists, hoped that the Historic American Buildings Survey, the newly proposed Advisory Council on Historic Preserva- tion and the National Register could all be funded as a new agency to maintain a posture of independence for preserva- tion work. In the final hours of debate George Hartzog won another victory for the Park Service: Congress created a new office within the Interior Department to administer federal 12 archeology and historic preservation programs. The committee staff met the tight editorial deadlines for the book, with Helen Bullock and Carl Feiss often serving as ghost-writers. The publication of With Heritage So Rich in late January 1966 was cause for celebration, but much work remained to be done. The legislation had to be shepherded through both houses of Congress, an effort spearheaded by Gordon Gray and George Hartzog. At one point Gray had to plead with Rep. Howard Smith (D-Va.) to get the bill out of the Rules Committee. In spite of some skirmishes, the political and cultural climates were ripe for the new law. Final victory came in October 1966, with the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act. DECADE OF DECISION For preservationists, 1966 was a banner year. Chairman Gordon Gray's speech at the 1966 annual meeting of the National Trust was entitled "Decade of Decision." Gray, a principal actor in the drama that unfolded on Capitol Hill during the fall of 1966, noted that powerful new legislative tools had been put into the hands of the preservation com- munity, but whether these defenses could preserve the most important historic places in the face of prosperity and growth was not clear. There was real concern that the 1966 act would be ignored by preservationists and local officials. State governments might fail to prepare preservation plans that would enable them to cooperate with the Department of the Interior when grant funds became available. But the "Decade of Decision" had begun. The new preservation program went through several stages of development: years of financial starvation with steady building of precedents and organiza- tion, years of drafting and enacting laws and executive orders that broadened the scope and power of federal preservation programs and, most recently, a reevaluation of national pri- orities in terms of federal funding. Historians of the preservation movement will certainly characterize the decade preceding the Bicentennial as one of growth and accomplishment. The legal mandate and the pro- fessional resources were much stronger in 1966 than they had been in 1935. The 1966 act was the product of pros- perity, based on a concern for the destructive growth ethic in a society that was losing touch with its past. During this time many Americans began to question the materialism of a culture that was ruining its own environment for the pur- pose of achieving unlimited "progress." The act called for programs in all of the states with the idea that a true national survey could be carried out only on the state level under federal guidelines. The 1935 act had been too limited in its
  • 14. concentration on sites of national significance. Now "local significance" was sufficient reason for nominating a building or a district to the new National Register. To meet the mandate embodied in the new preservation law, planners, architects and historians active in preservation convened a second Williamsburg conference in March 1967 to follow up on the recommendations of the 1963 meeting. In a report entitled Historic Preservation Tomorrow, the con- ferees recommended that preservation's scope be extended to include districts and such diverse sites as industrial build- ings, gardens, open spaces and interiors. There was a call to go beyond the proposals of With Heritage So Rich and recognize that saving the historic built environment of the United States would be the responsibility of individuals, or- ganizations and government agencies. The survey proposals in With Heritage So Rich were fleshed out to include specific directions for forms, filing and use of survey results. Planning as a preservation tool had been mentioned in the 1966 book; the delegates expanded the earlier concept to propose guide- lines for restoration and maintenance of nonmuseum struc- tures. The Williamsburg group also mentioned two facets of education that needed investigation: the training of profes- sionals (such as architects) and the vital cultivation of public acceptance of preservation. Clearly, the same people who had advocated passage of the 1966 act were thinking vigor- ously about the implications of their legislative victory. With all their concern for the future of America's historic heritage, however, none of the preservationists at Williamsburg could have foreseen the great changes that lay ahead. Because no federal funding was available for the new pro- gram until 1968 and 1969, most of the immediate activity was restricted to the selection of the officials who would ad- minister the programs opened up by the 1966 act, such as the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the state historic preservation officers. The machinery would be in place when Congress saw fit to appropriate the money neces- sary for carrying out surveys and distributing preservation grants. No doubt many wondered if the act had been more theory than substance. But the time had come for a truly national preservation program, and the movement toward a fully funded federal effort was inevitable. Private preservation efforts were spurred by the growth in the National Trust membership and by the surveys mandated through the National Register process. Preservation was on its way to attracting a vast constituency. As sites of local significance received more attention, people across the United States saw that their cultural heritage was much broader than they had imagined- history was in their backyards. At the same time, public support for environ- mental causes grew as environmental projects made it clear 13 that our debt to future generations could not be ignored, in either the built or the natural environment. DECADE OF PROGRESS The National Trust celebrated the Bicentennial in 1976 by noting how far preservation had come during the decade that followed passage of the National Historic Preservation Act. In the foreword to the 1975-76 annual report, Chairman Carlisle Humelsine, alluding to Gordon Gray's 1966 speech, enthusiastically reported that the decade just ended was the "Decade of Progress" for preservation. Indeed, the "national plan of action" recommended by the special committee in With Heritage So Rich has largely been achieved in the years since 1966. A brief comparison of the committee's goals and the movement's progress in this short time, following, proves this point. A comprehensive statement of national policy should be developed to guide federal activities and programs. To the clear statement represented by the National Historic Preser- vation Act of 1966 has been added other legislation protect- ing historic properties from adverse federal action, such as the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Depart- ment of Transportation Act of 1966, Executive Order 11593 of 1971, which placed all federal agencies in the position of inventorying and caring for important buildings under their administration, and the 1980 amendments to the 1966 act. The committee urged in 1966 that greater emphasis be placed on government support of private preservation efforts. By the mid-1970s, more than 200 programs in 49 federal agencies were found to support or further preservation proj- ects; the governments of all states and U.S. territories had established state historic preservation offices; city and county governments had created 500 landmarks and historic district commissions; and many municipalities had started their own preservation offices or programs. Government support of preservation continued to grow through 1980, when retrench- ments throughout the federal government began to cause reverberations and cutbacks in government preservation pro- grams at all levels. An Advisory Council on Historic Preservation should be established. This council, now an independent agency, has since 1967 reviewed more than 16,000 cases in which federal actions posed potential harm to historic sites, in addition to providing guidance on preservation to the president and Congress; more than 186,000 federal projects have been reviewed by the state historic preservation offices. An expanded National R egister of Historic Places should be developed. From the late 1960s, when it included only
