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Historic american landscapes survey (HALS) 

 "Historic landscapes are special places. They are important touchstones of National, regional, and local identity. They foster a sense of community and place. They are also fragile places." - NPS

The purpose of the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) is to encourage the documentation of historic and culturally significant landscapes in order to preserve their rich history before they disappear. 

Each year the National Park Service, in partnership with ASLA, hosts a competition that encourages landscape architects to complete a short-form history based on a specific theme. The Virginia Chapter of ASLA encourages its members to participate.

Contact your HALS liaison, Liz Sargent, for more information about this year's HALS challenge. 


  • 01/31/2019 9:46 PM | Jennifer Hare (Administrator)

    Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge, a competition conducted each year by the National Park Service to encourage documentation of historic landscapes according to a specific theme.

    This year’s contest focused on landscape related to World War I Memorials. Winners included our chapter’s own Laura Knott, recipient of 3rd Place for her entry related to Monument Terrace in Lynchburg. Other winning entries were:

    • Golden Gate Park, Heroes’ Grove and Gold Star Mothers’ Memorial Boulder, San Francisco, California (1st Place), Cate Bainton
    • American Academy in Rome, Thrasher-Ward Memorial, Rome, Italy (2nd Place), James O’Day
    • Liberty Row, Passing through Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, and Shaker Heights, Ohio (Honorable Mention), P. Jeffrey Knopp

    HALS was created in 2000 to document our country's heritage places. HALS joined HABS (Historic American Buildings Survey) and HAER (Historic American Engineering Record) as federally-administered programs designed to record important works of architecture and engineering, and places of importance in American history. The records and collections associated with these programs are publicly accessible, and housed at the Library of Congress. The HALS Challenge was conceived as a way to encourage landscape documentation; because the HABS program was established in 1935, and HAER in 1969, the HALS program is not as well represented in the Library of Congress as the other two programs. The HALS Challenge is administered jointly by the National Park Service and ASLA. Each Chapter of ASLA is invited to name a representative to a national group focused on promoting HALS.

    The 2019 HALS Challenge theme is Historic Streetscapes. Entries are due no later than July 31, 2019. If you plan to enter, please contact Liz Sargent at LizSargentHLA@gmail.com to confirm your site selection and avoid duplication of entries.

    Appropriate landscapes are significant at the national, state, or local level. They can vary in size from small gardens to several thousand-acre national parks. In character, they range from designed to vernacular, from rural to urban, and from agricultural to industrial landscapes. Estate gardens, cemeteries, farms, theme parks, nuclear test sites, suburbs, and abandoned settlements all may be considered historic landscapes. 

    For more information, visit


    The Virginia Chapter ASLA encourages you to participate in this year’s HALS Challenge and join other winners from our chapter in Virginia:

    2017 (Theme: Town and City Parks)

    • Lee Park, Charlottesville (1st Place), Liz Sargent and Jen Trompetter

    2016 (Theme: Documenting National Register Listed Landscapes)

    • Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Commemorative Groves, Mount Vernon (2nd Place), Paul Kelsch, Ph.D.
    • Brook Road Plaza, Richmond (Honorable Mention), Liz Sargent

    2010 (Theme: Theme Parks)

    • Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo Maryland (1st Place), Virginia Tech Team led by Professor Paul Kelsch



3rd Place

Monument Terrace, Lynchburg

Laura Knott


1st Place

Lee Park, Charlottesville

Liz Sargent and Jen Trompetter


1st Place

Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Commemorative Groves Paul Kelsch, Ph.D.

Honorable Mention

Brook Road Plaza, Richmond

Liz Sargent


1st Place

Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo, MD 

Virginia Tech Team led by Professor Paul Kelsch, Ph.D.

thank you to our sponsors


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Richmond, VA 23230


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