Historical Landscape Services


Ballville Dam Removal


Commonwealth was contracted by the City of Fremont, Ohio, who, in conjunction with the United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, and the Ohio History Connection State Historic Preservation Office, sought to fulfill the requirements of a Memorandum of Agreement as part of the planned removal
of the Ballville Dam on the Sandusky River. The project required not only Level I Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) drawings of the dam, but a series of photographs to be taken before, during, and after demolition of the dam was complete. Additionally, Commonwealth completed an online review of dams of similar age and size in the state of Ohio, undertook intensive
level survey of five selected dams that included completion of inventory forms for the Ohio Historical Society, and prepared a brief report on the history of hydroelectricity in Ohio.

As a result of the project, Commonwealth prepared a comparative inventory of 68 dams constructed between 1891 and 1930. The selected dams met parameters similar to the Ballville Dam, including having a height of between 8 and 47 feet and a length between 170 and 750 feet. Additional inventory information included ownership of the dam and latitude/longitude location. The intensive level inventory forms focused on five of the dams in different geographic regions of Ohio and included current photographs, along with descriptions, history, and National Register of Historic Places evaluations.

Avon Park Air Force Range

Polk and Highlands Counties, Florida

Commonwealth conducted a Historic American Engineering Report survey for Avon Park Air Force Range, established in the early years of World War II and quickly developed into the largest bombing range east of the Mississippi. Avon Park trained many U.S. Army Air Forces bombing crews whose combat missions turned the tide in the two theaters of World War II. Many resources within the Avon Park Air Force Range Airfield have been determined potentially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places by consultation with the Florida State Historic Preservation Officer. To mitigate the adverse effect of periodic maintenance and upgrades, the U.S. Air Force commissioned Commonwealth and photographer John Herr to document the historic characteristics of the airfield in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for Historic American Engineering Record and Florida State Historic Preservation Office requirements. Staff performed historical research and field documentation, and provided written historical summaries and existing conditions descriptions of thirteen airfield components. The report will be used to inform responsible maintenance policies for the airfield’s historic resources.

St. James and Port Sanilac Lighthouses


Commonwealth documented two lighthouses for the Historic American Building Survey and Historic American Engineering Record. Often used when actions affect the integrity of a historic resource, HABS/HAER documents achievements in architecture and engineering and adheres to specific guidelines and standards of documentation. For those sites of national significance, the collections are housed at the Library of Congress, with the State Historic Preservation Office and local repositories among the common locations for the documentation.

The St. James Lighthouse on Beaver Island, in northeastern Lake Michigan, was constructed in 1870. The Port Sanilac Lighthouse, on the west coast of Lake Huron, was built in 1885-1886. The lights were actively staffed untill 1927/1928, when they were upgraded with automated systems. Recently, in an attempt to provide the latest technology possible for the safety of maritime travelers, the U.S. Coast Guard determined the Fourth-Order Fresnel Lenses needed to be replaced. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Coast Guard and the Michigan SHPO required that the lenses needed to be documented in place prior to their removal. Commonwealth, along with Dietrich Floeter Photography, photographed the lenses and developed historic contexts for each site. Upon removal, the lenses will be placed in a local repository, with the materials completed by Commonwealth used to share the history of the unique features with the public.

Waddick Pucylouski Cabin


Commonwealth completed a Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) Level II documentation for the Waddick Pucylouski Cabin, located on land acquired by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in the Ottawa National Forest in northern Michigan. The documentation was prepared as a final record of the building, which was scheduled for demolition, and included written historical and descriptive data, measured drawings, and large format photographs. The cabin was a late (c.1940) local example of a single-pen hewn
log cabin with full-dovetail corner notching.