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Home arrowNews arrowFirst Chairman's Awards for Federal Achievement in Historic Preservation Presented to GSA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
First Chairman's Awards for Federal Achievement in Historic Preservation Presented to General Services Administra-
tion and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

For more information, contact Bruce Milhans at (202) 606-8513 or

November 15, 2002, Washington, DC—Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Chairman John L. Nau, III, will honor the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the General Services Administration for three unique projects with the first presentations of the Chairman's Award for Federal Achievement in Historic Preservation.

The awards will be presented at the Rachel Carson Room of the Ariel Rios Building at 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, beginning at 8:30 a.m. November 15, 2002. The event, and the business meeting of the ACHP, are open to the public and the media.

"These three projects chosen as the first recipients of this Federal historic preservation award have reclaimed portions of America's past for the benefit of current and future generations," Mr. Nau said. "Without these efforts, irreplaceable elements of our heritage would have been lost. With these efforts, many people will have the opportunity to experience and better understand our Nation's rich and varied history."

Archeologists at the Cathlapotle site, Washington StateThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is being recognized for the Cathlapotle Archeological Project at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington. The Cathlapotle site includes a village, first documented by Lewis and Clark in 1805, that was one of the largest and most important Chinook settlements on the Columbia River. The region near the village site was occupied for at least 2,300 years. FWS's long-term management plan for excavation, preservation, and interpretation of this important site is a model of Federal stewardship.

The partners who were instrumental in working with FWS on the project include Portland State University (Oregon), the Chinook Tribe, and a volunteer advisory panel of Vancouver-area (Washington) teachers.

"Cathlapotle reminds us that when President Thomas Jefferson sent his team of explorers into what was for them an uncharted wilderness, the success of the expedition depended upon the goodwill and assistance of Native Americans whose ancestors lived in those areas for millennia," Mr. Nau said.

"Archeology may seem remote from the core mission of the Fish and Wildlife Service, but in fact all Federal agencies are required to consider historic resources in their activities. Cathlapotle is an extraordinary example of the vision appropriate to the resource and history it preserves and honors."

The General Services Administration (GSA) is being recognized for two projects.

U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, San Juan, Puerto RicoThe first project is the rehabilitation and restoration of the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Constructed beginning in 1914, it is considered the first important Federal building constructed in Puerto Rico after it became a U.S. territory in 1898. Its renovation helped revitalize the historic core of the city.

The refurbished structure sits atop the foundations of an ancient Spanish bastion at the entrance of a key harbor, a location that has been strategic to San Juan's defense, economic growth, and development for half a millennium. The project's archeological excavations yielded more than 16,000 artifacts, some dating to the 16th century. Today, judicial operations have resumed in the building, a demonstration of how historic building reuse and restoration serves contemporary needs.

GSA's key partners in the effort were the City of San Juan, its City Planning Commission, the University of Puerto Rico, the Archeology Institute of Puerto Rico, the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

"One of the compelling reasons to promote historic preservation is its ability to re-energize neighborhoods that become magnets for heritage tourism and economic development," Mr. Nau said. "The U.S. Post Office and Courthouse project honors the past by keeping it a beautiful and vibrant part of today's San Juan. It also reminds us of the many strong foundations upon which the United States of America is built."

Roxbury Boys Club, Boston, MassachusettsThe second GSA project being honored is the Fairfield Center/Roxbury Boys Club Renovation in the Roxbury Highlands Historic District, Boston, Massachusetts. Coincidentally, like the Puerto Rico Federal building, this structure also dates to 1914.

The structure that had formerly held the Boys Club was to be demolished, but since its Dudley Square neighborhood had been identified as an Empowerment Zone, a partnership was able to restore the 35,000-square-foot building to its original appearance while thoroughly modernizing it to fulfill new purposes.

This was accomplished in large part through grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City of Boston, which in conjunction with historic preservation tax credits allowed renovation of the building for offices now occupied by the regional Social Security Administration office and several private firms.

GSA's partners in the project were developer Fred Fairfield, Jr., the Dudley Square Neighborhood, and the City of Boston. The renovated building is now named the Fairfield Center, in honor of Mr. Fairfield's father.

"This is a fine example of a local community's determination to chart its future while not writing off its past, and finding a way to make it happen so that everyone benefits," Mr. Nau said. "This project exemplifies the adaptive reuse of threatened historic structures, and how dedicated people and a coalition of interests can work together through creative partnerships to enhance and reinvigorate their neighborhoods and communities."

An independent Federal agency, the ACHP promotes historic preservation nationally by providing a forum for influencing Federal activities, programs, and policies that impact historic properties by advising the President and Congress, advocating preservation policy, improving Federal preservation programs, protecting historic properties, and educating stakeholders and the public. The ACHP is located in Washington, DC, with a field office in Colorado. For more information, visit the ACHP's Web site at

Photo credits:
Cathlapotle archeologists, courtesy of Dr. Kenneth Ames, Portland State University
San Juan U.S. Post Office & Courthouse, courtesy of General Services Administration
Roxbury Boys Club, courtesy of Leslie Donovan, Tremont Preservation Services, LLC


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Posted November 14, 2002

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