About This Project

Architectural Survey for the Hawks Nest-Glen Ferris Hydroelectric Project


Under an agreement with HDR, Inc. and on behalf of Hawks Nest Hydro, LLC, a subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable Energy Group, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc., we conducted a cultural historic survey of the Hawks Nest-Glen Ferris Hydroelectric Project on the New and Kanawha Rivers in Fayette County, West Virginia order to facilitate compliance and management in accordance with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission standards. The massive Hawks Nest-Glen Ferris Hydro Electric Project was developed in its current form in 1927-1932 by a subsidiary of the Union Carbide & Carbon Corporation as a regional mega-project to supply power to a remote electro-metallurgical production facility. The project consisted of Hawks Nest Dam and Intake and Tunnel, Hawks Nest Surge Basin, and Hawks Nest Powerhouse, Transmission Lines, the 243-acre impoundment behind the dam, associated lands within the historic high water mark, the transmission right of way marking the location of the tunnel, and the tailrace channel.


Following recommendations to ORNL leadership, CRA has since completed a number of other tasks, including a facility-wide survey that documented and evaluated 195 buildings and the National Register-eligible ORNL Historic District. The survey report builds on previous studies to include updated documentation of current conditions, provide NRHP evaluations of resources in consideration of their type and significance within the history of the Manhattan Project and ORNL, and present the information in a customized, reader-friendly format designed to meet the anticipated needs of ORNL staff. CRA has also helped complete several building documentation packages in advance of project activities and is assisting ORNL to update their Historic Preservation Plan and Programmatic Agreement to facilitate preservation and modernization efforts better.


CRA completed architectural resource assessments of each individual element of the project, as well as associated landscapes and places, including the company town and historic inn used as a company headquarters. Because of the architectural and associative significance of the Hawks Nest-Glen Ferris Hydro Electric Project, CRA recommended that the entirety of the Hawks Nest Development is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as an outstanding engineering achievement. Further, the design itself is significant as an important example of the modern industrial architectural aesthetic drawing from a range of architectural movements, from a pure functionality to the Moderne and Colonial Revival, to add a distractive architectural character to the fundamentally industrial assemblage.


To meet the challenges of the management of a collection of individually significant resources within a sprawling historic site, CRA is working with the client to define the character-defining features of each element of the site in support of the development of a historic property management plan that will inform public involvement work, determine specific undertakings that will have no effect of any significant resources, and develop treatments for the maintenance of the facilities that meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. Specific procedures, treatment measures, and exempt activities may be chronicled in a Programmatic Agreement document to be developed in consultation with the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, agency officials, and the facility operator to allow for the preservation and enhancement of this unique historic environment.




Fayette County, West Virginia


HDR, Inc.



Architectural History + Historic Preservation, NHPA + NEPA Compliance, Renewable Energy, West Virginia
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