Welcome Ashley Rutkoski!

Please join us in welcoming Ashley Rutkoski to ASC Group!

Ashley will be joining our team as an archaeological assistant, who will help complete archaeological field investigations, processing, curating, and analyzing artifacts, and as well as report editing. Consistently working in the Midwest since 2015, she has worked on several sites ranging from the Late Archaic to the early twentieth century. After graduating with her master’s degree in 2019, she has continued to specialize in ceramic analysis and is currently assisting in processing the State Line archaeological assemblage.

Identifying Catalog Houses

ASC Group Has Experience Identifying Catalog Houses During Surveys, Part 1

by Douglas Terpstra

While conducting above-ground resources surveys for projects, ASC Group’s architectural historians sometimes encounter structures that can be identified as catalog houses, houses purchased from mail order catalogs in the early decades of the twentieth century.  Sears, Roebuck and Company is the best-known seller of catalog houses, but other firms also sold houses from catalogs.

Catalog Houses Could Include Plans and Materials

Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, architects and publishers began to sell books containing perspective designs and floor plans of buildings, most commonly houses. Most of these publications advertised the availability of construction plans and specifications for each design through the mail for an additional fee.

Example of Design No. 632 in Wapakoneta, Ohio

Design No. 632 from Shoppell’s Modern Houses (1890)

Beginning with the Aladdin Company in 1906, firms began to sell the materials to build the house, as well as the plans and specifications for the house.

Sears, Roebuck is best known and had plant in Norwood, Ohio

Today, Sears is the most widely recognized seller of catalog houses, having published its Modern Homes catalog from 1908 to 1940. Sears sold more than 100,000 houses during its house catalog years, and the company also sold garages, barns, and other buildings. Sears produced much of the material for the houses at a millwork plant it owned in Norwood, Ohio.

Other companies also sold houses by mail

Example of Modern Home No. 167/The Maytown in Lockland, Ohio

Modern Home No. 167/The Maytown from Sears’ Modern Homes

In addition to the Aladdin Company and Sears, numerous other companies also sold house plans or sets of plans and materials.

Like Sears, Montgomery Ward was a general sales catalog company that created a sideline of selling house kits under the Wardway Homes label. Gordon-Van Tine Homes built the houses for Montgomery Ward and also sold through their own catalogs. Other firms, such as the Radford Architectural Company and the Standard Homes Company, sold only house plans and not full house kits.

The houses that Sears and other companies sold through their catalogs reflected the popular house styles and types of the period. These included bungalow, American foursquare, Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival, among many others.

Example of The Addison in Lemoyne Borough, Pennsylvania

The Addison from Standard Homes’ Better Homes at Lower Cost

Some of these companies also drew from common pools of house designs promoted by building trades organizations, making minor changes to the designs to allow them to copyright the designs in their catalog. The similarity of designs, along with later alterations by homeowners, can make it difficult to identify catalog houses with any certainty.

Next up some of the interesting houses ASC has identified on our surveys.






















Len Mikles New ASC Group ODOT Program Manger

We are happy to announce that Len Mikles, Principal Ecologist, has also taken on the role as ODOT Program Manager. In that role, he will be responsible for guiding our ODOT project acquisitions, building relationships with ODOT district and central office staff, and serving as the primary PM for ODOT projects. To contact Len, his direct line is 614.396.7369 or email him at lmikles@ascgroup.net.

Congratulations Len!

ASC celebrates Earth Day 2021

Earth Day 2021!

The Columbus office staff of ASC Group (in collaboration with WEN Ohio and OOGA) celebrated Earth Day by cleaning up in and around the stream next to their office, Bill Moose Run. They picked up 20 jumbo size bags of trash, which was mostly plastic grocery bags, and Styrofoam cups. No historic or prehistoric artifacts were found this time, therefore, no further archaeological work was recommended for this project area.

Kevin Schwarz Presents at SAA Virtual Symposium

Kevin Schwarz had the opportunity to highlight some of ASC’s archaeological research at the Columbus Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in a Symposium at the virtual conference of the Society of American Archaeology on Saturday, April 17, 2021. His paper focused on refining the Woodland period cultural chronology in the Scioto Valley, where so much of ASC’s work has taken place.

This is the period of the mound-builders, the Adena and Hopewell, who lived in this region during the Early and Middle Woodland periods (800 BC-AD 500). The research also discusses the period of the first prehistoric proto-villages (ca. AD 250-AD 550), just before the Newtown phase of the Late Woodland period (AD 500-AD 900).

Kevin’s presentation looked at the radiocarbon dates that ASC and other firms have collected over the years from Columbus Southerly and compared them to dates from regionally important sites, including dates collected by academic researchers. ASC is proud to be able to contribute to our understanding of Ohio’s prehistoric past.

The presentation was recorded and is visible to attendees of the conference, and a cached version of the video presentation is available for the public to view here:


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.