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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

On behalf of Design Workshop, Inc. and the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center (HANC), SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted an intensive archaeological survey of the proposed HANC improvements in Harris County, Texas. The portion of the HANC to be affected by the proposed improvements consists of an approximately 55-acre area (project area) located in the northern third of the overall 155-acre HANC. Archaeological investigations were conducted in compliance with the Antiquities Code of Texas under Antiquities Permit No. 7592 and with guidelines set forth by the Texas Historical Commission (THC).

The background literature review revealed that no cultural resources surveys had been conducted within the boundaries of the project area, although 12 cultural resources surveys had been conducted within 1 mile of the project area. In addition, five archaeological sites (41HR614, 41HR617, 41HR791, 41HR885, and 41HR1158), five historic structures, and two cemeteries were found to be located within a 1-mile radius of the boundary of the HANC. Site 41HR614, representing the intact remains of a WWI training facility, Camp Logan, has been recorded as a State Antiquities Landmark, and site 41HR617, a prehistoric lithic scatter has been recorded as potentially eligible for State Antiquities Landmark designation. One historic structure, the Meachum and Mellinger House, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

During the field investigation, a team of two archaeologists examined only those portions of the HANC where construction activities were anticipated. In accordance with THC standards, SWCA excavated 59 shovel tests within the project area. One new historic archaeological site (41HR1181), representing an early twentieth-century historic dump, was identified and delineated. A second locus of scattered brick was also identified; however, the locus contained no other artifacts and appeared to be displaced. This locus was recorded as Isolated Find 1. In addition, an SWCA architectural historian completed an architectural evaluation of the Houston Arboretum Visitor Center, a potentially historic structure designed by noted Houston architect Hugo Victor Neuhaus, Jr., that has been significantly modified in the past. SWCA conducted a non-collection survey; therefore, no cultural materials will be curated. The original survey documentation will be curated with the Texas State University Center for Archaeological Studies.

In accordance with the Antiquities Code of Texas, SWCA has made a reasonable and good faith effort to identify significant cultural resources within the project area. No properties listed or otherwise eligible for listing in the NRHP, or eligible for official designation as a State Antiquities Landmark, were identified within the project area. Consequently, SWCA recommends no further archaeological investigation, and that the project be allowed to proceed.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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