Happy 35th Anniversary ASC!

Happy Anniversary!

Shaune and Elsie made it through 35 years of keeping ASC running profitably. There have been good years and some difficult years along the way but they have consistently managed to keep approximately 50 staff members employed, including through the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. Some significant changes came starting in July 2020; David Klinge, Chief Operations Officer for the last several years, became a partner. Then in January 2021, Pennsylvania Regional Manager Hylton Hobday became a partner. Also in January 2021, ASC merged with Auxano Environmental LLC, with founder Nichole Lashley as a new partner. Our services expanded in the Hazardous Materials line and Nichole became the director for federal projects as well as serving as Kentucky and Ohio Regional Manager. Congratulations to Shaune and Elsie and thanks to everyone who made this company what it is today!

Volunteer Archaeology in Kentucky

Over the weekend of March 19–23, a number of ASC archaeology field technicians volunteered with KYK9. This is the same organization who brought us Pocket, the cadaver dog, on the State Line Road project. During the volunteer session, KYK9 worked with the Kentucky State Police on a search for a missing persons case. In the past few years, Pocket has searched different sections of the area where remains could be found. She alerted on this location in the mountains, so the group spent the weekend clearing dense brush and excavating the area. This included digging and screening based on Pocket’s signals. While no remains were found, the ASC technicians were able to work with the talented Pocket, and bring their expertise with field work to the table. The group helped develop ideas for best procedures and executed it with a trained eye. This helped to narrow down possibilities in the search for the missing person. The ASC staff (and subconsultants who have worked for us) in the photo include: Taylor Bryan, Sarah Terheide, Stephanie Kline, Ashley Rutkoski, Colin McKinstry, Hannah Winters, Maria Saniel-Banrey, and Jennifer Jordan Hall & Pocket.

Homes of Tomorrow at Indiana Dunes

Homes of Tomorrow at Indiana Dunes

by Leah J. Konicki

Century of Progress Houses Moved to Indiana

Tucked away in a quiet spot along the shore of Lake Michigan in the Indiana Dunes National Park is a cluster of unique houses. Now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the houses are remnants of a vision of the future, ca. 1933. These five houses were originally built as part of an exhibit for the 1933 “Century of Progress” World’s Fair, held in Chicago in celebration of the city’s 100th anniversary. The exhibit, entitledHomes of Tomorrow,” included 13 residences that were reportedly visited by nearly 50 million people. As suggested by the exhibit’s theme of “Homes of Tomorrow,” the emphasis was on new materials, innovative construction techniques, and “modern” home conveniences.

From Fair to Resort Community

A northern Indiana real estate developer, Robert Bartlett, chose five of the original 13 residences to form the nucleus of a resort community to be called Beverly Shores he was developing on the Lake Michigan shore. Bartlett purchased the five houses at a fraction of their original cost and moved them by barge from Chicago. Although the houses themselves sold, Bartlett’s resort community did not take-off, leaving the cluster of buildings intact.

In 1966, the area that included this group of houses became part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (now the Indiana Dunes National Park). The homeowners became lessees and the homes fell into disrepair.

Progress Preserved

From Resort Community to National Register Historic District

The houses remained occupied, but suffered in the harsh northern Indiana lakefront environment. Originally built for a single season, the houses fell into disrepair. In the 1990s, the National Trust for Historic Preservation included the houses on their ten most endangered list, and efforts began to document and stabilize the structures. The cluster of houses was listed in the National Register in 1986.

From Endangered to Preserved

In the early 21st century, Indiana Landmarks (the Indiana statewide non-profit preservation group) collaborated with the National Park Service to help insure the long-term preservation of the Century of Progress homes. Under this arrangement, Indiana Landmarks leases the buildings from the National Park Service, and then subleases them—with protective covenants—to people who invest their own money into restoring them. Restoration is complete on three of the houses, a fourth is still in progress, and a fifth remains in need of a hero. Each of the five relocated houses is distinct in style and in its view of “tomorrow”.

Information on each of the houses will be published over the next five weeks.

Read about Armco-Ferro House here.

Congratulations Dr. Cheryl Johnston!

