Jim Draeger: My next job here is to introduce Paul Loether. He’s the chief of the National Register National Historic Landmarks program at the National Park Service, and he’s going to come up and give us a few brief remarks related to the National Register perspective on maritime landscapes, so Paul? One more thing while he’s coming up. We expect the speakers to stay on time today and tomorrow, so pay attention to your time. If you see somebody frantically waving or this, you know your time is up, so then try to wrap up quickly to make room for the next person. Thank you.
Paul Loether: I don’t like being tied down that much. Everybody can hear me? Yes. I am Paul Loether, and just to give you a little background, before I started this job about 7 years ago, I was the Director of Culture for the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. That was an amalgam that was put together from the old historical commission, the arts commission, and the office of tourism. My portfolio included the State Historic Preservation Office, which is what I had come up through. Prior to that, I was involved working with both local and regional non-profit preservation organizations.
I’m going to try to basically spend most of my time showing you things today. What I’d like to try to do is give you a sense of the kinds of things we look at as maritime cultural landscapes, a little bit of the philosophy behind what we’re looking at, what they are and they aren’t. I want to be clear upfront that at least currently, under federal law, maritime cultural landscapes are not a property type. They are an area of specific significance, usually contextual in framework. Without further ado, I’m going to start. I’m going to put up, if I can do this right, I’ll let you read that while I’m talking. I kind of very much got into the philosophy of what we’re trying to do with maritime landscapes and cultural landscapes in general. This is specific to cultural landscapes, and it actually mostly came from, oddly enough, Wikipedia, but I like the philosophy behind it, even though I’m a little questionable about the syntax of the English just because it identifies what we’re trying to get to as we work with cultural landscapes in particular and eventually maritime.
What’s the difference between a cultural landscape itself and a maritime landscape? I was putting together a care package for my daughter at the College of Wooster, doing shopping at the giant supermarket, and came across a box of Swiss Miss Cocoa Mix. The difference is, just add water. That’s a simplistic approach, but essentially that’s what we’re talking about here. I’m going to start by going through different things. Some are listed in the register. Some probably would be eligible for the register. This is Branford, Connecticut. It’s the Thimble Islands. I wrote this nomination, I think, in the mid-’80s, and at the time that we did this, nobody was really speaking about cultural landscapes per se within the context of the Register. I point this out. This is a large historic district. I don’t know if you can see with the lighting. It’s not showing up very well. If we could get the lights, it would be helpful on this, because I had not planned a fluorescent background.
It’s a district that’s composed of a large group of small islands off of the coast of Connecticut, as well as a small village called Stony Creek. If you can’t see it at this point, it basically, I’m not doing well with this either, it is a small group of islands. I’ll give you a better shot. This is looking toward the northeast. It does not include all the islands, but it includes the bulk of them. And at the top of the screen, you’ll see a point of land, and that is actually the village of Stony Creek. This village started out, really, and developed post-Civil War based on the railroad. And it started its real existence as a core resort community. Not for the very wealthy, but for the upper middling class, mostly coming out of New York and some of the smaller Connecticut cities. I’ll give you a sense of the kind of resources that are on these islands. Clearly, I think that there’s no question about the maritime context here, even though it’s not a commercial context per se. There are some commercial fishing, but it’s mostly a resort community developed back in the 19th century through the early 20th.
Now, I point this slide out, not so much for the building, but if you look at the piers, they’re made of a pink granite. Stony Creek is very famous for its pink granite. It was used in the base of the Statue of Liberty, as well as buildings throughout the eastern seaboard as construction material. And, One of the problems I had when I was doing this district is there are literally hundreds and hundreds of these bulkheads, walls piers, and trying to enumerate that on a count was very difficult. In fact, I’d probably still be doing it if I tried to do it. So I had a conversation, and again, this is back in 1985 with Beth Savage at the Register, and we talked about they clearly contribute to the overall character of the area, and even if you can’t enumerate them, you ought to mention that. I think the concept of landscape here comes in very strongly. That’s really what we were trying to say, that they are part of the overall maritime cultural landscape of this community, and a very significant part, even if they’re not specifically enumerated in a count of contributing structures.
