2015 HALS Challenge: Documenting Modernist Landscapes  
Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three submissions. Results will be announced at the 2015 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Chicago during the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Meeting.  For the 2015 HALS Challenge, we invite you to document modernist landscapes unique to your region of the country.  Short format histories should be submitted to HALS at the National Park Service no later than July 31, 2015. The HALS Short Format History Guidelines, brochure, and digital template may be downloaded from the HALS website. For information about the 2014 HALS Challenge winners, check The Field.

Tennessee Historic Landscape Initiative & Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Program

Tennessee Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (TNASLA) began the Tennessee Historic Landscape Initiative in order to compile the rich cultural and historic landscapes we have in our great state.  We have already notated information on 85 landscapes in Tennessee but are seeking more.  If you or anyone you know might be interested in lending your knowledge of special places to this list please contact us.

Robinson Family Water Garden at Cheekwood

Interested volunteers can also fill out short-form surveys on selected landscapes for submission to the Library of Congress using the short-form survey template from the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) program.  HALS was developed as a partnership between ASLA and the National Park Service and is similar to HABS, the well-known building survey program from the 1930s.  Some ideas of landscapes to investigate further to see if they warrant a short-form survey are: Overton Park, Elmwood Cemetery, Carnton Plantation, Glen Leven, Glen Echo, Cheekwood, Norris Dam State Park, Blount Mansion and Allendale Mansion.  Once landscapes are documented in the Library of Congress, they can be used as references for future generations and will mark what the landscape looked like in 2013.

For an example of a HALS “short-form survey” view the entry for Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in Greeneville, TN.

For a step-by-step tool kit on how to complete a HALS survey please click this link.

Reflection Pool at Cheekwood

What is a Historic Landscape?

The HALS program defines a historic landscape as being 50+ years old OR, if it is considered of “modern” design, it could be as young as 30 years old.  The landscape can be rural/urban, designed/vernacular, large/small, but it must possess integrity in its “location, design, setting, materials.”  Per the HALS guidelines (which borrows some criteria from the National Register process):

1-Associated with a significant event in history.

2-Associated with a significant person in history.

3-Designed by a noted person, have high artistic value, show distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction (even if that type is “common” or vernacular).

4- Gives important information in history or prehistory.


 Completed HALS surveys for Tennessee

HALS TN-1   Chattanooga National Cemetery, 1200 Bailey Avenue, Chattanooga, Hamilton County

HALS TN-2   Knoxville National Cemetery, 939 Tyson Street, Northwest, Knoxville, Knox County

HALS TN-3   Memphis National Cemetery, 3568 Townes Avenue, Memphis, Shelby County

HALS TN-4   Mountain Home National Cemetery, Mountain Home, Washington County

HALS TN-5   Nashville National Cemetery, 1420 Gallatin Road, South, Madison, Davidson County

HALS TN-6   Andrew Johnson National Cemetery, 121 Monument Avenue, Greeneville, Greene County

HALS TN-7   Landscapes of the Battlefield of Franklin (Carnton PlantationCarter HouseLotz House), Williamson County


Thank you,

Christine Donhardt, ASLA

HALS Liaison for Tennessee

Photo courtesy: Christine Donhardt