ASC Group would like to congratulate our friend and colleague Dr. Cheryl Johnston, who was hired as Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Cincinnati. She will be teaching bio anthropology and forensic anthropology classes as well as working on NAGPRA projects. As a company that has worked with Cheryl through the years we can attest to her abilities in all of these topics. Congratulations Cheryl, you deserve this and they are lucky to have you!

Hylton Hobday joins ASC Group Ownership!

We are very pleased to announce a new partner at ASC Group! Effective January 1, 2021, Hylton Hobday has joined the company ownership.

Although Hylton’s existing duties as PA Regional Manager will remain unchanged, his excellent managerial skills, professionalism, and good nature will be valued assets on the Executive Leadership team.

We’re excited for the future at ASC. Join us in congratulating Hylton in his new role.

ASC employees give back this Holiday Season!

ASC employees enjoyed their first (and hopefully last) virtual holiday party due to Covid-19.  We had an enjoyable Zoom celebration with employees from all of our regional offices.  Our offices made donations in Shaune and Elsie’s names to several charity organizations.  Our Harrisburg office donated to Feeding America, which provided 2,000 meals to families in need across the USA.  Our Florence office donated to Save the Animals, a no-kill shelter in the Cincinnati area. Our Indianapolis office donated to NICHES Land Trust, which protects, restores and sustains natural areas in the northern Indiana region.

Ben Harvey Receives His CRP Delegation from PennDOT

Congratulations to Ben Harvey!

Ben, ASC’s lead architectural historian in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Office, has recently been delegated as a consultant Cultural Resources Professional (CRP) with PennDOT. Ben has undertaken PennDOT’s rigorous training for this delegation, including attending scoping field views, report reviews, and preparing effect findings within PennDOT’s Cultural Resources program. This delegation shows ASC Group’s capacity to work with PennDOT’s staff, our team’s depth of knowledge about how PennDOT conducts the Section 106 process, and demonstrates our commitment to working with PennDOT on cultural resources projects. Please reach out to our Pennsylvania office with any inquiries regarding working through the Section 106 process and we will be glad to assist you.

Future archaeologists?

ASC had some visitors to our site on Wednesday. The Phillips family stopped by to see what we are currently excavating and learn a little about the history around us and under our feet. The girls were able to get a good look at some of the pottery that is being found. Maybe we have found some future archaeologists?

Journal of Ohio Archaeology’s Special Issue on Serpent Mound

Dr. Kevin Schwarz’s article on Serpent Mound was recently published the Ohio Archaeological Council’s, Journal of Ohio Archaeology.  Dr. Schwarz is a Principal Investigator at ASC Group, Inc.

Serpent Mound
(Squier and Davis 1848)

This year marks the seventh issue of the Journal of Ohio Archaeology, the Ohio Archaeological Council’s annual, peer-reviewed periodical with articles on a wide range of topics related to Ohio archaeology. While the journal typically publishes a mix of articles as they come in, we thought the time was ripe for a thematic issue devoted to Serpent Mound. Articles for issue seven will be released throughout the year, beginning with a preface by this issue’s editor, Jarrod Burks, and the first two articles in the series by Kevin Schwarz and Bradley Lepper. Remember to check back periodically over the year for new releases.

Click here to read the articles

Celebrating Port Columbus Airport as America’s Greatest Air Harbor – Part 1

Aerial photograph of the original Port Columbus terminal with a TWA airplane in the foreground and the Pennsylvania Railroad station in the background (from a display at the open house on July 13, 2019).

by Douglas Terpstra.  

We have a history of work with John Glenn International Airport

ASC Group, Inc. (ASC) has completed numerous projects at John Glenn Columbus International Airport (formerly Port Columbus International Airport) since 2002. Our work has included almost all of the disciplines in which ASC is prequalified. The project types have included archaeological (Phase I and Phase II surveys, cemetery relocation, artifact curation, Memorandum of Agreement development), architectural history (reconnaissance surveys, National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)-eligibility evaluations, assessment of effects, Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)-equivalent documentation), and environmental (threatened and endangered species survey, wetland delineations, waterway permits, and Phase I Environmental Site Assessments).