That’s the quarry they came from, and that too was part of the district. Again, quarry is, I believe, still active, in terms of providing pink granite for construction. The water there is not the ocean. That’s just an infill from the hole based on flow of water on the land and for rain. I’m going to move a little bit to the northeast, to what we call Cape Cod and the islands of Massachusetts. That’s the area outlined in red and filled with yellow. That’s Cape Cod itself. Lower left, the islands. You’ll see a string of islands. Those are the Cape Elizabeth Islands. You’ll see Martha’s Vineyard kind of in the lower left of the screen and Nantucket on the right. In the middle of all of it is Nantucket Sound. This is a huge maritime area. Over the history of the northeast, it’s been commercial, it’s been resort. Nantucket, of course, is particularly famous for whaling, but all of these areas have a long established historical tradition, and there are historic properties everywhere.
I’m going to start with the Cape itself. This is the Port of Hyannis, and this port has a significant historic district that’s associated with its downtown and its waterfront. One of the things that’s difficult with maritime landscapes is where does the maritime start and where does it end? But For the most part, these communities as a whole, especially historic areas, clearly do relate directly with the water, even though all resources are not on the waterfront. One of the issues is how far back do we go? This is actually a little bit further to the west. This is the Kennedy compound, another historic area. Not just the Kennedy houses, but others. Again, this is part of the resort characteristic of it we find throughout the area. Very much maritime related. I think most of you that grew up when I did can remember the pictures of John F. Kennedy not only talking with senior statesmen, but also sailing and fishing and doing maritime recreational activities off this particular property.
Martha’s Vineyard is another area that started out primarily as fishing, commercial, and farming. Again, how far inland you go before you lose the maritime character visually depends on where you’re located, but essentially it views itself as a maritime community and all of the historic resources have some kind of relationship with the water that surrounds it, particularly these days with the resort community. That’s a shot of Edgartown harbor. That’s one of the older settlement areas. Again, started out commercial, now is predominantly recreational. They have fishing, but it’s usually commercial and people going out and doing deep sea fishing off the coast or whale watching. Again, very strong, strong relationships with the built environment with the water itself.
That’s Menemsha. That’s a very small fishing village, still commercially function. It’s not on the register. Ought to be. And again, a very, very direct relationship between water and people and livelihoods. This is a more recreational. This is shot from the campground, which is not far removed from the actual waterfront campground on Martha’s Vineyard, a Methodist meeting place. The vineyard itself is full of resources like this. And again, I say resort. It was a place that people went, even in the 19th century, to kind of get away from the world and in this case, to do retreats, initially for religious purposes.
Nantucket Island is another one of the islands that’s the major ones in the northeast. Nantucket itself in its entirety is a national historic landmark. It’s probably the largest single national historic landmark we have. And again, It’s big enough so when you get inland, you can’t see the water anymore, but there is always this sense and this aura of its relationship to the sea. Nantucket, of course, was a prime area in terms of whaling in the 19th century. That’s how it started out. We later modified the nomination to acknowledge the resort community aspect of this as part of the NHL, because again, it’s all water related.
That’s a shot of the harbor in Nantucket. It still mixes some commercial with recreational. This is a shot of what are called the Three Bricks, or the Starbuck Houses. These are three of the whaling captain’s houses. Same family. They dominate the northern end no, southern end of Main Street in Nantucket. Again, related economically. Even though it’s not directly on the waterfront, it’s clearly part and parcel of the community in terms of its maritime character. This is just a good shot that I like that shows the sunset in one of the smaller accretions to the downtown area of Nantucket.
One of the things we noticed on this particular area, you know we look at the different historic districts, Nantucket being a landmark, Hyannis, what have you. We got involved in a project called Cape Wind. Cape Wind was a determination of eligibility. We looked at the Kennedy compound. We looked at Nantucket, but one of the things that really came to the fore in Cape Wind is the tribe’s claim, the Wampanoag tribe’s claim that this area, particularly the Sound, was a traditional cultural property. We had the good fortune to go up and essentially … Well we didn’t call it government to government consultation. That’s what we did. Working with both tribes, both the Wampanoags of Gay Head and the Mashpee Wampanoags, which are the surviving branches of federally recognized tribes. We had an opportunity to kind of work with them and learn about the area.
