Arizona Cultural Resources

  • Cultural Resources Spotlight: The Smurthwaite House

    Greta Rayle, M.A., RPAUnless you’ve stopped to read the plaque hanging by the building preserved through Section 106 at 1317 W. Jefferson Street in Downtown Phoenix, you’re probably unaware that this beautiful Queen Anne style home is truly a little piece of history.

    Headquarters of the Pioneer Cemetery Association, the building was designed and built in 1897 by renowned Phoenix architect James Creighton. Dr. Darius Purman and his wife Mary commissioned construction of the home and two adjacent homes within Block 46 of the Churchill Addition, an early subdivision platted by entrepreneur Clark Churchill in 1887.

    Smurthwaite House

    Smurthwaite House

    Though originally intended as a boarding house, the residence was purchased by Civil War veteran Trustrim Connell in 1903. Trustrim was a noted war hero, having won a Congressional Medal of Honor for capturing a Confederate flag just days before Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. He resided at the home with his wife Eliza, daughter and son-in-law Caroline and Charles Smurthwaite, and their child Carolann until his death in 1937. When the Smurthwaites divorced in 1937, Caroline and Carolann remained and operated an antique store out of the home until their deaths in 1971 and 1982. Following Carolann’s death, the home was willed to the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, the Heard Museum, and the Phoenix Art Museum, who donated the property to the City of Phoenix. In 1992, the residence was moved 26 blocks west to its current location at the Pioneer and Military Memorial Park.
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  • The Class I Cultural Resources Overview: A Developer’s Best Friend

    Chris Watkins, MA, RPAIs there anything quite like deep sea fishing? Once that line is in the water, you’re never quite sure what you are going to pull up, assuming you even get a bite. Experienced fishermen have certain expectations when they go to sea; some fishing spots are better than others, one type of fish is much more common in one area of the ocean than another. I would be surprised if I pulled up say, a mermaid, but who knows? The ocean is a big place after all.

    The work of cultural resources is a little like deep sea fishing. We, as archaeologists, can’t be 100 percent sure about what is under the ground until we start digging. With the immense desert landscape in Arizona, cultural resources are sure to be present in various locations. In keeping with responsible environmental planning practices, archaeologists are regularly tasked with protecting culturally significant artifacts from damage that may result from modern development projects. However, we do have tools and techniques that we can put to work to greatly narrow our expectations about what might be present beneath the ground surface.

    One quick and effective tool is the Class I Cultural Resources Overview. In a Class I, an archaeologist will research a project area, whether it is the route of a proposed road project or a new development to determine if any archaeological sites have been located nearby. This includes the summary of any previous archaeological investigations. In some cases, more time intensive techniques, such as an archaeological survey, have already been implemented. Therefore, we can say with a high degree of certainty if cultural sites are in the area. In other cases, we can look at nearby sites, the general environment, and other resources, and assess the likelihood of cultural resources being present in the given project area.
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  • Mark Hackbarth Discusses First Phoenix Cemetery

    Mark Hackbarth, RPA

    Mark Hackbarth, RPA

    LSD’s Mark Hackbarth gave a presentation on the First Phoenix Cemetery as part of the monthly Archaeology Southwest gathering. Logan Simpson Design recently completed a historic archaeology project in downtown Phoenix at the construction site for the new Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Complex.

    See the video here.

    In May 2012 construction crews at Fifth Avenue and Jackson Street unexpectedly unearthed graves predating 1885. LSD  archaeologists responded to complete a phased data recovery excavation and burial recovery project while construction activities continued elsewhere on the site. The archaeological dig and associated research brought to light the city’s mysterious, long-forgotten cemetery and failed railroad company.

    Mark is an archaeologist with more than 30 years of supervisory experience in Southwestern archaeology. Mark has completed eight major excavation projects in downtown Phoenix, plus archival investigations. He is a recognized expert in Hohokam archaeology of the Salt River Valley and Northern Periphery. He has an equal amount of experience with the historic period in central Arizona.

  • Kathryn Leonard named to Historic Preservation Commission

    Kathryn Leonard, M.A., RPALSD Cultural Resources Director Kathryn Leonard, M.A., RPA, was appointed by the Phoenix City Council to the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission. The nine-member commission maintains the Phoenix Historic Property Register and makes recommendations to the City Council and citizens regarding historic preservation.

    Members represent the fields of history, architecture, prehistoric and historic archaeology, and related disciplines. During her three year term, Kathryn will assist the city’s Preservation Officer in reviewing appeals on proposed alterations to historic properties, historic districts and archeological resources through the Certificate of Appropriateness process; and make funding recommendations for Historic Preservation Bond Funds.

    Kathryn, who resides in Phoenix’s Fairview Place Historic District, manages the cultural resources program at LSD and provides Section 106 of the NHPA support, including government-to-government consultation, for large, complex energy EIS projects.