Results of Landscape Analysis:
The following organization of landscape analysis follows the format outlined in the The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes which include spatial organization, topography, circulation, vegetaion, water features and built structures. This is a standard format in evaluating historic landscapes in the professional field. Typically, the landscape characteristics of the existing conditions are compared to the conditions during a significant historic period. Since no single period of significance has been identified for the study area, the analysis of various landscape features may span the years between 1947 and 1997, or may be expanded to include earlier settlement conditions.
Spatial Organization What is known of the changes to spatial organization of the project site was gained through plat maps, aerial photographs, several historic photographs and limited descriptions of the area in several documents. As described in the section on Context, the project site was mixed residential, commercial and some small industry in its early years as well as currently. Subdivisions of parcels increased especially during the second half of the 19th century and into the first part of the 20th century. Streets including portions of Third Street, Mulholland Street and Murray were also added in the first part of this century. An increased density of residences resulted from this development. Spatially, this likely created streetscapes enclosed by residences with green spaces on the interior of the city blocks. In the interior of several residential blocks, Allen's Creek and West Park was a significant open space. Though West Park remains an important green area in the neighborhood, the loss of Allen's Creek changed its character. By 1900, trees lined many of the streets, and the enclosed character resulting from this vegetation continues today; however, to a larger extent than before.
A photographic analysis provided a useful tool for evaluating landscape change. Click HERE to view the analysis.
Topography The topography of the project area has remained essentially the same through time, except at a much more detailed level for construction of infrastructure and likely during the undergrounding of Allen's Creek. No records exist that document any changes at a larger scale. Parcel-specific information is probably available through City of Ann Arbor records; however, it was not within the scope of this project to investigate topographic change at this scale. Given additional time for analysis of this site, more historic maps could be explored to determine whether the landform has been changed.
Circulation Changes to significant circulation features were minimal between 1947 and 1997. A parking lot located between Murray and Third Streets was unpaved and possibly smaller in 1947. By 1997, the lot had been enlarged and paved over for use for University of Michigan employees who worked at the Argus Building to the south of West Liberty Street. Information about smaller circulation details were not available for this project, although improvements to sidewalks, changes in paving materials, etc. are likely to have occurred during this period. As mentioned previously in the section on Context, the addition of Third and what is now Mulholland Streets can be traced back to historic maps. See the maps dating to 1915 and c1920 to view the addition of these roads.
Vegetation Vegetative changes occurred as a result of direct human intervention as well as through the natural process of their growth. As was mentioned in the photographic analysis section, tree size has altered the spatial feel of the neighborhood to some extent. The aerial photographs from 1947 and 1997 were paired in another analysis. Trees visible in both aerials were identified and marked with red dots and changes in their numbers compared. It would have been ideal to have species information integrated with these results; however, historic information for trees species exists only for street trees in this neighborhood and does not go back further than twenty years. Click HERE for the analysis of aerial photographs.
Water Features Allen's Creek was undergrounded in the 1920s and caused a significant change to the landscape during that decade. Between 1947 and 1997, the aerial photographic analysis was helpful to document other changes to related water features. A pond seen in the 1947 aerial view, does not appear in the later 1955 view. It was likely a retention pond, used to collect storm water runoff. A grassy area where this pond existed still retains the general plateaued shape that the pond comprised earlier.
Built Structures Only the addition or removal of large built structures on the project site were noted. Smaller scale structures were not apparent through the level of analysis conducted for this research. It was noted earlier that several buildings were visible in the 1997 aerial view that were not visible in the earlier images. Also noted was the addition to the 454 Second Street residence. It is likely that many other buildings in the neighborhood were improved with structural additions since 1947. One way to evaluate the way buildings and other built elements effect the landscape is through calculating the surface area of impervious surfaces. This technique is especially useful in an area such as this project site, where storm water runoff causes flooding in some of the structures at lower elevations. An evaluation of the impervious surface would be an appropriate next step in this landscape analysis.