What you see on the map here, just to give you a sense, if you can see the pink area to the right, this is where their cultural hero Moshup and his wife Squannit supposedly came from in the very dim past. When Moshup moved, the path is roughly the red line. The body of water between the Cape Elizabeth Islands, which are the small string above Martha’s Vineyard, and Martha’s Vineyard itself, tradition holds that that channel was created by Moshup dragging his toe through the water. Nantucket itself, in their tradition, was created by Moshup. For those of you who do not know the area, it gets very foggy, gets very misty, and the tradition is that the fog was caused by Moshup smoking his pipe, and then one day his pipe burned out, so he turned it over and then created Nantucket as part of this.
So, all of the little sites you have there that are blotted are sites that relate to the tradition cultural property aspects of this area with the tribes. What we saw when we mapped it, and again, we’re not looking at archeological sites per se, these are just things that we talked about when we were there. When you look at the map and you start to understand the nature of the resources they’re talking about, it became very clear that what the tribe saw was an indigenous cultural landscape with many, many resources that related to their tradition. Many of these resources are not built. They are belief-driven, but as we plotted this, we had an epiphany that that’s what we were looking at.
Now, Gay Head is a national natural landmark. It’s on the southwestern end of Martha’s Vineyard. It is the kind of point central for the Wampanoag tribe of Gay Head, Aquinnah, and Gay Head’s traditional is this is where Moshup settled when he finally made that movement off of Cape Cod and down into Martha’s Vineyard. If you look at the landscape, you’ll see streaks of red, you’ll see streaks of black. The red is where Moshup, after he fished and caught his whales, killed them, and the black traditionally is where he cooked them. There’s a strong, strong relationship with the tribe in terms of belief, significance, symbolism, and cultural history tied with this site. This is one of many. All those knots that you saw on previous screen are similar in some function, some being ceremonial only. And That is the seal of the tribe. It’s just Moshup standing in front of Gay Head with his whale.
It gives you a sense that indigenous landscapes often don’t require built things. It’s all, very often, mostly belief driven. Significance that is ascribed to places, and that’s as important to our minds of a type of landscape. Here, it’s very maritime, and I’ll show you a last slide. One of the great significant aspects of this is Nantucket Sound itself, and Nantucket Sound we found to be a traditional cultural property within the context of this larger district. Really because of the importance ceremonially to the tribes of the junction of the sky, the sun, and the water at dawn. Wampanoag, roughly translated, means, people of the dawn, and that’s a responsibility that they take on, not only for their own tribes, but also as representatives of tribes across the nation. There’s no built, well there is a channel marker, but beyond that, really what you have is entirely natural, but the association is driven with it, belief based makes this significant.
People will say, Is it a landscape? It’s really all water. For the purposes that we work with, the landscape includes water. Riverscapes, seascapes, the landscape includes … That term we use broadly to include anything that has to do with a broad natural expanse with natural features that may relate historically to a group or groups of people.
I’ll take you a little further out. Provincetown, Mass. It’s on the tip of Cape Cod. And I will get beyond New England, believe me. It’s just my home territory, so I know it well. There’s a group of 18 shacks out in Provincetown, on what is essentially a big sandbar. They’re called the Dune Shacks. Now I mentioned it in Branford we never really talked about the idea of a cultural landscape, or a maritime cultural landscape. With the Dune Shacks, which was recently put on the register, certainly within my tenure, we indicated it’s a very significant cultural landscape. We didn’t specify maritime, but I’ll let you be the judge as I go through these slides. It is, as I said, nothing really more than a big sandbar.
This gives you a sense of some of the shacks that are out there. These are all generally pastiched together by the people that build them. They change over time. The favorite location for building materials for most of these shacks in the early 20th century was the town dump. Today, very often, people will go and get parts and pieces at Lowe’s and Home Depot to patch them together. They get hauled around sometimes. The landscape, the dunes themselves, change with winds, water action, hurricanes. It’s a very, very dynamic maritime cultural landscape. Give you a little better shot of kind of looking down the shore towards the north, northeast. One of the reasons they get moved around is sometimes this used to happen. Basically, they would, if they didn’t move them, the land would move underneath them, and at some point they would lose them. There are only 18 left no, 19 left, and at one time there were far more.
I’m going to come back just once to that slide on the right. When I was doing some research out there working with the park, there’s actually a dune shack underneath this one. It got buried by shifting sands. Rather than try to dig it out, they just figured well, start again. So, As I say, a very dynamic historic cultural landscape. This is a house that used to be on Holland Island. Holland Island, in the 19th century and the early 20th, had 70 houses, a church, and several other public buildings on it.
