Co-Chairs: Susan M. Mattison (E); Nancy Minich (E); Anna Wik (DE)
Members:  Lisa Kunst Vavro (W)


The Historic Preservation Committee is responsible for identifying historic landscapes within Pennsylvania and Delaware, developing strategies for implementing preservation policies for appropriate landscapes, and development of educational programs related to historic landscapes.

Download the HALS Chapter Funding Policy


The Historic Preservation Committee has been charged by the Chapter Executive Committee to perform the following tasks:

Short Term:

  • Recruit committee members.

Long Term:

  • Identify historic landscapes.
  • Coordinate previous and any new efforts towards identifying historic landscapes with the Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS) created by ASLA, the National Park Service and the Library of Congress.
  • Determine if any work of the committee would be appropriate for a Chapter Initiatives Program grant.
  • Coordinate or document the archiving of the historical works of landscape architects.

Committee Representation:

Members should include one member from each Section with specific knowledge or interest in historic landscapes or historic preservation.


  • Bill Menke has developed an historic places inventory he began back in the 1980’s.
  • Chatham University is researching the history of landscape architecture and planning projects in western Pennsylvania and offers courses in these subjects.
  • ASLA Western Section has archived records at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Penn State University has archived the professional effects of A.E. Bye.
  • Temple University has archived the professional effects of James Bush-Brown at its Am-bler Campus.
  • The works of Robert Pierson could potentially be archived.


Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS)

HALS Documentation Process in Pennsylvania and Delaware

If you have an interest in historic landscapes and would like to learn more about how a site fits into your area’s history, consider documenting the landscape in the HALS format. It must, however, conform to the National Park Service’s Guidelines for HALS. First and foremost, review the national ASLA or the National Park Service websites on HALS. You should be familiar with the criteria for a site’s eligibility and the very specific format in which you must document the landscape.

HALS criteria on ASLA website

NPS HALS Information:

Search Our Collections at the Library of Congress:

Follow Us on Facebook:

Watch our YouTube Channel:

National Park Service
1201 Eye Street, NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-354-2146
Fax: 202-371-6473

To List a Historic Landscape Site in your Chapter Section, contact the appropriate Chapter person. If you want to undertake a specific site documentation, please let the Section representative know in writing; your site will then be listed as ‘under documentation’ on the master list. We also want to avoid duplication of efforts. Ultimately, listing and documenting this information will help validate our profession and enlighten the public of the importance of landscape

We need our chapter members to assist us in two ways. First, we need to help populate the list of potential HALS sites. Secondly, we need members to undertake site documentation. Let’s list as many sites as possible and start to document them. Although PA & DE are two of the oldest states, we only have 13 sites documented and 80 sites listed to date. In contrast, California has more than 938 sites listed.

If you are interested in documenting a site but do not find a site near you consider the following:

  • Check the National Register of Historic Places by County for  sites that may have appropriate landscapes; not all landscapes are significant;
  • Contact your local municipality’s Historical and Architectural Review Board (HARB) for potential sites, ask about local significant landscapes, and explain the HALS process; (HARB operates under the authority of the State of Pennsylvania’s Historic District Act, General Assembly #167 of 1961, as amended 1963. HARB’s purpose is to help protect the distinctive and historic character of local municipalities by considering the effects of proposed changes to buildings and properties within historic districts and by ruling on their appropriateness.)
  • Contact local historical societies.

Once you decide to embark on a HALS documentation, be sure to inform the site’s owner of your intent, especially if the site is privately owned. Some owners do not want their sites documented, and they might not sign the consent form that must accompany the documentation. Additionally, other interested site owners might have some important information to contribute to the documentation of their site’s landscape history.

Because the PA/DE Chapter intends to populate the HALS list with sites in an organized, easy-to- use list, the following format organized by PA & DE ASLA Section (Eastern, Central, Western, DE) has been established:

  • County (alphabetically)
  • Municipality  (alphabetically)
  • Site Name (alphabetically)
  • Street Location
  • Town mailing address
  • Owner
  • phone, email
  • Website

As previously noted, one Chapter member has been designated as the HALS representative for each of the four sections to list and track the potential sites:

Chapter Incentives/ Funding for HALS

Starting this year, the Chapter Executive Committee has budgeted funds to assist members who want to pursue HALS documentation. The allotted annual funds will be divided equally among the four sections (Western, Central, Eastern, and Delaware).The purpose of the funds is to encourage and support the preparation of HALS surveys by our Chapter membership. The funds are to be made available for the reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, equipment rental and access fees for archival information. The funds are not to be used as compensation for labor or time invested by members, students or others.

Each representative will be responsible for receiving reimbursement requests from Chapter members in the form of a one-page cost estimates. All requests for reimbursement must be received from Chapter members prior to conducting the survey, and all four Section representatives must approve them. Requests will also be sent to the Chapter Executive Committee for review and funding approval. You must estimate the costs you may incur in advance of your documentation or you will not be reimbursed.

This is our Chapter’s first attempt at this reimbursement system, so this process will be subject to change at the discretion of the Chapter Executive Committee at any time.

Background Information on Documenting Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS) Sites In Pennsylvania and Delaware

In 2001, the National Park Service (NPS), the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), and the Library of Congress (LOC) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that established the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS).  In 2010, the three organizations signed a new Tripartite Agreement making HALS a permanent federal program that documents historic landscapes in the United States and its territories to serve as tangible evidence of our nation’s heritage and development.

Documentation is critical to preserving historical landscapes for the benefit of future generations and can provide rationale for the planning and funding of future landscape preservation efforts. Pennsylvania and Delaware have significance landscapes. They range from sites that were designed by prominent landscape architects/designers such as Olmsted brothers; to local, state and federal sites; parks; cemeteries; vernacular landscapes; as well as private and non-profit organizations with landscapes that are examples of a specific cultural, historic event or period.

Currently in Pennsylvania, there are only about 13 HALS sites and in Delaware only 1 site documented in the Library of Congress. There are many more sites in both Pennsylvania and Delaware that meet the NPS eligibility criteria, but remain unlisted and undocumented. PA-DE ASLA endeavors to list as many sites as possible. In order to achieve this goal, the chapter has targeted HALS as a priority in its work plan for 2013 and will make the proposed list of historic sites available to chapter members to embark on HALS documentation. The PA-DE Chapter ASLA would like to develop an extensive list in both Pennsylvania and Delaware, and have the chapter members document the historic sites to get them listed in the Library of Congress.