Thursday, February 3, 2011

Western Reserve History through Place: Journal 1

January 20, 2011

Western Reserve History through Place is co-taught by Dr. Bari Stith and Nick Fagan. Dr. Stith specializes in Ohio History, and Mr. Fagan is a graduate of Kent State University with dual Master Degree's in Architecture and Library Science. This course will substitute for Historic Preservation's required course, Issues. I feel that this course will provide me with the time to dedicate to both mastering Western Reserve history and Architectural history specific to the region. Both of these areas will build my capability as a preservationist, and the course will provide me with the pieces of specific Ohio history that I have not had in over fifteen years. I feel that is both imperative as a historian and preservationist to understand your region, and I am lucky to be able to participate in such a course that addresses this directly.

Our first course was a basic introduction to the course and its syllabus. Dr. Stith furthered the class, by beginning pre-history in Ohio, and initiating conversation about history and culture theory. I found the discussion about the Wisconsin Glacier extremely informative. One aspect of my studies that I have wanted to develop is my knowledge about regional history and evolution of the built environment. In my position with AmeriCorps, I complete historic inventories and direct surveys. In writing my survey summaries, I have felt limited in my ability to convey the natural resources affect on the built environment. Yes I have understood the impacts of waterways, and such, on the development of transportation routes, but I have no yet had the time to dedicate to further researching this topic.

In my undergraduate studies, I did take some natural sciences, and geology was one of these courses. That specific course did not touch on pre-history, and I feel that this would have made a dramatic impact on my scholarship sooner. I feel it is rather a moot point to discuss riverbeds, if the development of those riverbeds is never discussed. I understand there is a limited amount of time, but a quick footnote doesn't take an eternity. Now that I have this information, I will be able to better illustrate how natural resources affect the built environment, and I will be better able to advise interested individuals into performing research.

Here is a link about Ohio Soils in Relation to Glacial Impact:

Here is a very limited source about the Wisconsinan Glacier:

Here is a link that shows a natural resource of a glacial ridge:

Here is a detail source with decent maps showing historic receding of glacier and creation of great lakes:

One Issue I picked out of the presentation is merely the lack of application pre-history has on contemporary preservation. I feel that we should insert more of this knowledge into preservation articles and standards. It is really interesting to see how dramatically natural resources do affect the built environment, and I was really inspired by this session. It is really interesting to see how we are taught that different disciplines are so disparate, but in fact, archeology and preservation do feed off one another.

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