In about 2009, I was looking with my wife to buy something waterfront. This was for sale. With the caveat you had to move it, and the reason you had to move it is because there’s not a whole lot of island left. That’s a combination of, again, it’s a very dynamic environment. Shifting sands, water, storms, what have you. By 2009, this was pretty much what was left of the island, and by 2010, that’s about what was left of the island. The house was never designated per se, but certainly as a cultural landscape, I looked at this photograph and I thought to myself, if Andrew Wyeth did paintings of maritime landscapes, this would be one of them, and again, the maritime environment can be very harsh.
Audience member: Did you buy it?
Paul Loether: No, no. You can probably see why, once I had a good look at it. It wasn’t quite that bad when I saw it, but it was clear, and the moving costs, frankly, I couldn’t figure out how to get it off this island, so…And I also wanted to preserve my marriage.
This is Kings Point, which is the merchant marine academy on Long Island. As some of you know, my avocational interest is naval history, and certainly this falls within the general parameters of that. Most of these institutions, if you start really looking at them, are in fact clearly Coast Guard Academy, Naval Academy. Those in particular, from an institutional standpoint, really it helps to look at them as a maritime landscape. It certainly helps in understanding the integration of these with the maritime environment, and of course, that tends to fall within their mission as well.
Not all, When I was reading, start looking into trying to define maritime landscapes, it’s usually associated with the sea or with large lakes, or with large inland bodies of water, but my sense from the Register is that it’s more than that, or it can be. What you’re seeing is a map of the state of New York, and it may not be showing up clearly, but you probably can see that there’s a line that goes from the right side to the left. That’s the New York State Barge Canal, successor to the Erie Canal. And I think some of these especially larger canals really have to be considered in the context of a maritime environment. They are not lakes or large body of waters, but invariably they connect them, and they have an influence on the landscape. They’re a strong one in the built environment. That’s a historic shot of one of this locks.
This is actually Rochester, which was a community that basically grew up because of that canal. Because of that maritime association, and so it has resources that are immediately along the canal, which clearly tie into it. Again, it may bring up the issue of how far back from that particular resource do you move, and for what length and periods if you’re trying to designate it, but clearly there’s a strong association here. I very much consider this to be a maritime landscape, just as I would the Suez Canal. Canals, basically because they connect large bodies of water, and invariably have built environment. Part of the built environment is associative with the canal rather than direct. I think clearly they need to be considered in that light.
This is Smith Island in Maryland. Smith Island,is… there is an historic district there. Clearly, again, a maritime environment. I still think that there’s no way to get there except by boat. It’s a particularly interesting location because it preserves a dialect in English that goes back, according to most linguists, to the eastern counties of England. While not all of the inhabitants work that dialect, it still remains alive and well there. Again, maritime environment, probably preserved, and especially in some of those cultural aspects, by the fact that there is no bridge. As we move farther to the west, something probably more of you are familiar with from this part of the country. Again, associations of shoreline communities, fishing villages and whatnot, very much maritime landscapes. Show all the characteristics in terms of the types of resources, the feel, the association.
And, Of course, what’s going on here in Lake Michigan. I had somebody who I was discussing this proposal with, and he said, “Well, You know, none of those ships, they don’t really have any specific relationship to each other.” I thought about that and I really came to the conclusion that if you look at most historic districts, a lot of the buildings don’t either. They’re kind of organic in the way they evolve. A maritime landscape doesn’t have to be something that was created all at one time or in one place. A landscape itself is something that evolves over time. And, again, most of you who are out here have probably seen this map showing some of the resources, the shipwrecks, what have you that form part of the underwater aspect of this. And just because something’s underwater doesn’t mean it can’t be a landscape, any more than just because something’s under snow it can’t be a landscape.