  • 15. 1,200 properties considered to be of national importance, the National Register had grown by 1982 to include more than 27,000 listings of local and state as well as national signifi- cance, including 2,500 districts representing approximately 250,000 individual buildings. State registers now include additional sites and buildings. The federal government should acquire threatened sites of national importance and modify its urban renewal pro- grams to include preservation activities. The government did acquire some major historic properties in the late 1960s. It also set up, through the U.S. Department of the Interior, an endangered properties program administered by the National Trust. A turnaround in the national policy on urban renewal helped reduce the clearance of deteriorated but historic neighborhoods and evolved into such current programs as the Community Development Block Grants and Urban De- velopment Action Grants of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which have been used to aid preser- vation indirectly. Federal loans and grants should help expand state and local preservation programs. Since the first grants-in-aid to the states were awarded in 1969 by the Interior Department, more than $275 million has been provided to help the states survey their historic resources, develop state preservation plans and aid restoration of individual properties. Additional funds have been awarded to state and local programs by such agencies as HUD, the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum Services. Federal financial aid should be given to the National Trust. Beginning in 1968, the Trust has received more than $46 million in Interior Department grants-in-aid, which it has used to assist local projects and support its advisory and educational programs; in addition, the Trust has sought and has been awarded specific project grants from other federal agencies to solve problems ranging from Main Street re- vitalization to designing new buildings next to old ones. Not every step recommended by the committee has been adopted or has been successful, however, since preservation has not yet achieved the status of a mainstream national concern. The preservation-sensitive tax policies called for in 1966 were codified on the federal level only in 1976 and then only for commercial or income-producing properties. Owners of private historic properties still await a more preservation-favorable tax climate, although limited state and local benefits and federal deductions for easement donations are available. The training of preservation professionals and architects has not been strengthened through federal aid, with the exception of such programs as fellowships offered by the National Endowment for the Arts. Architects, many of whom now work primarily in rehabilitation because of 14 the slowdown in new construction, still need better guidance in the special requirements of restoring old buildings. Some surplus federal historic property, rather than being trans- ferred to the National Trust as recommended, has been turned over to local governments and nonprofit organizations (although even this limited program was suspended in 1981). Federal matching grants to the National Trust never reached the balance suggested: two-thirds federal funds, one-third Trust funds. The federal government did not seek, or was not asked to accept, the right of first refusal to save "second category" National Register properties threatened with sale or demolition. But in other ways the hopes of the preservationists of the 1960s were realized when, on December 12, 1980, significant amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act were signed. Many of the ambiguities in the 1966 law were cleared up, and the federal-state relationship appeared to become a more healthy partnership. Local governments were author- ized to participate in the National Register process, while state governments were given much clearer standards for operating their programs. Two significant existing programs gained legislative definition-the National Historic Land- marks Program and Executive Order 11593 of 1971, which was strengthened by the 1980 amendments to require federal agencies to care for their own historic properties. Beginning with fiscal year 1982, however-with a new ad- ministration and new economic climate-the federal budget requests for the national preservation program and efforts to change federal protective regulations ushered in a precipitate reversal of the direction in which the program had been heading since the 1960s. Interior Department funding for the state preservation programs and the National Trust was "zeroed out"-eliminated-in the administration's requests. Only through the diligent and fast action of the new national preservation network, supported by preservation friends in Congress, was the funding saved in 1982 and 1983. Programs that since the 1960s have indirectly worked to revitalize buildings, neighborhoods and cities-such as housing, con- servation, training and economic development-have been reduced or eliminated. Support for the rehabilitation of com- mercial property using the federal investment tax credit re- mains popular; it makes economic sense. But in proposing cuts in aid to the state preservation offices, which help certify projects for the tax benefits, even this preservation program was endangered. The rewriting and dismantling of regulations meticulously drafted in the past two decades to protect his- toric and natural landmarks represented another sudden reversal for preservation. The preservation community is continually faced with such challenges. Can programs mandated by law be operated
  • 16. without money? Can voters be led to see the value of federal and state grants and tax incentives that spur rehabilitation? Is preservation securely in the mainstream of American thinking? But in spite of the public cry for reduced spend- ing on the federal level, a vast constituency has developed for preservation just as it has for the conservation of other scarce resources. The United States must move from being a consumptive society toward being a conserving society. Many preservation leaders are determined to follow that current and convince the public and government officials that old buildings deserve consideration as an undervalued resource. Probably there will be continual debates on the most effective way to direct the national preservation effort. But the most important con- sideration will be the maintenance of a broad national con- sensus on the value of older buildings. It is wise to pause and look at what the pioneers of the current preservation movement accomplished, and there is no more effective way to do this than to reread With Heritage So Rich, including its specific recommendations. We preser- vationists can ask ourselves many questions about our own approach to saving elements of the past as we scan the examples selected in 1966 to typify America's architectural heritage. The book's perspective- a natural product of an era of great prosperity, cheap resources and the presence of federal programs to eliminate poverty-may seem overly optimistic to readers today. But the idealism of the 1960s may fire us to sustain the fight for the historic heritage that can enrich us all. One benefit of looking back to the goals of With Heritage So Rich will certainly be a recognition of how far we have come. Look at the statistics given to the readers in the 1960s; the budgets shown for several museums are minimal by the standards of a later era. Although some of the buildings that were threatened at the time of the 1966 act are still the object of preservation efforts, the amount of important architecture that has been cataloged and protected is im- pressive. The process of surveying the whole country has made us more sensitive than ever to humble buildings and to commercial structures that at one time would not have been considered a valuable part of our national heritage. Before 15 the mid-1960s the efforts to save buildings and districts had been mainly an emotional response to specific emergencies that arose. The authors of With Heritage So Rich placed historic districts in the forefront of preservation efforts. The special committee proposed that a "national plan" replace the heavy dependence on uncoordinated private activity, and it was correct in asserting that future preservationists would operate in a new context-government leadership-in an effort to integrate preservation into the planning process. The time has come to use this book as a standard to judge how far we have progressed in coordinating preservation activities on all levels-local, state and national. We must face again the difficult decisions about budgets, especially when confronted with cutbacks in federal expenditures. We have to assess which agencies are best able to lead the preservation effort in this country. Some will continue to question the placement of preservation programs in the Department of the Interior and the lack of a new preservation agency. Some of us will look back on the writing of With Heritage So Rich as a heroic period. We look for public figures of the stature of Gordon Gray to come forth to lead the future battles in the halls of Congress, for leaders like George Hartzog and Ronald Lee of the National Park Service to build up a clear preservation program in the federal government, for people with the planning and writing experience offered by Helen Bullock and Carl Feiss. But a large number of experienced and trained preservationists are succeeding them in taking up the cause all over the nation, challenging all of us to think deeply about a philosophy of preservation. They know and understand the laws and fed- eral regulations that have been enacted since 1966. Many of them participated in the successful effort to amend the His- toric Preservation Act in 1980. Their victories have been the result of realistic lobbying and careful drafting of legis- lation. The work done by the special committee in 1965 and 1966 has provided a firm foundation for preservation. The members' monuments, to paraphrase Sir Christopher Wren, are all around us if we only look for them. And if it is indeed true that major preservation steps have come in 30-year intervals, then 1996 should portend good things for preser- vation.
