Historical Services and Preservation Planning

History is the common thread that links all of Commonwealth’s services. We provide research and planning services for numerous historic property types, ranging in scale from urban centers to multi-county heritage areas, nationwide and for federal, state, local governments, and private clients. Our multidisciplinary teams of preservation professionals offer expertise in history, architectural history, landscape history, traditional cultural places, folklore, and planning.

Historic Services

Regardless of project focus, sound historic research and analysis provide our clients with a thorough understanding of project parameters and guides the search for suitable solutions. Commonwealth’s historians, working both independently and as part of interdisciplinary teams, provide highly advanced levels of historic services.

Above-Ground Resources Surveys

Above-ground resources surveys identify and document historic buildings and structures, cultural landscapes, and traditional properties that might be affected by project activities. Commonwealth’s architectural and landscape historians and anthropologists are experienced in identifying and evaluating a wide variety of above-ground resources in urban, suburban, and rural environments.

Historic District Delineation

Commonwealth’s historians are trained to consider architectural similarity as well as complex themes and cultural landscapes when identifying historic districts, delineating their boundaries, and documenting the resources comprising them.

National Register of Historic Places Evaluations and Nominations

The National Register’s exacting set of criteria demands advanced research and reporting skills to successfully conduct evaluations and nominations. Commonwealth provides clients with the expertise necessary to assess properties for National Register eligibility, complete National Register and National Historic Landmark nominations, and coordinate state and federal reviews.

Specialized Structure Assessments and Documentation

Commonwealth offers its clients services designed to identify, document, and assess the engineering and technical significance of all types of specialized structures. These services utilize our staff’s unique expertise in recording and evaluating structures such as bridges, piers, and hydroelectric facilities.

Visual Impact Assessments

Construction projects can result in impacts to historic properties that are not immediately obvious. Commonwealth’s heritage management professionals are experienced in assessing visual impacts, illustrating those impacts and developing plans to mitigate visual impacts to historic properties. Our geospatial services are available to support projects requiring viewshed simulations.

Planning Services

Commonwealth is experienced in preservation planning for historic communities and sites. Our work ranges from master planning for a non-profit organization to the preparation of regional plans for large-scale heritage areas. We are experienced in assisting organizations to address a range of programmatic, management, funding, site management, and design issues. We feel that the planning process is a crucial first step in implementation and achieving pragmatic results. Other services we provide include:

  • Architectural Design Guidelines
  • Architectural Impact Statements
  • Community Planning
  • Consultation with Local Review Boards
  • Heritage Area Planning
  • Interpretive Publications and Displays
  • Investment Tax Credit Applications
  • Master Planning for Historic Sites

Battlefield Preservation Planning

Commonwealth is honored to have contributed to the preservation of battlefield sites around the country. Our battlefield preservation client base includes federal entities, such as the National Park Service in the Southeast, National Capital, Northeast, and Midwest regions; state and regional entities, such as the counties of Prince William, Frederick, Fauquier, and Fairfax and the cities of Fairfax and Manassas, all in Virginia; and elsewhere, including Gloucester County, New Jersey; the Village of Sackets Harbor, New York; Saratoga Preserve Land and Nature, New York; Chester and Delaware Counties, Pennsylvania; the Town of Ridgeland, South Carolina; the City of Franklin, Tennessee; and the Kentucky Department of Parks.

We have also worked with non-profit organizations dedicated to battlefield preservation, including the Brandywine Battlefield Task Force, the Civil War Preservation Trust, Campaign 1776, Mosby Heritage Area Association, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Glass-Glen Burnie Museum, Fort Mill Ridge Foundation, Newtonia Battlefields Protection Association, Princeton Battlefield Society, Paoli Battlefield Foundation, Black Jack Battlefield Trust, and Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association. Commonwealth’s battlefield preservation portfolio includes master plans, site plans, interpretive plans, cultural landscape reports, historic resource inventories, and National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark nominations.

Public Interpretation

Commonwealth has extensive experience in the production of banners, books, exhibits, interpretive panels, posters, and brochures. We believe text and imagery weave together the threads of archaeological, architectural, and historical records to provide communication between the community and the professionals working on the project. All cultural resources-related tasks are made visible locally, nationally and often as part of the requirements of Section 106 compliance. Staff also provides supporting materials including banners, books, brochure, display panels, exhibits, newsletters, and/or posters needed.