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Architectural Surveys


SPARK Consulting conducts architectural surveys to meet local or state planning needs.  Architectural surveys are utilized by historic preservation commissions to document historic resources within a community, plan for the future use of these resources, and incorporate the preservation of these resources into other projects.  They often provide the basis for other preservation activities, such as listing on the National Register of Historic Places or a local register. 


There are two primary types of architectural surveys.  A reconnaissance level (or windshield) survey provides basic information on the type and location of historic resources without any additional research or evaluation.  This type of survey is often utilized to identify areas or properties that merit further survey and evaluation.  An intensive level survey is a typical survey, consisting of descriptive information about each property, historical information, evaluation for potential National Register eligibility, and photographs.  Historic preservation commissions in Iowa that are Certified Local Governments are eligible to apply for grants that can be used to fund architectural surveys in their community or region.  


Rebecca Lawin McCarley provides expertise in all aspects of conducting architectural surveys, including definition of a survey area, identification of historic resources, research on historic resources, evaluation of historic resources, photography, and creation of survey maps.  She also has worked in partnership with historic preservation commissions providing some volunteer labor to assist in the survey process.  Samples of projects in Iowa include these survey projects with reports and survey forms available online:

2004-2005 Intensive Level Architectural Survey of Downtown Muscatine, Muscatine County, Iowa

2005-2006 Intensive Level Architectural Survey of the West Hill neighborhood in Muscatine, Muscatine County, Iowa

2009-2010 Intensive Level Architectural Survey of the "Warehouse" District in Burlington, Des Moines County, Iowa

2011-2012 Intensive Level Architectural Survey of the "Park to Park" Residential Neighborhood in Fort Madison, Lee County, Iowa

2011-2012 Intensive Level Survey of Downtown Washington, Iowa, for NRHP district project

2012-2013 Intensive Level Architectural Survey of the East Section of Downtown Burlington in Des Moines County, Iowa

2014-2015 Intensive Level Architectural Survey of the "West Side" Residential Neighborhood in Washington, Washington County, Iowa

2018-2019 Intensive Level Historical and Architectural Survey of the Northeast Triangle Neighborhood in Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa

Rebecca Lawin McCarley has over two decades of experience completing surveys for local historic preservation commissions, city governments, and other organizations.  For more information on architectural and historical survey projects, contact SPARK Consulting.

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Last modified:  January 2021