  • 18. FOREWORD ER TWO YEARS I HAYE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF LIVING in one of the great historic homes of the United States. Daily the lives of the President and of my whole family have been affected by tangible mementoes of earlier Chief Executives and their families. The experience has driven home to me the truth that the buildings which express our national heritage are not simply interesting. They give a sense of continuity and of heightened reality to our thinking about the whole meaning of the American past. I was dismayed to learn from reading this report that almost half of the twelve thousand structures listed in the Historic American Buildings Survey of the National Park Service have already been destroyed. This is a serious loss and it underlines the necessity for prompt action if we are not to shirk our duty to the future. We must preserve and we must preserve wisely. As the report emphasizes, in its best sense preservation does not mean merely the setting aside of thousands of buildings as museum pieces. It means retaining the culturally valuable 17 structures as useful objects: a home in which human beings live, a building in the service of some commercial or com- munity purpose. Such preservation insures structural integ- rity, relates the preserved object to the life of the people around it, and, not least, it makes preservation a source of positive financial gain rather than another expense. In the beautification work in which many of us are now engaged, we try to carry on our activities within the sturdy American tradition which seeks the beautiful which is also useful. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson may have
  • 19. disagreed politically. They emphatically agreed, however, that a garden was one of the most "rational" of pursuits because, while throwing a glow of color and charm on everything around it, it also provided food for the body and a place of repose and reflection for the mind. May this tradition of usefulness guide all our beautification work, including that specific important form of beautification, the retention and rehabilitation of our buildings of special historic significance. 18 I hope that many Americans will read this thoughtful and spirited volume and consider seriously what they can do to help bring its message to fulfillment. The report points out that a number of European countries have long since under- taken extensive programs for protecting the national heritage in highly practical ways. We, blessed with so exciting and meaningful a heritage, should hardly be less active.
  • 20. PREFACE ALBERT RAINS, Chairman and LAURANCE G. HENDERSON' Director Q SEPTEMBER 15, 1687, A VENETIAN BOMB FELL ON A Turkish powder keg and blew the Parthenon to pieces. The Venetians who did the bombarding and the Turks who used the Parthenon for a powder magazine did not intend its destruction. But the act of war was decisively final. An edifice which had stood for over 2,000 years as one of the supremeworks of Athenian culture, lay in ruins. We do not use bombs and powder kegs to destroy irreplace- able structures related to the story of America's civilization. We use the corrosion of neglect or the thrust of bulldozers. The result is the same as in the case of the Parthenon. Places where great Americ~n voices were heard, or where great acts of valor were performed, are lost. Connections between successive gen- erations of Americans- concretely linking their ways of life- are broken by demolition. Sources of memory cease to exist. Why then are we surprised when surveys tell us that many Americans, young and old, lack even a rudimentary knowledge of the national past? We ourselves create the blank spaces by doing nothing when the physical signs of our previous national life are removed from our midst. The Special Committee on Historic Preservation was formed 19 to explore this harsh reality, and to suggest ways of dealing with it. Members of the Committee have served or continue to serve in various posts at all levels of government, but it is a privately organized body disinterested in all but its objectives in the realm of knowledge. We on the committee have wanted to know what is happen- ing in the field of historic preservation; the present trends in saving what can be saved, and the losses from destroying what deserves to be saved. We have tried to discover what we must do to rescue from certain destruction what remains of our leg- acy from the past, and how best to do that rescue work. We have sought advice in this matter from sources which command respect. We have consulted with members of the
  • 21. Executive Branch whose various programs-whether in the field of housing, urban renewal, road construction, national parks and the like-have a direct bearing on historic preserva- tion. We have travelled extensively abroad to consult with Europeans and to draw from their experiences such knowledge as can be applied to the American case. We have had the bene- fit of help rendered by an expert technical staff. We are grateful to all these, and to the Ford Foundation and a generous anony- mous donor whose grants of funds made the whole of this project possible. While the heads of all the Federal departments and agencies whose programs affect historic preservation served as ex-officio members of the Committee, the Committee itself assumes sole and full responsibility for what appears in this report. Much research, many trips, long debates, and above all, an ardent love of country, have gone into its preparation and publication. For the Committee is convinced that an action program for historic preservation cannot be a piecemeal affair or a series of straitjackets. It must be both comprehensive and flexible. It must be designed to allow each interested private and public 20 party to play a role commensurate with his own rights, duties and resources. The report, therefore, suggests in broad terms certain prac- tical avenues of approach to the problem of conserving places and objects of value in our individual communities and in the nation as a whole. We have not attempted to write the details of any law or laws which are necessary if a program of historic preservation is to attain the object for which it is framed. City councils, state legislatures and the Congress of the United States are and must be the source of the necessary laws. Each of these legislative bodies, in the light of its own be$t judgment and within the sphere of its own jurisdiction, has an essential part of its own to play in constructing a legal foundation for undertakings in historic preservation. The Committee, on its own part, hopes that the body of fact it has assembled and the guidelines for action it has set forth, will materially assist our different legislative organs in the dis- charge of law-making functions they alone can perform. The case is urgent. May the legislative response be both thoughtful and resolute. 1966
  • 22. 21
  • 24. EMPIRE FOR LIBERTY Sidney Hyman Land without population is a wilderness, and population without land is a mob. The United States has many social, political, and economic questions, some old, some new, to settle in the near future; but none so fundamental as the true relation of the land to the national life. The first act in the progress of any civilization is to provide homes for those who desire to sit under their own vine and fig tree. JAMES J . HILL A NATION CAN BE A VICTIM OF AMNESIA. IT CAN LOSE the memories of what it was, and thereby lose the sense of what it is or wants to be. It can say it is being "progressive" when it rips up the tissues which visibly bind one strand of its history to the next. It can say it is only getting rid of "junk" in order to make room for the modern. What it often does instead, once it has lost the graphic source of its mem- ories, is to break the perpetual partnership that makes for orderly growth in the life of a society. It is true that small scale things, even important things, can be done by a single generation. It is all the more true, however, that a piece of work cast on an heroic scale needs the labor of generations. It needs the consecutive efforts of grandfathers, fathers and grandsons, "bound in a partnership not only be- tween those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are about to be born." Each generation, by the terms of the partnership, still has a right to express what is unique in itself. Each still has a right to meet its own needs in its own style. But each builds best in its own day when it pays a decent respect to the past and future, and frames its own work to fit in between the growing ends of both. 23 What we want to conserve, therefore, is the evidence of in- dividual talent and tradition, of liberty and union among suc- cessive generations of Americans. We want the signs of where we came from and how we got to where we are, the thoughts we had along the way and what we did to express the thoughts in action. We want to know the trails that were walked, the battles that were fought, the tools that were made. We want to know the beautiful or useful things that were built and the originality that was shown, the adaptations that were made and the grace-notes to life that were sounded. We want to know the experiments in community living that were tried and the lessons that were taught by a brave failure as well as by a brave success.
