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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

DOI

https://doi.org/10.21112/ita.2020.1.41

Abstract

On behalf of the City of Florence, Texas, SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted an intensive cultural resources survey of the proposed City of Florence Municipal Facilities Complex (Project) in Williamson County, Texas. The 1.2-acre parcel scheduled for redevelopment is located on land owned and managed by the City of Florence, a political subdivision of the state of Texas; therefore, the Project requires compliance with the Antiquities Code of Texas (ACT). In addition, the project will receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); therefore, the work was conducted to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). This cultural resources investigation was conducted under ACT Permit No. 9142. On behalf of the USDA, SWCA has also issued engagement letters to the six Tribes identified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as having overlapping interest with the Project area. To date, SWCA has yet to receive comments from the identified Tribes.

The parcel on which the Project is proposed contains four extant buildings/structures: the Florence City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, a large Veteran’s Memorial, and a thrift store. As part of the Project, all but the Veteran’s Memorial are scheduled for demolition and a larger municipal complex is expected to be constructed in their stead. Impacts are expected to include widespread surficial modifications with deeper impacts in locations of foundations and utilities.

The cultural resources investigation consisted of a background and historical map review followed by intensive pedestrian survey augmented by shovel testing conducted by an archaeologist, and an assessment of the extant buildings conducted by an architectural historian. SWCA’s background review determined that there are no known cultural resources within the Project area. Additionally, the historical map review identified only two potential historical structures within the Project area.

During field investigations on September 25 and November 5, 2019, SWCA confirmed that the four extant buildings/structures on the subject property are of modern construction, and therefore, are not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and are not considered eligible for designation as a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL). In addition, the two potential historical structures identified during the historical map review within the Project area are not extant. SWCA excavated a total of 12 shovel tests within the Project area, three of which were positive for cultural materials. The cultural material includes an axe head, an unidentifiable metal fragment, a round nail, and a white-bodied earthenware sherd. The artifacts found within the shovel tests cannot be securely identified as being from a historic origin and were found with, or near the same depth as, modern plastic fragments. Furthermore, the soils within the Project area exhibited a high degree of disturbance due to decades of construction, landscaping, and tree planting, as well as buried utilities. Due to the lack of soil integrity and the lack of artifacts that can securely be attributed to a historic origin, SWCA finds the three positive shovel tests as constituting an isolated find and does not rise to the level of an archaeological site. As such, the isolated finds do not meet the criteria for NRHP listing nor SAL designation. No other cultural resources were identified within the Project area.

In accordance with the ACT and with Section 106 of the NHPA (36 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 800.4 (b)(1)), SWCA has made a reasonable and good faith effort to identify historic properties within the area of potential effects. SWCA recommends a finding of No Historic Properties Affected per 36 CFR 800. 5(b) and no further archaeological investigation of the current Project area is recommended. No artifacts or samples were collected during this survey. All survey-related documentation will be curated at the Center for Archaeological Studies, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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