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Historic American Landscapes Survey

Arizona Chapter

Welcome to the website of the Arizona Historic American Landscapes Survey, a project of the Arizona Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Our mission is to document Arizona's unique landscape heritage. Historic landscapes are special places - touchstones of local, regional and national identity. They foster a sense of community and place.

About HALS

The Historic American Landscapes Survey

By the end of the twentieth century, it became clear that the growing vitality of landscape history, preservation and management required appropriate documentation for historic American landscapes. In early 2001, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the National Park Service, and the Library of Congress entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that established the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) to document historic landscapes in the United States and its territories, to serve as tangible evidence of our nation’s heritage and development. In 2010, the three organizations signed a new Tripartite Agreement that made HALS a permanent federal program.

     The National Park Service administrates the planning and operation of HALS, standardizing formats and developing guidelines for recording landscapes, and cataloging and/or publishing the information when appropriate.  

     The Library of Congress accepts and preserves HALS documents, furnishes reproductions of material, and makes records available to the National Park Service and to the general public.

     The American Society of Landscape Architects works with the Historic Preservation Professional Practice Network (HP PPN) to provide advice on identifying, selecting and documenting historical landscapes.


Bates Well Ranch, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Photo by Helen Erickson


Visitor Center Garden, Tumacåacori National Historic Park (Herr-Cardillo)

Photo by Helen Erickson

Historic Landscapes

Historic landscapes reveal the interaction of man and nature.  They vary in size from small gardens to several thousand-acre national parks.  In character they range from designed to vernacular, rural to urban, and agricultural to industrial spaces. Vegetable patches, estate gardens, cemeteries, farms, quarries, nuclear test sites, suburbs, and abandoned settlements all may be considered historic landscapes.

Historic landscapes are often also threatened landscapes. They are affected by the forces of nature and time, as well as by commercial and residential development, vandalism and neglect.

Undocumented historic resources are most at risk.  Unless a landscape is inventoried and described, it may be officially invisible, resulting in its being overlooked in planning and review processes. One important goal of HALS documentation is to create a greater awareness of the many historic landscapes around us.

HALS Challenge

Each year HALS offers a documentation challenge.  In 2016 the challenge was to complete a HALS short format history to document the landscapes of the National Register of Historic Places. The Arizona Chapter of the Historic American Landscapes Survey received FIRST PLACE for their documentation of the Empire Ranch. To download a copy of this survey, click here.

The 2024 HALS Challenge competition is an open competition. We invite landscape architects, historians, students, and other interested parties to document any landscape that you feel would make a good addition to the HALS collection. Historic landscapes encompass a vast array of diverse property types and places, from formal gardens, parks, and public spaces to traditional cultural places, vernacular communities, and residential districts.


Empire Ranch

Photo by Helen Erickson

Completed Surveys

All work has been done by volunteers committed to the recognition and preservation of historic landscapes. Much of the work has been completed by students under the supervision of members of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Surveys can be found online at the Library of Congress.

Prescott National Cemetery, Prescott, Yavapai County

Tassi Ranch, Tassi Springs, Littlefield, Mohave County

Waring Ranch, Littlefield, Mohave County

Horse Valley Ranch, Littlefield, Mohave County

Pine Valley, Littlefield, Mohave County

Green Springs, Littlefield, Mohave County

Spencer Camp, Littlefield, Mohave County

Shanley Camp, Littlefield, Mohave County

Dinner Pocket, Littlefield, Mohave County

Pine Ranch, Littlefield, Mohave County

Mather Point Overlook, Grand Canyon Village, Coconino County

Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, Pinal County

El Tiradito, Tucson, Pima County, AZ

The Arizona Inn, Tucson, Pima County

Faraway Ranch, Willcox, Cochise County

The Tucson Plants Materials Center, Tucson, Pima County

Tumacacori National Historical Park, Tumacacori, Santa Cruz County

Phoenix Historic Homestead, Phoenix, Maricopa County

Prescott Armory Historic District, Prescott, Yavapai County

Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Vail, Pima County

South Mountain Park, Entry Complex, Phoenix, Maricopa County

Kinishba Ruins, Fort Apache, Navajo County

Sunset Magazine Demonstration Desert Garden, Tucson, Pima County

Empire Ranch, Greaterville, Pima County

Alvina Himmel Park, Tucson, Pima County

Valley of the Moon, Tucson, Pima County

Washington Park (Armory Park), Tucson, Pima County

Sunset Park, Tucson, Pima County

Fort Lowell (Fort Lowell Park), Tucson, Pima County

Winterhaven Neighborhood, Tucson, Pima County

Tucson’s Origins Heritage Site, Tucson, Pima County

Camp Naco, Naco, Cochise County

Encanto Park (Dorris-Norton Park), Phoenix, Maricopa County

Florida Work Station, Green Valley, Pima County

Pancho Family Farm, Vamori Valley, Tohono O’odham Nation, Pima County


Faraway Ranch, Chiricahua National Monument Photo by Helen Erickson

El Presidio Plaza

Photo by Helen Erickson

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