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Authors

Michael Quennoz

Agency

Texas Historical Commission

DOI

https://doi.org/10.21112/ita.2020.1.48

Abstract

On behalf of the City of Houston and the Memorial Park Conservancy, Gray & Pape, Inc. conducted intensive pedestrian surveys of three areas totaling 144.4 hectares (357.6 acres) of Memorial Park, City of Houston, Harris County, Texas. Fieldwork was carried out between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019, under Texas Antiquities Annual Permit Number 8465. The following report presents the results of site file and background research, survey methods, field results, and conclusions and recommendations for each of these surveys. The goals of the intensive pedestrian surveys were to assist the Memorial Park Conservancy in identifying 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. Survey methods, site identification and delineation, and reporting adhere to standards established by the Archeology Division of the Texas Historical Commission, the Council of Texas Archeologists, and the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. At this time, the Memorial Park Conservancy plans to conduct standard park maintenance activities including low impact mechanical clearing of the invasive understory, spraying, and new plantings in each of the areas surveyed.

Gray & Pape, Inc. focused particular attention on the State Antiquities Landmark-designated (#8200003264) Camp Logan archaeological site (41HR614) that encompasses large portions of Memorial Park. As a result of survey findings, the boundary for 41HR614 has been expanded to include the entirety of the former Camp Logan footprint as preserved within the boundaries of Memorial Park. The boundary of the previously recorded prehistoric site 41HR1217 was also extended. Four new prehistoric sites (41HR1226, 41HR1227, 41HR1229, 41HR1230) and one new multicomponent site (41HR1228) were also recorded.

The 12.4-hectare (30.6-acre) Sports Complex survey resulted in the identification of five historic features considered part of 41HR614: the partial remains of a Camp Logan era road, segments of two Camp Logan era ditches, a Camp Logan concrete grease trap, and a concrete signpost from the 1940s. Gray & Pape recommends that the grease trap and signpost be avoided by Memorial Park Conservancy planned activities. The remaining features will not be impacted by current planned Memorial Park Conservancy activities. Based on the results of this survey, and with these protective measures in place, Gray & Pape recommends that the no further cultural resources work be required in the remaining portions of the Sports Complex project area and that the project be cleared to proceed as currently planned.

The 76-hectare (189-acre) Bayou Wilds – East survey resulted in the identification of four new prehistoric sites (41HR1226, 41HR1227, 41HR1229, 41HR1230) and one new multicomponent site (41HR1228). The boundaries of the prehistoric site 41HR1217 and the historic site 41HR614 were extended A total of 14 new features were identified as associated with 41HR614, as well as two historic-age structures. Gray & Pape, Inc. recommends avoidance of the identified sites, features, and historic age structures. Based on the results of this survey, and with these protective measures in place, Gray & Pape, Inc. recommends no further cultural resources work be required in the remaining portion of the Bayou Wilds – East project area and that the project be cleared to proceed as planned.

The 56-hectare (138-acre) Northwest Trails – North survey resulted in the identification of four historic-age structures, nearly identical footbridges constructed of irregular blocks and mortar that are part of the park’s active trail network; as well as a historical isolate. Based on the results of this survey, and with these protective measures in place, Gray & Pape, Inc. recommends that the no further cultural resources work be required in the remaining portions of the Northwest Trails – North project area and that the project be cleared to proceed as currently planned.

As part of the Unanticipated Finds Plan developed by Gray & Pape, Inc. and the Memorial Park Conservancy, Gray & Pape, Inc. archaeologists identified and recorded nine cultural features (seven manholes, one grease trap, one segment of vitrified clay pipe) uncovered by activities undertaken by the Memorial Park Conservancy and their contractors. In each case ongoing work in the area of the newly encountered feature was halted until the feature was fully documented by a Gray & Pape, Inc. archaeologist, and potential impacts were coordinated between Gray & Pape, Inc., the Memorial Park Conservancy, and the Texas Historical Commission. Gray & Pape, Inc. also coordinated with the Texas Historical Commission on two occasions in relation to Memorial Park Conservancy projects for which no fieldwork was required.

As a project permitted through the Texas Historical Commission, Gray & Pape, Inc. submitted project records to the Center of Archaeological Studies at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

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