Particularly here, because from what I have seen, this is eminently divable. Certainly, you’re going to get a lot better photographs of this than what I’ll show you later underwater, but we need to basically consider strongly what our impacts are on the bottom. Nantucket Sound, for example, with the Wampanoags, it’s not just the surface of the water. The tribes will tell you, they used to live out there. The water came up, land became inundated, they moved back. Pretty logical. Anyway, I put this up here to make it clear that just because there’s no direct tie one resource to the other, doesn’t mean that they can’t comprise a larger landscape. There’s many ways of looking at these districts, multiple properties from our perspective at the register, but the key is that they are tied together by the theme of the water, and my guess is looking at the distribution, probably has something to do with shipping routes. It’s not my expertise, but that would be something I would think of immediately. There’s a listing of the ships from the report, which is a little less than legible at the moment, but again, well documented.
Of course, there are more than just the underwater resources. A maritime landscape can be underwater, above water, both. It can be riverine, it can be a canal. There’s a wide variety of possibilities here. And Again, what you’re really looking at is not a property type so much as it is a level of significance, and it’s a contextual framework so that you better understand the historic evolution of the landscape. Again, I don’t think the roadways… I’m having trouble figuring out exactly what designations this does and doesn’t have. This is Monterey, California. I certainly know the roadway was constructed or at least started in the ’30s. Has a very strong maritime relationship, even though it’s not intentional per se, other than making sure that they have wonderful views and vistas as you drive down this highway, which is probably not terribly safe. But again, looking at this in the maritime context, the road gets you from here to there, but clearly it is very much in that context.
We also have had issues where we’ve … Trestles Beach out in California is a very important surfing location. Strong, strong relationship with the surfing community. Trestles has nothing really built per se at this juncture. There’s a few shacks, but the important part is the beach itself. This is a natural feature which has been ascribed significance not so much by belief but by use. Gives you a sense of the breaks that the surfers talk about, which have remained relatively static. They shift somewhat, but for the most part, because of the nature of the topography, they remain in those locations. They’ve been surfing here, actively, well, since probably the ’40s. Initially it was illegal to go there, which made it ever so much more attractive to surfers, and it’s actually a beach which we are working to try to get designated, and we’re trying to do that in the face of opposition by the attorneys at the Navy. It is owned by the Navy and used as a Marine Corps base.
Naval shipyards, other kinds of shipyards. This is an historic shot of Puget Sound. Again, you have to bear with me. As an avocational naval historian, I have certain things that I am biased on, but clearly, a naval shipyard, whether it’s here, whether it’s Groton in Connecticut, San Diego, places like Pearl Harbor, they all have a very distinctive relationship with the water. Clearly maritime landscapes in the sense of their relationship and how they interact with that, and probably useful to basically start looking at that, especially with respect to naval shipyards.
This is a shot of, I think it’s Ketchikan, Alaska. If you look at the upper left side, you’ll see two arrows. Those are the only two buildings that are left, but I put the slide up here, again, because of the relationship it clearly shows, with this as a fishing community, the water, the importance of the interaction between the two, and the interaction between human beings and the environment. If it was all still there, I certainly think it would be eligible for listing in the Register.
I don’t believe we have any fish ponds that are actually listed at this point, but some of them should be. This is in Hawaii. Not all fish ponds are exactly on the coast like this, but usually they’re close by. They have a direct relationship, again, with the actual ocean itself and how the native peoples related to that with these areas. It’s a good example of a maritime environment that most of us might not think about as we’re working through. This is a better shot of one of them. It’s actually on the coast. Of course, when that is brought into bear, there are more resources than just a fish pond. You can see the buildings, the family compounds. They all form part and parcel of that landscape and fall within a larger landscape of the Hawaiian Islands itself.
This is a place called Turtle and Shark in American Samoa. It’s one of our more recent traditional cultural properties. There is nothing built that’s included in this. It is solely driven by the belief system of the indigenous peoples in American Samoa. It is something that’s very significant to them, and yet because of that belief system, that with the marine environment together form a good example of a maritime cultural landscape that’s not resource driven in terms of what we’ve done, but belief driven.
Ok, I don’t know if this is going to work, but my dad used to always say when you finish a presentation, always try to go out with a blast. I’m going to go back. I don’t think it’ll work. I can’t figure out how to … Anyway, this is Bikini Atoll. This is out in the western Pacific, Marshall Islands, and most of you probably know that in the 1940s, 1946, this was a location for testing of the fourth and fifth atomic bombs. Working with the Army, but mostly the Navy, to see what the effects and impacts would be. This is a good example when we get to the shipwrecks where you have something that the natural environment was there for a long time, but as it exists now, this is essentially the product of one cataclysmic event that we have created as human beings.
