Cultural Resource Survey at Richmond International Airport
The Capital Region Airport Commission (CRAC) planned ten improvements to the Richmond International Airport (RIC). Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. (CRA) completed an archaeological investigation and architectural history reconnaissance survey in advance of these improvements for AMEC on behalf of the CRAC. This work was part of an environmental assessment prepared for a series of federally-funded projects proposed as part of RIC’s master plan.
The archaeological survey focused on three project areas designated by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources/State Historic Preservation Office (VDHR/SHPO) within the RIC property. Two of the ten proposed improvements had the potential to adversely affect previously recorded but unevaluated archaeological sites. Archaeological sites 44HE0327 and 44HE0370 were originally recorded as a circa 1864 Confederate fort with a battery and breastworks and a late-nineteenth–early-twentieth-century single-family dwelling, respectively. The archaeological evaluation of these sites conducted during this project demonstrated that both had been previously destroyed and thus considered not eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). One previously unidentified archaeological site was discovered during the survey. Site 44HE1159 is a World War II-era military barrack associated with the Richmond Airfield. Archaeological investigation of this site determined that it was destroyed during the removal of the barrack structures between the 1950s and 1990s. Thus, CRA recommended that this site is not eligible for listing in NRHP under Criterion D.
The architectural survey included reconnaissance-level documentation of historic architectural resources within the area of potential effect (APE), which was defined as RIC property and adjacent lands historically associated with either the military or civilian use of the airport. Twenty-eight individual resources, including 20 that had been previously recorded, as well as the entire RIC complex, were assessed for NRHP eligibility. CRA found that three of the previously recorded resources (043-0756-0003, 043-0756-0004, and 043-0756-0012), which were recommended as potentially eligible for listing in the NRHP in 1996, retain sufficient integrity to be potentially eligible under Criteria A and C. The remaining 25 architectural resources needed to retain more significance or integrity; therefore, CRA recommended them as not eligible for individual listing in the NRHP. Additionally, CRA suggested that the entire RIC complex was not eligible for listing in the NRHP because the Richmond Army Air Base Historic District did not retain sufficient integrity. In sum, CRA recommended that the ten airport improvements would not have the potential to adversely affect newly identified or previously recorded historic architectural resources within the APE. The VDHR/SHPO concurred with all of CRA’s recommendations, and the project was completed on schedule and within budget.