Protecting Connecticut’s Coastal Historical Resources

August 14, 2017 § Leave a comment


Connecticut pic


An acknowledged expert in cultural resources management, Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin earned his PhD in archaeology at Arizona State University. He has particular expertise in analyzing the impact of climate change and in coastal resiliency planning to preserve American heritage resources. He is the founder and CEO of R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc., an award-winning firm that has been involved in archeological surveys, preservation, and resiliency efforts for more than 35 years.

In November 2015, Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy announced a series of preservation initiatives to prepare and protect historical sites along Connecticut’s coast from natural disasters, a response to the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, which resulted in Connecticut’s four coastal counties being declared a federal disaster area. With funding from the National Park Service’s Disaster Relief and Assistance Grant Program, the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office chose R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates to be the lead in a multidisciplinary team for Phase 2 of the program.

This phase involved identifying historical sites at risk in the coastal counties to the effects of future storms and sea level rise, and resiliency planning measures to integrate the protection of historic properties in municipal efforts to prepare for and recover from disasters like Hurricane Sandy. The project also included identifying additional historical architectural resources and districts that may qualify for federal recovery funding through their listing on the National Register of Historic Places; the creation of historic and archeological site databases; a survey of dams in the coastal counties; and the development of technical guidance and of Geographic Information System maps of historic properties at risk to future storms and sea level rise for each of the coastal municipalities in the state.

Efforts to Survey and Preserve Connecticut Cemeteries

August 2, 2017 § Leave a comment


Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office pic

Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office

A professional archaeologist with a Ph.D. in archaeology, Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin and his professional staff provide a wealth of historical and archaeological research and preservation planning services to clients nationwide.. Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin’s firm currently is engaged in projects such as one spearheaded by the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) designed to assist in preservation of thousands of historically important burial sites and cemeteries across the state.

The SHPO’s initiative centers on the four coastal counties affected by Hurricane Sandy. It involves both resiliency planning and nomination of important historic cemeteries to the National Register of Historic Places. More than simply having importance to local residents and extended family members, old cemeteries can house important works of artistic merit; they also can provide vital data on early settlement patterns, demography and on changing concepts of death and memorialization that reflect broader societal trends. Such attributes make some of these cemeteries worthy of individual listing on the National Register.

R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc.’s efforts include archaeological surveys, documentation of nomination of some individual cemeteries in Connecticut’s coastal communities. In addition, the firm is developing an app for cemetery groups to use in recording historic cemeteries and their markers, landscapes and monuments. Additionally, the firm has developed an annotated research guide on Connecticut’s cemeteries or public use.

A Project Surveying Historic Connecticut Wrecks

July 13, 2017 § Leave a comment


Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin

Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin

With the Ph.D. in Archaeology and a national practice in cultural resource management, Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin and the staffof his company performs diverse archaeological and historical research projects as a government contractor. Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin’s company, R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc., recently was featured in an Associated Press article, “Race Against Mother Nature to Survey Connecticut Shipwrecks.”

The article focuses on a trio of early 20th-century vessels that lie under approximately 5 feet of water near the Stratford Avenue Bridge in Bridgeport. These slowly decaying canal style barges are increasingly vulnerable to storms and environmental factors such as rising sea levels. As a result, the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) financed a series of remote sensing surveys focused on obtaining data on the current condition of the shipwrecks, on assessing the effects on them of Hurricane Sandy, and developing protocols for their preservation.

The state of Connecticut and other Atlantic Seaboard states received funding authorized by Congress under Public Law 113-2 after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 to assist in recovery efforts and in development of resiliency efforts to foster preservation of historic sites against future storms. One focus of that funding was collecting information about and surveying historic sites on land and underwater along the Connecticut coast that were affected by the storm, and that are in peril from future storms.

The canal barges have been sitting underwater since 1974, when one took on too much water and pulled down the other two that were tied to it. There are few extant examples of such barges; thus, these designated historical resources are of considerable interest to nautical archaeologists, historians, and those interested in maritime history.

The NHPA – Celebrating 50 Years of Stewardship of America’s Heritage

June 1, 2017 § Leave a comment

National Historic Preservation Act pic

National Historic Preservation Act

Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin has built the firm that bears his name into a leader in cultural artifact management and preservation, handling both terrestrial and nautical archaeological efforts. Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin and his team have worked for more than 35 years to provide solutions that successfully balance the needs for critical infrastructure with historic preservation, assuring compliance with regulations such as the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended.

After generations of support for the idea from the American public, the United States Congress passed, and President Lyndon Johnson signed, an act in recognition of the importance of safeguarding the treasures of the country’s heritage from unchecked development. A report entitled “With Heritage So Rich,” prepared by a coalition of American mayors, was a landmark document in the field of historic preservation, and its ideas formed the nucleus of the NHPA.

The Act formally put in place the now widely praised National Register of Historic Places, which lists nearly 100,000 sites. The National Historic Landmarks Program, also established by the NHPA, oversees more than 2,500 culturally significant locations based on referrals from the public and the National Park Service. On the occasion of the law’s 50th anniversary in 2016, the Preservation 50 campaign highlighted the achievements of the NHPA.

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