Nearly a century of historical significance at Port Columbus

More than just Columbus’ primary air travel hub, the airport has historical significance extending back more than 90 years. Much of the following historical information is derived from Robert F. Kirk’s book The Building of an Airport: Port Columbus, published in 2019. Port Columbus was not the first airport in Columbus; however, the airports existing in 1927 were too small to accommodate the large transport aircraft that were then coming into use.

Map of the TAT route of 1929 (from a display at the open house on July 13, 2019).

Charles Lindbergh makes a timely announcement for Port Columbus

A little more than a month after his historic 1927 New York-to-Paris solo flight, Charles Lindbergh announced that Columbus was planned to be a stop on what would become the route of the Transcontinental Air Transport Company (TAT), one of the nation’s first transcontinental passenger transportation routes utilizing aircraft.

The Columbus City Council campaigns to create Port Columbus

This announcement, in conjunction with growing concerns among city leaders that Columbus needed a large municipal airport to compete with other cities building such airports, led the City Council to submit a bond issue to voters in 1927 to fund a new airport. Although this initial bond issue failed, an extensive campaign of publicity and promotion lead to the passage of a bond issue the following year in a 5 to 1 majority. Proponents touted that landlocked Columbus had the opportunity to become a leading “port” for air transport and trade and used slogans such as “America’s Greatest Air Harbor.” “Port Columbus” caught on with the public and would become the name of the new airport.

View of the original TAT hangar.

View of the original Port Columbus terminal.

Becoming the eastern base for national travel and trade

Because overnight commercial passenger travel by air was not authorized at the time, the TAT route included travel by passenger train overnight from New York City to Columbus, travel by air from Columbus to Waynoka, Oklahoma, by train from Waynoka to Clovis, New Mexico, and by plane from Clovis to Los Angeles, California.

The eastern leg of the air trip also included stops in Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Wichita. TAT publicity claimed that the trip would take only 48 hours, a record speed for the time.

In its first year, TAT made more than 3,000 trips and used Columbus as its eastern hub and main base of operations. In October 1930, TAT merged with Western Air, Inc., to form Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA). The merger, along with the introduction of instruments for night flying, caused the railroad portion of the transcontinental flight to be discontinued; the trip was then made entirely by air.

Aggressive schedules and celebrity passengers launch Port Columbus for success

Since TAT planned to begin service by the summer of 1929, construction began even before the the 1928 bond issue passed. The dedication of the airport in July 1929 lasted three days. The first airplane departed on July 8. The Pennsylvania Railroad’s “Airway Limited” arrived that day at a newly-built train station along Fifth Avenue across from the new airport terminal. Nineteen passengers, including Amelia Earhart, transferred to airplanes for the next stage of the transcontinental trip. Special guests at the airport opening included Henry and Edsel Ford, Harvey Firestone, and Charles Lindbergh.

As of November 1929, the terminal building (NRHP-listed) and the TAT hangar (determined eligible for listing in the NRHP) were the only completed buildings at Port Columbus. Both are located in what is now the southeastern corner of the airport. By 1939, 15 scheduled flights left Port Columbus each day.

More than travel: over fifty years of manufacturing at John Glenn International Airport

Production of military aircraft begins in 1940

Lustron house on display at the Ohio History Center in Columbus.

The office wing of Building 3 of the former Air Force Plant 85.

Port Columbus also became a manufacturing center. In October 1940, the Curtiss-Wright Corporation leased 83 acres of airport land to construct a manufacturing plant for military aircraft. These aircraft included SO3C-1 Seagull observation planes and SB2C Helldivers. In 1943, almost 10 percent of the nation’s warplane production came out of Columbus.

Brief post-war manufacturing of Lustron houses then a return to military production

Following the war, Carl Strandlund leased the plant from the government to construct his assembly-line-produced porcelain-enamel-paneled Lustron houses. With the failure of Lustron and the outbreak of the Korean War, the government converted the plant back to military production.

North American Aviation began to produce jet aircraft for the military in 1951. The plant eventually employed 18,000 workers. In 1982, the government transferred the plant from the Navy to the Air Force and it became Air Force Plant 85. Rockwell International used the plant primarily to build B-1 bombers, and McDonnell Douglas later built parts for civilian and military planes, but the Air Force shut down operations at the plant in 1994. The government sold the plant to private owners in 1997.


Read more details about the terminal building which opened in 1929.