Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Pat D. Taylor


The object of this thesis is to understand the status of preservation of Texas cultural landscapes and encourage policy recommendations. To do this, the thesis examines the procedure for nominating cultural landscapes in Texas for the National Register of Historic Places (NR), a program administered by the National Park Service (NPS) through state-level agencies. In Texas, the Texas Historical Society (THC) administers NR programs under supervision of the State Historic Preservation Officer. In the 1950s, the term cultural landscape rarely appeared in print. However, beginning with the work of J.B. Jackson, an independent writer and landscape scholar, cultural landscape studies have come to inspire design professions and preservationists developing a new admiration for the vernacular landscape and its significance (Wilson 2003). By 1981, cultural landscapes had become recognized by the National Park Service (NPS) as a specific resource type (Longstreth 2008). This meant that cultural landscapes were identified as tangible items reflecting multigenerational connections to the land. As a result, cultural landscapes became a validated category on the National Register of Historic Places, extending the recognition of these cultural places into the professional and public realms (Longstreth 2008). The Texas Historical Commission (THC), in coordination with the national register, recognizes cultural landscapes within the state of Texas under the category of historic properties. Promoting the documentation of these resources within the state and nominating their listings on the National Register are both a goal and an issue, according to the THC's 2020 Preservation Vision (THC 2013). This means that, although cultural landscapes have become an important application within the field of preservation, they are still a largely undeveloped classification and their status undefined (THC 2013). Currently, the THC uses criteria developed for the consideration of buildings and structures to examine its cultural landscapes. Historical significance and the integrity of a site determine the ability of a “historic” property to be listed on the NR (THC 2013). This thesis appraises three case studies within the state of Texas, identifying within those studies how a landscape's significance and integrity is determined according to current preservation standards and what their place is within the preservation movement. Concentrating on cultural landscapes acknowledged by the national register, the sites selected include: Heritage Park Plaza, an existing historic property on the National Registry; the Old Spanish Highway, a draft nomination for the registry; and Bonham State Park, an unlisted cultural landscape, examined as a potential site for the registry. Because each of these cases falls within a different part of the nomination process, they lend a perspective of all stages of the historic property registration procedure. The sites were chosen based on the thoroughness of their reports, their recognition as significance parts of Texas' history, and their ability to represent a range of cultural landscapes. Examination of these sites lends answers to: what is the status of cultural landscapes in Texas within the preservation movement, what the process for nomination is, and what future recommendations for cultural landscapes in Texas are. Among the issues identified was a need for a common language to help describe cultural landscapes. Recommendations included an increased leadership role of landscape architects, who have been trained to read the landscape, in identifying cultural landscapes. As well as incentives such as tax credits to promote the recognition of cultural landscapes, similar to the ones provided to buildings recognized on the national register.


Architecture | Landscape Architecture


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington