Author Archive

Notes from the Field: Protecting Historic Belle Grove Plantation

Posted on: May 7th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 283-acre property and 1797 manor house at Belle Grove Plantation is a National Historic Landmark and the heart of the 3,500-acre Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.

Belle Grove manor house with quarry waste pile. (credit: National Park Service)Unfortunately, Carmeuse Lime & Stone, a Belgian mining conglomerate, is trying to rezone 639 rural acres immediately adjacent to Belle Grove and the National Historical Park in order to radically expand Carmeuse’s industrial quarry operation. The Frederick County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on April 28, 2008, and may vote on the rezoning application at the Board’s May 28 meeting.

The National Trust and Belle Grove, Inc., the nonprofit partner which operates Belle Grove Plantation, are gravely concerned that the rezoning and quarry expansion would severely harm Belle Grove and the National Historical Park. (Please see the National Trust’s April 22, 2008 letter to Frederick County.) Preservationists anticipate visual intrusions harming our world-famous scenic vistas, vibration damage to historic structures from quarry blasting, and threats to public safety from the parade of heavy quarry trucks that will travel along the Valley Turnpike (Route 11) through the National Historical Park and historic Middletown. The quarry expansion, as planned, also would destroy 500 acres of well-preserved Civil War battlefield just outside of the boundaries of the National Historical Park.

The National Trust and Belle Grove, Inc. have requested that Carmeuse systematically analyze and commit to avoid, reduce, or mitigate potential harm to scenic vistas, impacts from heavy truck traffic, and vibration damage from blasting. Carmeuse has not followed through or attempted to meet with the National Trust or Belle Grove. Nevertheless, we remain open to discussing with Carmeuse mutually satisfactory ways to expand the quarry without irrevocably harming Belle Grove, the National Historical Park, and the Civil War battlefield.

Carmeuse’s ill-considered quarry expansion, as currently proposed, is opposed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Belle Grove, Inc., Virginia Department of Historic Resources, National Park Service, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Civil War Preservation Trust, APVA – Preservation Virginia, National Parks Conservation Association, and Preserve Frederick.

-- Rob Nieweg

Rob Nieweg is the Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Southern Field Office

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Notes from the Field: Preservation & Redevelopment of Historic Fort Monroe

Posted on: April 29th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Fort Monroe is scheduled to close in 2011. (Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park)Fort Monroe is an early 19th century stone fortress with moat located on Hampton Roads at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The 570-acre military post has served the nation as a coastal defense work and artillery school, and is active today as the home of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. Fort Monroe played a key role in hastening the end of slavery, as the first refuge for escaped “Contraband” slaves. Like Mount Vernon and Monticello, Fort Monroe is a one of our country’s 2,500 designated National Historic Landmarks.

In 2011, the Army will vacate Fort Monroe, pursuant to the Base Realignment and Closure Act. Fort Monroe will automatically revert to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Since 2005, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has been intensively engaged in advocacy and historic preservation planning for Fort Monroe. The National Trust has participated as a member of the City of Hampton’s master plan steering committee and the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority’s historic preservation advisory group. We also participate as a consulting party to the Section 106 review process pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act, which is ably led by the Army and Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and many others are working now to envision a bright future for Fort Monroe and to explore the most effective historic preservation strategies for the benefit of the public. To that end, the National Trust has joined with four statewide and national preservation organizations to express our shared perspective on the future of Fort Monroe. Our shared position is described in an April 18, 2008 letter to the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority from the National Trust, APVA – Preservation Virginia, Civil War Preservation Trust, and National Parks Conservation Association.

There is an active debate about the preservation of Fort Monroe. We welcome your comments on our shared letter and the future of Fort Monroe.

-- Rob Nieweg

Rob Nieweg is the Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Southern Field Office

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Video: Nine Mile Canyon at Risk

Posted on: April 25th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Learn more -- and take action -- at www.preservationnation.org/nine-mile-canyon.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Notes from the Field: Utah's Nine Mile Canyon Under Threat

Posted on: April 18th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Prehistoric rock art at Nine Mile Canyon.Nine Mile Canyon, located northeast of Price, Utah, is under threat from a new project proposed by Bill Barrett Corporation and the Bureau of Land Management that would bring 800 new wells to the plateau above Nine Mile Canyon and dramatically increase the level of traffic within the canyon.

On Wednesday, we went to the canyon, which is renowned for its significant concentration of prehistoric rock art panels that illustrate a wide variety of images, including bighorn sheep, anthromorphs, and various other animals and figures. The Nine Mile Canyon area is also a prime location for the extraction of natural gas. Visitors to the canyon can see evidence of natural gas development in the form of pipelines, a large compressor station, and, perhaps most noticeably, industrial traffic traveling through the canyon to project sites.

While visiting a number of the canyon's significant rock art panels, we witnessed several large tanker trunks driving through the canyon and raising large plumes of dust in their wake. On several occasions, these trucks passed within yards of rock art panels, particularly those located near Nine Mile Canyon's confluence with Gate and Cottonwood Canyons. Increased traffic will present an increased danger to these irreplaceable artifacts.

The National Trust will provide BLM with comments on the proposal by May 1, and we want to encourage people to speak out about the harm that will result from this new development if it is allowed to move forward as planned. More information about the proposed development and how to contact the BLM is available on our main website.

-- Ti Hays and Amy Cole

Ti Hays is the Public Lands Counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Amy Cole is the Senior Program Officer & Regional Attorney for the Trust's Mountains-Plains Office.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Tomb of the Unknowns Update: Study Requires "Highly Experienced Specialists"

Posted on: March 21st, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Shortly before Congress and President Bush enacted the temporary reprieve for the historic monument, the Army announced that it had “decided to pause” its effort to replace and discard the historic Tomb Monument “until … Congress has the opportunity to review the report.” The report is due at the end of July 2008.

In the meantime, the Army also announced that it was “considering repair of the Tomb Monument’s cracks[.] … If implemented, the repair … is part of the cyclical maintenance that is needed to preserve the Tomb Monument while we continue to explore long-term options.” Given the Army’s stubborn insistence that replacement is necessary, this announcement – under political pressure from Congress and thousands of Americans – is not reassuring to preservationists.

On March 13, therefore, the National Trust for Historic Preservation cautioned the Army and Department of Veterans Affairs that it is imperative that the personnel tasked with conducting the new study of the Tomb Monument be highly experienced specialists in the conservation of marble. For example, this expert must conduct technically sophisticated tests to assess the structural integrity of the monument, evaluate the feasibility of repairing the monument, and prepare cost estimates for repair versus replacement.

... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.