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Cultural Resources Survey for the Proposed Memorial Park Eastern Glades Phase 2 Development Project, Memorial Park, City of Houston, Harris County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
On behalf of the City of Houston and the Memorial Park Conservancy, Gray & Pape, Inc. conducted an intensive pedestrian survey of approximately 16.6 hectares (41 acres) for the proposed Eastern Glades Phase 2 development project located in Memorial Park, a public park of the City of Houston, Harris County, Texas. As the proposed project is located within property of the City of Houston, a political subdivision of the state of Texas, and exceeds 2 hectares (5 acres) in area, the proposed undertaking requires the completion of an archaeological survey and due consideration of identified archaeological resources prior to project commencement, per the Antiquities Code of Texas. Fieldwork and reporting for the survey were conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit Number 7686, issued to Gray & Pape by the Texas Historical Commission (Archeology Division) on June 17, 2016. The goals of the intensive pedestrian survey were to assist the Memorial Park Conservancy in assessing the proposed project’s Area of Potential Effects for the presence of cultural resources as they are defined by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (36 CFR 800), and provide management recommendations for identified resources. Gray & Pape, Inc. focused particular attention on the State Antiquities Landmark-designated Camp Logan archaeological site (41HR614), which is intersected by the project area. Survey, site identification and delineation, and reporting were completed with reference to standards established by the Archeology Division of the Texas Historical Commission, the Council of Texas Archeologists, and the National Historic Preservation Act.
Background research for the project was conducted in May 2016 and fieldwork was completed in July and October 2016. Fieldwork encompassed the entire project area and involved pedestrian reconnaissance, subsurface investigation through shovel testing, and photographic documentation of existing conditions. Gray & Pape, Inc. focused attention on areas likely to contain surface and subsurface materials and deposits associated with Camp Logan. In particular, Camp Logan-period cartographic resources and narrative reports dating to 1918 and historic aerial imagery dating to the mid-1940s were consulted in planning and completing fieldwork.
The proposed project includes five separate areas (designated by Gray & Pape, Inc. as survey areas A through E for fieldwork) clustered together in the southeastern section of Memorial Park. Pedestrian reconnaissance identified a low-density surface brick scatter near Area A and four in situ pre-cast concrete park benches located in Areas A and B. Pedestrian reconnaissance also identified traces of former roadways likely associated with Camp Logan that could be identified through patterns in tree growth and understory vegetation. Subsurface investigation involved the completion of a total of 61 shovel tests across all five survey areas, including five shovel tests completed within the mapped surface brick scatter. Of these 61 shovel tests, three shovel tests yielded historic archaeological material (ferrous wire nail fragments in all three shovel tests) that may date in manufacture greater than 50 years before present; no other shovel tests yielded prehistoric or historic period archaeological materials pre-dating the mid-1960s.
Based on the results of the survey, Gray & Pape, Inc. recommends no further archaeological investigations with respect to the current design of the Memorial Park Eastern Glades Phase 2 project. The current plans for the project take into consideration the most distinct and visible of the roadways dating to the Camp Logan period. Gray & Pape, Inc. does recommend the adoption of an Unanticipated Discoveries Plan and Workforce Education Plan by the Memorial Park Conservancy prior to the commencement of construction to avoid adverse impacts to buried archaeological features and materials associated with the Camp Logan archaeological site. Gray & Pape, Inc. submitted project records to Texas Archeological Research Laboratory.
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