Here’s a shot of the lagoon. You can see what the target area is, where they had the ships that are located there, and there’s a shot of the ships pre-blast. If you look, if I can get this thing to work … Well, the large ship just right of center there is the USS Saratoga. Standard tonnage was 33,000, although it was actually 36. They cheated on the books. It’s about…think of it as being almost 3 football fields long. It’s a huge ship. There’s the blast for Baker, which is the underwater test. The column of water, if you look on the right side, you’ll see a dark spot. That’s where the USS Arkansas, a pre-World War 1 battleship, was moored as part of the test, and the ship was large enough where it actually blocked the water from going up. When the explosion occurred, it turned the ship over and it sank immediately.
Within the 1-mile radius of the ships that had been moored there that were sunk, not all of them went down, but that is what the bottom essentially looks like in this part of the atoll right now, and forms an important naval landscape. This is the Saratoga, and again, to give you a sense of the size of it, look at the planes on deck and the small people. That’s it sinking after the blast. It did not sink immediately. It took some time, and again, some of these ships had been exposed to the Able test, which was the airburst ahead of time, and suffered damage as well. There’s a shot of it on the bottom, so I think you can appreciate how much nicer it is to be diving in Lake Michigan, but again, it is considered to be one of the best dives, as I understand it, certainly in the western Pacific. That’s what the ship looks like on the bottom today. It is documented. I think if I were diving there, it would bring a whole new meaning to the concept of warm water.
This is the Nagato. This is a Japanese battleship built shortly after World War 1, which was captured, which was also part of the test. Also on the bottom now. It’s a little hard to distinguish which parts of the ship we’re looking at, but I believe this is the rudder. It’s upside down. And again, at Bikini, it’s not just the ships on the bottom that form part of this cultural landscape. There are also buildings that remain on the islands, and, of course, flora and fauna. Not all of that was destroyed when the tests were done. The real major impact of the test was within first and foremost within a mile of the blast area, and then out to about three miles, but today, this is probably the best example of a one event cultural landscape that demonstrates the interaction of human beings and the environment. Maybe not our best moment, but nonetheless, important in that regard.
That’s not supposed to be there. Sorry about that. That was a power house in New York. I was playing with another program. I got them mixed up, but anyway, I would like to thank you all for coming today. We don’t necessarily think we have all the answers here, and so I’m looking to hear what you all have to say. We do have some strong feelings about the importance of cultural landscapes and maritime landscapes in particular, and so I’m really looking forward to hearing the following discussions and thank you all for coming.
We do have about…well, the enforcer says we have about 7 minutes to go. If you’d like to ask me any questions, I’d be happy to try to address them. Looks like I either did a really good job or a really poor one. Yes sir?
Paul: You know, I think we have a broad definition, and trying to get too specific I think could be counterproductive. I think a cultural landscape is really best defined in general by talking about the interface between human activity and the natural environment, the human environment and the natural environment and, if we get too far beyond that, then we start to, you know, bean count. It may be counterproductive at this juncture. I think we need to go through a little more discussions about that. Maritime, to me, as I said, it sounds simplistic, but add water. I think water becomes, where it’s a dominant, maybe not the dominate, but a dominate feature and character of the natural environment, I think that’s what I would really focus on as the maritime part. A landscape is a landscape, but a maritime landscape is special because it has certain characteristics, and a maritime landscape can be something that’s been done post-contact, or as I said with the Wampanoags, it can be pre-contact and indigenous. All varieties. It kind of covers or can cross over a group of different sub-categories as well.
I think that’s the key. You could say everything’s a cultural landscape, and that’s probably true, but there will be cultural landscapes which are more reflective, more significant in terms of how they demonstrate that interaction. A farm is a cultural landscape. Scale’s a little smaller, and sometimes larger scales actually can tell us a lot about who we are or who we have been or who we should be down the line. Again, We don’t propose that we have all the definitions, or we wouldn’t be here. What we’d like to do is hear and learn from you all as well within that framework. Not everything that’s a cultural landscape or a maritime cultural landscape may necessarily be eligible for the register, but if we can start to identify what they are, then we can start to apply register criteria, knowing that the register is not a perfect tool and has limits. Does that help?
And I will be around if you want to button hole me. It doesn’t cost anymore. Thank you.