  • 25. It is all these things and more like them that we want to keep before our eyes as part of our lived life as a people, and as connecting links between a past which millions of Americans helped make and a future which we must continue to make. THE TURNING POINT Yet how can one convey in a few words all there is to see, re- member and retain of the partnership among American genera- tions? Where can the account begin? What should be put into the story and what left out? A thousand books would not be enough for the telling, while only a focal point is possible here, and a single starting date must be chosen from any number of equally valid choices. Let the starting date be the year 1800 when Thomas Jeffer- son was elected President of the United States, for it was in consequence of his Presidency and that of his hand-picked heir, James Madison, that America began an adventure in nation- building that was without precedent in human history. Many theorists, some ancient, some fairly new, could be cited to prove in advance that the adventure was doomed. There was Plato who had said that the size of a democracy must be limited to the number of people standing in one place who can hear a speaker's voice. There was Montesquieu who had said that a republic worked best in a limited territory, and was ill-suited for the government of an empire. There was also Adam Smith who had said that "a man is of all sorts of luggage the most difficult to be transportable." The American, however, had a special theory of his own, and a temperament to go with it. He said that Life was larger than Logic, and he felt that a man finds his best ideals in his obstacles. He had thus brought the Republic to birth despite all high and mighty logicians who told him that he must bend his strength to the end of having everything stand still. By a law of "natural selection," he presently drew to himself a vast congregation of men and women who shared his special theory, this temperament, and who also could not stand still. Specifically, in the century between the end of the War of 1812 and the onset ofthe First World War in 1914, some fifty million people left their native Europe to seek new homes in other lands, and of this number fully three-fifths came to the United States. They were called "immigrants," where their pre-Revo- lutionary War counterparts had been called "settlers," and it took a man like Theodore Roosevelt to make a joke out of the distinction. The term "settler" said he, was "a euphemistic name for an immigrant who came over in the steerage of a sail- ing ship in the seventeenth century instead of the steerage of a steamer in the nineteenth century." In any case, by whatever name the waves of newcomers were called- and some, at first had a harsh sound- they and their descendants interlaced their 24 energies with the American population descended from pre- Revolutionary War colonizers. So joined, they made every day in America another "moving day" in a westerly migration whose scope dwarfed the total of all the known tribal migra- tions on the Eurasian land mass. It was commonly said of them collectively that "if Hell lay in the West, Americans would cross Heaven to reach it." It could just as well have been said that they were on the constant look-out for a short-cut through Hell in order to reach a Heaven in the West, whether by a water route or overland. With so much land that was vacant, the American could not be expected to be content with what he happened to possess. Somewhere on some unspecified point on the far horizon was the perfect one-hundred-and-sixty-acre-tract. It was made just for him at the beginning of time, and it was lying in wait just for him to find and possess. It had just the right balance between meadows, forests and arable soil. It had a clearer spring for water, a closer river for transportation, a more sheltered and better-drained spot for a home, more wild game for meat, fewer crows to de- vour his seed grain and no hostile Indians. If the perfect tract could not be found in Kentucky, try Ohio. If not Ohio, try Illinois. If not Illinois, try Iowa. The individual's search for the perfect one hundred and sixty acres often had its matching piece in the American's re- current dream about the perfect community in which he wanted to live and help build. If it entailed wandering beyond the boundaries of existing civilization, the gain would be an unde- filed stretch of earth where a new-style community could give form and force to his ideal. It might be an ideal of religious (or non-religious ) life. It might be an ideal about the modes of work best suited to man, and how best to organize production and distribution. It might be an ideal of social justice. What- ever it was, it was worth a try. And if it turned out in the end that there was a gulf between the ideal and the real, well, so be it. There was no lack of other experiments in community living for him to try out. Suddenly, though, the continent had been spanned, and the frontier that had run parallel to the ground for so long, as befit a predominantly agricultural society, shot upward in the verti- cal frontier of an industrialized and urban society. Village crafts which once produced for a local market had become giant and complex factories producing for consumers the world over, and the place where the village stood had become a giant megalopolis. But towering over everything else was the tremen- dous fact about the American Republic. The union of men, materials, motives, temperaments, convictions-and a kindly Providence-had made of the Republic something unique in the story of man on earth. Here was an infinitely varied people spread in greater number over a greater distance than was the case with the Roman Empire at its height. Here was the first
  • 26. continental democracy, organized along federal lines, differing in its components yet strong in the center. Here was an empire for liberty. Here was a human patriotism distilled from the sum of national and local prides. APPROACH MARCH TO A NATION OF NATIONS But how did things stand in the year 1800? By then, the effort to populate what had become the United States of America had been going on for almost two centuries. Many countries with odd-lot motives-and many odd-lot "cor- porations" and individuals with motives of their own-had played a part in this effort. Yet in the year 1800-when the population of the British Isles was more than 15 million, and that of the French Republic was more than 25 million-the United States contained only 5.3 million people. Of these, one- fifth were Negro slaves. Of the 4.5 million free whites, less than one million were able-bodied male adults. Of the total popula- tion, two-thirds clung to the Atlantic seaboard within fifty miles of tidewater where alone the wants of civilized life could be supplied from various urban centers like Boston, with a population of 23,000, New York with a population of 63,000, or Philadelphia with a population of 70,000. Nowhere did eastern settlements touch the western. At least one hundred miles of mountainous country held the two regions everywhere apart. The shores of Lake Erie, where alone con- tact seemed easy, were still unsettled. Wc:stern New York still remained a wilderness. Buffalo was not laid out. Rochester did not exist. Utica contained fifty houses, mostly small and tem- porary. Albany was still a Dutch city with some five thousand inhabitants. In the region that lay between the western slopes of the Appalachians and the Mississippi River, Indians still repre- sented formidable obstacles to further advances. Powerful con- federacies of Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws and Choctaws lived and hunted where the states of Mississippi, Alabama and the western parts of Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky were to extend. In areas that were to form the later states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and one-third of Ohio, there were Wyandottes and Shawnees, Miamis, Kickapoos and other tribes, who could raise in the aggregate a force of some five thousand warriors to fight or hunt. In the south and the north