Historic Architectural Survey for the Buckeye Wind Farm Project
In advance of the proposed Buckeye Wind LLC wind-powered electric generating facility in Champaign County, Ohio, CRA completed a historic architectural survey in order to satisfy Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 4906-17-08 (D) for the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB). Based on OPSB directives and input from the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office, a project-specific work plan was developed for an architectural survey of the 5-mile viewshed surrounding the proposed turbine locations. While the work plan called for systematically recording historic resources, the ultimate goal of the survey was to define the key property types that characterize the historic landscape of the region to enable landscape-level consideration of the project’s effects.
A field survey was conducted during which individual properties and districts were documented in order to determine the general character of the historic landscape and identify character-defining property types. The field survey documented 1,475 individual properties located in the rural areas and crossroads communities of the survey area, and an additional 44 blocks in Mechanicsburg and 283 blocks in Urbana were assessed. Based on the archival research, field survey, and public involvement, it was determined that the agricultural heritage of the survey area is what makes the historic landscape unique and that historic farmsteads and farmhouses, one-room schoolhouses, churches, cemeteries, and crossroads communities are character-defining property types that contribute to one’s appreciation of the area’s historic landscape.
It was determined that the number and size of the proposed turbines could affect the perception of the traditional rural historic landscape, changing important qualities of the setting in which many of the character-defining historic property types are located. Consequently, creative mitigation measures were recommended in order to promote the continued preservation and meaningfulness of the survey area’s rural history. The findings of the archival research, field survey, and public input were taken into consideration when formulating the recommended mitigation measures, which include a Multiple Property Submission for Champaign County’s one-room schoolhouses and a Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plan on the history of the Underground Railroad in Champaign County.