The Architectural Survey of the Cultural Resource Survey Program identifies and documents National Register of Historic Places architectural properties that are subject to highway construction and other impacts. Architectural properties may include buildings, bridges, monuments, cemeteries, and landscapes located in rural, village, and urban settings. Properties may be significant under National Register Criteria A-D:
- representing important historical events or trends,
- association with an important individual,
- representing an important type, period, or method of construction,
- or as a primary source of information.
These properties may have collective significance as an Historic District under these criteria. The context is often village or town wide but may be regional or statewide.
Reconnaissance surveys are conducted initially to identify properties that are eligible for the National Register. Often these are corridor surveys where highway reconstruction may affect mature trees, stone walls, slate sidewalks, and other associated features. The surveys expand the State Historic Preservation Office statewide inventory of National Register Eligible (NRE) properties while also generating a database for comparative research. Eligible properties have included log and plank houses, institutional and industrial complexes, village parks and cemeteries, stone arch bridges, and canal features.
Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) and Historic American Building Survey (HABS) documentations are prepared for eligible properties scheduled for removal or rehabilitation. The documentation consists of large format black and white photography with descriptive and historical information consistent with local, state, or national significance. Historic highway and canal bridges comprise the majority of these projects. Others have included a Dutch Colonial house to be rehabilitated as a museum, an Erie Canal store near a proposed roundabout, an 1880's firehouse located beneath a highway overpass, and an abandoned parkway service station.
Historic Setting Analyses are prepared where highway reconstruction may affect a village Historic District or an Historic Landscape. These provide contextual research and photo documentation comparing the historic and modern streetscape, with attention to street configurations, sidewalks, lighting, parks, trees, walls, and other features that may be affected. The intent is to guide context sensitive planning for the new highway. Projects have included Historic Districts in the Villages of Bainbridge, Canton, Chatham, and East Aurora and an historic parkway near Syracuse.