alike, the Indians were ready to offer sharp resistance to any invasion on their domain, exacting life for life, and yielding only as their warriors perished. In this they were being encour- aged in the south by the Spanish authorities based in the Florida and Louisiana territories, and in the north by the English authorities in Canada. Nature itself, however, had created four routes for a flow of traffic from the eastern settlements into the West. To the south, 25 one rocky route ran from Alexandria to Richmond and from Richmond through the Cumberland Gap into the Kentucky country. It was along this trail that Daniel Boone had blazed the way as early as 1769, and in the course of time it had been widened to a wagon road. A second route lay westward from Alexandria over the mountains and across the Great Kanawha to Boonesboro. In the middle region, three roads, starting from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Alexandria respectively, con- verged on Pittsburgh, where the wide waters of the Ohio River offered the emigrant an easy journey into the far country. To the north the Genesee road, beginning at Albany, ran almost due west through level country to Buffalo, on Lake Erie, the principal gateway into the upper reaches of the Northwest Territory. For a time, the Cumberland road held the primacy. The region into which it led was at the beginning under the govern- ments of Virginia and North Carolina. The road itself was very near the back door of the upland farmers in those states and it beckoned them on to a more fertile soil than their plowshares had so far broken. Moreover, the advance of slave-owning planters from the coast exerted a steady pressure on them, driving them to escape by the Cumberland route from that in- vasion. On this account, of the 500,000 inhabitants who formed a human wedge driven through the Appalachians into Ken- tucky and Tennessee with its apex at Nashville and its flanks covered by the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, the majority were men from Virginia and the Carolinas. Toward the closing years of the eighteenth century, the routes that first converged on Pittsburgh-not without difficul- ties-had begun to gather an ever-larger portion of the west- ward traffic. For as soon as the immigrant family arrived at the headwaters of the Ohio, it could buy almost any kind of boat for the remainder of the trip-a light canoe for two or three, or a ten-ton barge that would carry a score of passengers with household goods, wagons, plows and cattle down the river to the landing points nearest the chosen destination. Since the approach to Pittsburgh lay closest to the settlements of Mary- land, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it was the immigrants from these states who were most likely to travel the Ohio River route. Another factor contributed to the increase in favor for this route toward the close of the eighteenth century. Until the establishment of the new federal government in 1789, settlers in the region south of the Ohio had been compelled to do their work under the protection of Virginia and North Carolina state governments. The protection was sketchy at best, and the result led to encounters with Indians that made Kentucky and Ten- nessee a "dark and bloody ground." But not long after his inauguration, President Washington, himself a large holder of western lands, took vigorous measures to organize military ex- peditions against the Indians on the frontier. His commander,
  • 27. General Anthony Wayne, after many clashes, brought the lead- ing chieftains to their knees, forcing them in 1795 to sign a treaty which cleared the eastern and southern portions of the Western Reserve and Northwest Territory for white settlement. Grim days, however, still lay ahead. Meanwhile, the domain of the Western Reserve had been retained as a kind of lien held by Connecticut when it surren- dered to the Union its historic land claims. Thus while set- tlers from other states would leave their mark on the Western Reserve, it was the Connecticut Yankees and their Massachu- setts cousins who were in a position to leave the greatest mark. They began to do just that, step by step, in line with General Wayne's work of pacification in the eastern and southern por- tions of the region. A case in point was Moses Cleaveland who blazed a path to the shores of Lake Erie, and in 1796 estab- lished a post that was destined to grow into a great city. Other Connecticut Yankees and their Massachusetts cousins would be flooding the Western Reserve-and after that, the North- west territory-by the approach march of the Genesee Road running between Albany and Buffalo. After that, with the pre- cision of a drilled army on parade, the town meeting, the Con- gregational Church, steady-going habits and Massachusetts thrift would be reproduced beyond the mountains once land- hungry sons and daughters of the Puritans began in earnest their rapid advance across northern Ohio, Indiana and lllinois, upward into southern Michigan and Wisconsin and westward toward the great plains. But this would come after 1800, by the route of the Erie Canal as well as the Genesee Road. Taking the population picture of the country as a whole as it appeared in 1800, America had recovered a fraction of an estimated 300,000 American Tories loyal to the British Crown, who had voluntarily left the country or had been driven out of it, some to England, some to Canada. On the other hand, the infiow of wholly new settlers from European shores had been slowed down to a trickle for successive reasons. There was the world turmoil attending the waging of the Revolutionary War. There was America's civil turmoil following the winning of independence, while independence itself brought to an end the English colonial practice of sentencing English convicts to labor for a period of years under a colonial master in America. Then, too, there was the difficulty of reaching the lands avail- able for settlement on the western side of the Appalachian mountains- and in the turmoil to be encountered if those lands were reached. On top of everything else was the trump reason. It was the onset of the French Revolution which spread a con- tagion of worldwide war that would rage for a generation. The immediate American byproduct of that world war was the Louisiana Purchase, which removed French power from the North American mainland, gave America control of the Mississippi River, and brought within American possession a 26 tremendous empire fanning out and up from the west bank of the Mississippi River. The further American byproduct of that world war was the War of 1812, whose dismal episodes have tended to obscure the triumphant consequences. The war at its end had produced a set of conditions in which the hostile Indian barrier to westward advance had for all practical purposes been removed throughout the Mississippi Valley. At the same time, it had removed Great Britain as a harassing agent in the north- erly part of the region, led to the demilitarization of the U. S.