BAC Leads Documentation of 1822 Powder House for Historic American Buildings Survey

Project In Partnership with the Newburyport Preservation Trust

Johanna Rowley, BAC Historic Preservation faculty, and Robert W. Ogle, Director of Historic Preservation at the BAC

Johanna Rowley, BAC Historic Preservation faculty, and Robert W. Ogle, director of Historic Preservation at the BAC; Photo by Tom Kolterjahn

The Newburyport Preservation Trust has partnered with The Boston Architectural College to document Newburyport's 1822 Powder House as the subject of a Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). The resulting documentation will be preserved among surveys of America's architectural heritage at the US Library of Congress.

The Powder House, which has been an ongoing restoration project of the Newburyport Preservation Trust, was selected for the HABS by Robert W. Ogle, director of Historic Preservation in The Boston Architectural College's School of Design Studies. Throughout the fall semester, BAC students will document the Powder House through measured drawings, photo studies, and historic research reports. Johanna Rowley of the BAC faculty will direct the student team and manage the project.

"Preservation through documentation is one of the cornerstones of professional historic preservation practice," said Robert Ogle. "The HABS documentation process affords students the opportunity to truly learn how to ‘read' a building in context, assess existing conditions, and develop appropriate treatment strategies."

Upon completion, the survey will be added to the permanent public domain HABS resources held at the US Library of Congress. The survey will also be entered into competition for the Charles E. Peterson Prize, which recognizes student excellence in measured drawings created to HABS standards. Charles E. Peterson (1906–2004), conceived the HABS program in the 1933 and is regarded as the founding father of the preservation architecture profession.

The HABS program began in the 1930s with the documentation of the country's earliest architectural heritage, and today it comprises drawings, photos, and written reports on over 38,000 historic structures. Along with the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) and the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS), the program is administered by the National Parks Service, with archives held by the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.

The Newburyport Preservation Trust is a nonprofit membership organization that brings together people from Newburyport and beyond who value the preservation of the city's period architecture, neighborhood ambiance, heritage landscapes, and authentic historic character.