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Home Working with Section 106 ACHP Case Digest Summer 2005 Florida: Demolition of Camp Pinchot Historic District, Fort Walton Beach
Florida: Demolition of Camp Pinchot Historic District, Fort Walton Beach
Agency: U.S. Air Force
Camp Pinchot at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, features well-maintained wooden houses, sheds, and barns that were constructed before 1920 to house U.S. Forest Service personnel.
The employees managed the Choctawhatchee National Forest, the first designated National Forest in the eastern United States, established through a presidential proclamation by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908.
The camp, which was named after the first chief of the Forest Service, is the oldest surviving Forest Service administrative complex in the eastern United States and is listed as a historic district in the National Register of Historic Places.
It sits on the waters of Garniers Bayou, on landscaped grounds surrounded by live oaks draped with Spanish moss. Underlying much of the camp is a large prehistoric and historic archeological site that has been determined eligible for listing in the National Register.
In 1940, the camp was transferred from the Forest Service to the Army Air Forces, which has used it for Eglin Air Force Bases commanding officers residences. The Air Force has proposed to replace the camp with new senior officer housing.
The Forest Service has expressed its desire for the Air Force to either preserve and maintain Camp Pinchot, or transfer it back to the Forest Service.
In July 2004, the ACHP wrote to the Secretary of the Air Force that it would be a consulting party in the proposed project. Other consulting parties include the Florida State Historic Preservation Officer, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.
In August 2004, the consulting parties met at Camp Pinchot on the proposed demolition of the historic district. The ACHP is currently reviewing the Air Forces site re-use documents.
In recent comments on the Air Forces Adaptive Alternatives Report, the ACHP said that realistic options exist for the Air Force to continue its good stewardship of Camp Pinchot, without resorting to demolishing the historic district.
Staff contact: Tom