- Canadian border and its clear demarcation up to the Oregon Territory. It had also put Spain in a frame of mind in which it sold the Floridas to the United States in 1819. Still farther, the worldwide war which had engaged and drained Spain's energies made it possible for her colonies in the Western Hemisphere to stage successful revolutions which led to their independence. In this way, Mexico would win her independence and include within her domain the whole of the American Southwest and California, a portion of the domain to fall later to the United States by insurgency, annexation and the Mexican War. Beginning with the Louisiana Purchase, then, a tremendous area would await settlement, not only by the descendants of the original American colonists, but by newcomers from Europe, once the end of the Napoleonic Wars gave them an opportunity and a spur to start life anew in the United States. As of 1800, however, the ethnic picture of the American population-save for the loss of the American Tories-was roughly what it had been in 1776. The previous preponderence of the English had served to make English the common lan- guage, and to fix governmental institutions and political ideals in an English mold, subject to Americanization. This, in a sense, was the supreme strategic achievement of the "great" migration of 20,000 English Puritans into early New England, and the 150,000 Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who arrived in the eighteenth century and settled in nearly five hundred scattered communities. But as of 1776, fully half the population outside of New England was of non-English background-which ex- plains why Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams jointly proposed that the official seal of the United States bear the national emblems of England, Scotland, Ire- land, Germany, Holland and France. In this way, said they, the seal would point out the countries from which these states had been peopled. Though the three men had overlooked a bit of Sweden and Switzerland, and though in any case other counsels prevailed, the point they had in mind was essentially correct. Men and women from Holland who had colonized New York, and those from Sweden who had helped colonize Delaware had been forcibly absorbed by English power. French Huguenots had settled in virtually all the colonies after the Edict of Nantes had been revoked, while some 200,000 Germans had congregated
  • 28. in the new sections of New York and in the Pennsylvania back country, where they gave rise to the strain called the "Pennsyl- vania Dutch." There were also congregations of Spanish and Portuguese Jews in Atlantic coast port cities who reached America by way of various stepping stones, and who had woven trading links with Spanish and Portuguese outposts in the New World. As in the years before 1776, a religious or political motive was often present among the trickle of newcomers who reached America in the years that intervened between 1776 and 1800. So it would often be in all the decades that followed . But the economic urge, operating independently or as a stiffening agent to religious and political conviction, was responsible for most of the settlers. Continuing the pre-1776 pattern, most of the settlers were the poor of Europe. They were the day laborer, the peasant, the artisan and the shopkeeper rather than the nobleman, the squire, the great merchant. Religious or political persecution, or an unusual chance to acquire wealth, might induce a member of the upper middle class to transplant himself in America. But in the main, Amer- ica continued to be peopled by the underprivileged who could not even afford to pay for their own passage to America from English and Continental ports. They sold their services to a merchant or ship captain in lieu of paying the transportation fare. Then, after an ocean voyage where they were jam-packed aboard ship under conditions where as many as 50 per cent of them might die en route, they were auctioned off on arrival to the highest bidder for a term of labor extending from two to seven years. People of this description had composed fully half of the total migration before 1776, and the labor-contract sys- tem still prevailed in 1800-and would continue to prevail in some states until the third decade of the nineteenth century. Meanwhile, along the fifty-mile strip of tidewater where the bulk of the American population was to be found in 1800, home construction and town planning had passed through their primitive stages. They continued to show, as in 1776, the dif- ferences successive groups of settlers had imported from their points of origin in Europe, subject to modification by local fac- tors of climate, building materials, concepts of communal life and their economic underpinning. It is not possible here to detail all the differences or everything that remains of what was done in the seed-time years of the American Republic. But a picture, drawn in broad strokes, and arranged roughly in the chronological sequence that marked the process by which re- gions were first opened for colonization, would look like this: THE VIRGINIA AND MARYLAND COAST At an early date in the history of the Virginia and Maryland colonies, their legislatures at the request of the Crown had passed various "New Town Acts." These designated the sites 27 for towns, established the method of land acquisition and land valuation, provided for their layout, and made provision for disposition of town lots. The motives stemmed from a desire to promote town life generally as the best means of stimulating the development in the two colonies and the wish to control trade and customs collections for the mother country. Towns which exist to this day-Yorktown, Petersburg, Fredericks- burg, Williamsburg, Alexandria and Annapolis-had their seminal source in the ideas that lay behind the "New Town Acts" of colonial times. In the main, however, the "New Town Acts" failed to con- jure up actual towns, and the reasons why not were closely related. First, the Virginia-Maryland coast line was bisected at frequent intervals by rivers that were navigable for many miles inland by the largest merchant ships in general use-a 250- to 400-tonner at the most. Since there were so many excellent and protected anchorages to choose from-and no single site had any marked advantage over the others-the colonial legisla- tures of Virginia and Maryland were caught in on-going dead- locks and made no decisions whatever about the specific places where a New Town would actually be laid out and built. Second, the adoption of tobacco as the dominant product of Virginia and Maryland for a growing market in England, had led to a dispersed pattern of settlement in the form of large plantations. Based on slave labor, these proved the most eco- nomical and efficient methods of tobacco production. Then as the plantation system matured, individual plantations-almost invariably located close to tidewater channels-became small communities themselves with their own docks and other port facilities, warehouses, shops, slave quarters and the plantation house. The plantation system did not need any "public" kind of commercial, financial and industrial center. And it was perhaps for this reason that Thomas Jefferson, in his Notes on the State of Virginia, extolled the "moral" virtues of agriculture as a way of life and excoriated the "corrupting" influences of city life. The plantation system, however, did need government where titles to land could be recorded, where cases could be argued before a court, where the arm of civil order could be centered, and the means for the common defense mustered. As the county was the basic unit of local government, when towns refused to spring up naturally as county seats, the solution to the needs just mentioned lay in constructing county buildings in as central a location within the county as was possible. Accordingly, such buildings presently came into existence to form a compound in a rural setting. Some eventually became the centers of present-day Virginia towns, as in the case of Gloucester. Others, such as Virginia's King William Court- house, stand today as solitary sentinels, symbolic of govern- ment. The typical compound was surrounded by a brick wall,
