Architects of the United States Forest Service

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Architects of the United States Forest Service are credited with the design of many buildings and other structures in National Forests. Some of these are listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to the significance of their architecture. A number of these architectural works are attributed to architectural groups within the Forest Service rather than to any individual architect. Architecture groups or sections were formed within engineering divisions of many of the regional offices of the Forest Service and developed regional styles.[1]

National consulting architect W. Ellis Groben led development of architectural style for the Forest Service, including by his important 1940 document, "Architectural Trend of Future Forest Service Buildings"[2] and by his 1938 compilation "Acceptable Building Plans: Forest Service Administrative Buildings".[3] He advocated what is now known as non-intrusive architectural design, and advocated regional styles rather than universal style.[3]

Architects of several regions and their works are discussed in the following sections, with the regions having the most information available about them first.

Region 6[edit]

Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Washington, 1943

The architecture group of the Forest Service's Northwest regional office, Region 6, designed works in Oregon and Washington. At an early date the architecture group of this region included architects Linn A. Forrest, Howard L. Gifford, James Pollock and W.I. "Tim" Turner, and landscape architect Emmett U. Blanchfield. According to the National Register nomination for many of their works, "The style that emerged from the Pacific Northwest Region had no clearly identifiable architectural prototype, but reflected the influence of the English Cottage and Norman Farmhouse styles."[4]:6,24

Ellis Groben, national leader of architecture in the Forest Service, reportedly "was impressed with the Northwest Cascadian style of architecture that was started by Tim Turner, Linn Forrest, Dean Wright, and Howard Gifford on Timberline Lodge and numerous CCC facilities in the Washington and Oregon area."[5] Around 1951, architects of the region included A.P. "Benny" DiBenedetto, FAIA, Bill Hummel, Dick Parker, Ken Grimes, Doug Parmenter, and Norm Krause.[5] Around 1958, Joe Mastrandrea, Perry Carter, Ken Reynolds, Terry Young, and Tom Morland joined the staff.[5]

The Region 6 design team received several awards for laboratories in Oregon.[5] DiBenedetto was elected to be president for the Oregon Council of Architects, to be Director of the Pacific and Northwest Region of the American Institute of Architects (ALA) and to serve on the National Board of AIA all while serving as Regional Architect in Region 6 (1951–1961) or as Station Architect, Pacific Northwest (1961–1979).[5]

There are 25 locations whose design is attributed to the Region 6 group.[4][6] Notable works of Region 6 architects (with attribution as given in NRHP listing if applicable) include:

Region 3[edit]

1935 Columbine Work Station, in 1991

In Region 3, standard plans were prepared under direction from the National Forest's Washington office, but architects at the Region 3 office created plans in the Bungalow style. Bungalow style had been popular for small houses in the U.S. from about 1905 to 1930, and was waning in popularity when Region 3 adopted it. The Region 3 architects further adapted the floor plans of this style for wood frame and for masonry construction in different environmental areas (timbered areas vs. grasslands vs. desert), and adopted Spanish Eclectic and Pueblo Revival styling for desert models. But the low cost of the Bungalow style led to it being used in desert areas, too.[7]

Notable works of Region 3 architects include:

Region 2[edit]

Notable works of Region 2 architects (with attribution as given in NRHP listing, if applicable) include:

Region 5[edit]

Notable architects of Region 5, California, include Keplar B. Johnson

Region 4[edit]

The Lamoille Organization Camp near Lamoille in Elko County, Nevada is a work of the Region 4 Forest Service.[6]

Also the Paradise Valley Ranger Station, in Humboldt County, Nevada, is a work of Forest Service design, built by the CCC.

Region 1[edit]

The Big Creek Ranger Station Historic District, in Flathead National Forest in Flathead County, Montana, is a work of Region 1.

Other areas[edit]

Notable works of other areas' architects (with attribution as given in NRHP listing, if applicable) include:

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Byrne, J. J., et al., USDA Forest Service, 1990. The History of Engineering in the Forest Service (A Compilation of History and Memoirs, 1905-1989). Washington: USDA Forest Service, 1990
  • Throop, E. Gail, 1979 "Utterly Visionary and Chimerical: A Federal Response to the Depression, An examination of Civilian Conservation Corps Construction on National Forest System Lands in the Pacific Northwest". Thesis completed at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon.
  • USDA Forest Service, 2009. Implementing LEED: Strategies That Work for the Forest Service. USDA Forest Service Technology and Development Program, February 2009. 0973–2802–MTDC. [1]