  • 29. inside of which were a courthouse, a jail, a clerk's office, and a row of lawyer's offices. The nearby tavern or ordinary was always part of the complex and often served as a courthouse while the latter was being constructed. The tavern, inn and jail had a year-round use. On the whole, however, these little ad- ministrative and legal communities came to life only when the court was in session or other sporadic governmental activities occurred. State capitals were another matter. Before the Revolutionary War, Georgian architecture had formed the core buildings found in state capitals. But after the Revolutionary War, there was a natural tendency to give effect in building to the inde- pendence and vigor of the new Republican state, and a more monumental type of state capital was developed as architects went farther afield in their inspiration. The new capitol at Richmond as designed by Thomas Jeffer- son was founded on the plan of the Maison Carree in Nimes, France; while the new capitol in Washington by Dr. William Thornton was based on the Palladian plans of English country mansions. Here and there, traces of what would presently be called the "Greek Revival" were visible, but the full force of the revival would not be felt in America until the nineteenth cen- tury was under way. Finally, if the county compounds expressed the form of government that seemed natural to the plantation system in Virginia and Maryland, while the new-style capital buildings expressed the independence of the new Republic, the master's house on the great plantations reflected the social and economic .basis of that system. The architectural "envelope" had become formal, balanced, aristocratic, with extended plans, many guest rooms and detached units. It made little difference how far the kitchen might be from the dining room, or how many fireplaces were needed to warm the whole of a house. There were plenty of servants to take the steps from the kitchen, bearing food and to tend the fireplaces when there was a chill in the air. There were also plenty of servants to tend to the area immediately surrounding the manor house with its meadows, sweeping views, rows of trees and gardens. Surviving Virginia examples of the maritime plantation houses include, besides George Washington's Mount Vernon, George Mason's Gunston Hall, Benjamin Harrison's Berkeley near Charles City, Westover of William Byrd II, William Byrd Harrison's Brandon and Carter Burwell's Carter's Grove. NEW ENGLAND New England towns and villages, even though they had passed through. their rough-hewn days, still continued to show in 1800 the imprint of social forms, ideas and needs that marked their establishment. It is worth saying here, that the "general welfare" clause in 28 the Federal Constitution of 1789 had one of its early roots in the Mayflower Compact by which the Puritans bound them- selves together to promote "the common weal." The individual had rights of his own, but the "common weal" bore within itself the idea of community effort on behalf of those objects needed by and common to all individuals. Nor was this piece of phras- ing just a rhetorical flourish. As a minority religious sect that had been persecuted in England, the Puritans had learned that they could survive only through mutual assistance, and this truth was reconfirmed by the needs they faced in the harsh environment of the hew world where they planted their first colonies. By coincidence, the land tenure system with which they were familiar in England, had a form with mutual assistance through communal effort. Specifically, the original Puritan settlers in New England were largely drawn from the English countryside where feudal concepts of community organization and modes of agricultural production still held sway. In that countryside the farmer lived in a village while the strip of field he personally worked as a tenant or freeholder, along with the field he had access to in common with other farmers, lay on the outskirts of the village. The pattern was transplanted on New England soil. Unlike the vast plantation in the South, or the isolated farmstead that was to be the hallmark of later settlement practices in farmer areas to the west of the Appalachian Mountains, the New Eng- land agricultural community centered on the village. All or nearly all farmers lived in it in a relatively compact community and daily went to their fields that stretched outward from the cluster of buildings. Whereas the county was the basic unit of local government in the South, the basic unit in New England was the township which integrated an urban center with a rural countryside. Homes were constructed on lots near the center of the town- ship, and these were usually grouped around an open space at the front of which the meetinghouse was erected. The outlying fields suitable for cultivation were known as the "common fields" or "proprietors' commons." These had been roughly surveyed, divided into strips, and allotted to the settlers accord- ing to agreed upon rules of equity. Land of this description was not open to subsequent settlers unless the newcomers were formally granted commoners' rights. The remaining land, how- ever-pasture and woodland-were held in common owner- ship by the village. The pasture could be used by all residents of the village, and subject to agreed-upon regulations, residents could fell trees and quarry stone for individual use. Thus the land system of the typical New England village combined in- dividual ownership and ownership in common. The concentration of people in one place did more than make the village a kind of fortress. It made it easier for the
  • 31. villagers to pool their slender resources in order to provide a library of "serious" books and to maintain a common school where children could be educated. A plantation owner in the South could acquire for his own use or for the use of his friends a personal library far larger and more varied than the total number of books found in several scores of New England vil- lages. He could also set aside among the dependencies sur- rounding the plantation great house a schoolhouse for his own children, and engage tutors that would give his children a more cosmopolitan education than was the case with New England children. But the difference was, that learning under the planta- tion system was confined to the few-it could not be until after the Civil War that a public school system was created in the South-whereas in New England there was from the beginning a very high level of literacy and a very broad diffusion of knowl- edge throughout the population. This head start in education was to be of material advantage to the sons of New England, and was to make their minds the source of an outlook and values destined to spread throughout most of the Western Reserve, and the Northwest Territory, and the upper reaches of the Louisiana Territory. What has just been said points to something else. When in- creases in the population of a New England village-by births or by new immigration-produced a condition where there was no more common land to be subdivided for individual cultiva- tion, the practice was to "hive off" groups of settlers from the old township and to start a new township on newly granted ground nearer the frontier. The "hiving off" process generally involved the youngest sons of a family (and their brides) while the older or oldest sons stayed on to cultivate the lands they were due to inherit from their fathers. But in 1800, the process of "hiving off" was still limited by several factors. For one thing, the continued uncertainty about where the borderline ran between Canada and the United States posed a risk that a penetration of the frontier along the north- western part of New England might bring a settler into sharp collision with Canadians who had come to include the Tory refugees from the American Revolutionary War. In another direction, the penetration of the Western Reserve was limited by the extent to which the Indian tribes had been pushed back and their titles to the land extinguished. Then again, there was little profit in bringing new lands under cultivation when there were no waterways or roads over which the produce of those fields could be brought to a market. This latter need was an- swered in the wedge of 500,000 Americans that had already been driven through the Appalachian mountains into the region bounded by the Tennessee and Ohio rivers. Some sons and daughters of New England had already formed part of that wedge. They tended to favor the lands lying to the north of the Ohio River, and Marietta was their principal "staging area" 30 for a further northerly advance, destined to intersect with a southerly advance from Cleveland and Cincinnati. Meanwhile, along the Atlantic coastline, other New England townships, while still retaining their agricultural base, had long before come to look to the sea as a source of food and supple- mentary income. Food meant the rise of a fishing industry- which led by accident to the rise of the whaling industry. In- come meant the rise of a shipbuilding and shipping industry that had been spurred by both the Revolutionary War and the flaring world war that began with the French Revolution. The Revolutionary War had meant the equipping of privateers to prey on British merchantmen, and this work engaged the ener- gies of 90,000 New Englanders, more than the total number of Continentals and militia in any year except 1776. The world war that began with the French Revolution meant the equip- ping of ships to carry cargos for belligerents or for trade that was going by default to the Americans. Independently of these considerations, there was the need for coastwide shipping-since travel and transport by water along the Atlantic coastline was far more preferable than travel and transport over wretched land routes. There was also the lure of the East Indies-China trade which entailed a voyage around the Horn, then perhaps a voyage up the Pacific coast to the fur trading sea-outposts of the Oregon territory, then on to the East Indies and China with a cargo of fur, and then back around the Horn with the profits from the sale of the furs and with the produce of the East for resale in the United States. In different degrees, these various aspects of a living drawn from the sea left distinctive marks still visible among New Eng- land place names-Boston and Salem, Martha's Vineyard and New Bedford, New London and Nantucket, Fairhaven and Sag Harbor, Portsmouth and Providence, and thirty others of lesser celebrity like Mystic, Conn. Maritime life not only called for marines and sea-captains; it called for the designers of ships, carpenters who built them, and for the carpenters who signed aboard for a voyage in order to repair damages suffered en route. All these, plus a breed of masons born and trained among the stone quarries of New England, had combined by 1800 to upgrade the style and qual- ity of home construction in New England's seaport towns. From these points, the upgrading process spread into the zones of the interior. A word about this: In the rural districts of England from which most of the original colonists of New England came, wood was still plenti- ful and buildings were of the time-honored "half-timber" con- struction. The frames of such buildings were constructed on the ground, then raised into place and pinned together with heavy dowels. After that, the interstices were filled with wattle and daub or with rough mud, bricks made of clay and straw and called cats. The interior walls were plastered inside with white-
  • 32. washed clay, and the exterior was covered with a coating of lime. The early New England colonists were thoroughly familiar with this type of structure, and as they found wood plentiful they used it widely to duplicate the homes they had left behind. But it was not long before there began among them a process of adapting the familiar to the formidable demands of their immediate environment-a process that was to be repeated again and again by other Americans elsewhere. In this case, the New England colonists discovered that wattle and daub, satis- factory in the genial climate of Old England, was not equal to the climate of New England. Environment thus stepped in to alter the historic architec- tural procedure. The colonists now rived, split or sawed out a covering of clapboards to sheath the half-timber houses, to shed the water and keep out the cold. The efficacious clapboards were universally adopted, and became an important feature of subsequent American architecture. Meanwhile, the vigorous climate also accounted for the com- pact plans of buildings in early New England. The chimney was placed in the center of the house, with fireplaces for various rooms. This arrangement not only conserved heat but stiffened the structural frame. When more room was needed, the house went up instead of out. Most homes faced the south to take advantage of the sun, and most of them had a narrow entrance hall and a stairway hugging the chimney. The floors of the upper rooms were supported by a huge, handhewn summer beam which was supported in turn by the chimney and outside wall. In New England, as in the South, the winning of independ- ence from Great Britain might of its own accord have released a new spirit that demanded new architectural expressions. Nonetheless, it took more money to build a great house than those people had been accustomed to in colonial days. When money eventually came to those New Englanders who con- trolled the means of trade in the young nation's seaports, there were available, as noted a moment ago, the designers and craftsmen with finely developed talents in the use of wood or stone. There were men like Samuel Mcintire, the skilled architect and woodcarver, who dominated the construction of some of the finest privately owned and public buildings in Salem which still stand and are in use. Indeed, even the houses built after his death in 1811 reflected his influence. Known as "the Federal style," most of them are square, hip-roofed buildings of white clapboard or brick laid in flawless Flemish bond. Front doors are framed in fanlight and sidelights, shaded by eliptical or oblong porches whose roofs are supported by slender columns. A Palladian window opens into a formal garden in the rear. Most of the interiors are simply arranged, usually four rooms 31 to a floor. But there are three floors instead of the usual two of colonial days and the chimneys have been relegated to the side walls instead of the center of the house. As a crowning touch there is a balustrade around the roof known as "the captain's walk" where householders could look to the sea for incoming ships. Of equal influence there was the architect Charles Bulfinch whose professional reputation was established in Boston and whose work appears in other communities like Waltham. He was endowed with an experimental turn of mind, the results of which appear in the different forms he gave to the edifices of his design at different stages of his career. Many of the old homes standing on Boston's Beacon Hill and Louisburg Square were his work. In this, he experimented with unified residential blocks whose distinctive feature- representing a break from the traditional austerity of New England architecture- was the bow-front house. It was Bulfinch, too, who designed the Massa- chusetts State House in 1795 with its long central colonnade and dome, standing on its imposing site. While men like Mcintire and Bulfinch were among the new style setters for the New England beneficiaries of wealth ac- quired by means of the sea, people throughout the countryside were also beginning to think in terms of more elaborate struc- tures. Into this situation stepped Asher Benjamin, a carpenter from Greenfield, Mass., who is credited with having exerted more direct influence than any other single person on the whole tissue of architecture in New England. The inspirational idea which gave him this influence began when he recognized a central truth stated by Benjamin Frank- lin some years earlier. The latter, in reference to the conditions of the Americans, had observed that they were not so miserable as the poor of Europe, but "there are also very few that in Europe would be called rich; it is rather a happy mediocrity that prevails. There are few great proprietors of the soil, and few tenants; most people cultivate their own lands or follow some handicraft of merchandise; very few are rich enough to pay the high prices given in Europe for painting, statues, archi- tecture, and the other works of art, that are more curious than useful." Asher Benjamin, in 1797, had the shrewdness and capacity to prepare and publish a book with this market in mind. The book was called The Country Builder's Assistant. It was not the first book on architecture printed in the United States, but it was the first genuinely American treatment of the subject. It was very much a "how-to-do-it" book, since it contained plans and detailed drawings for various private and public structures. Carpenters throughout the northeast, being of Puri- tan stock, were a literate breed. They acquired Benjamin's book and began to pattern their construction work on his plans. The First Congregational Church in Bennington, Vt., one of