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.

Helping Women-Owned Businesses in Ohio

On June 12th Shaune and other NAWBO Columbus members met with Governor Mike DeWine to discuss Ohio’s new Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification and the importance of creating equity and access for women business owners across Ohio. They discussed goal setting for the new WBE certification.  Strategic investments will help Ohio’s women-owned businesses generate an additional $104 billion in revenues and create more than 1.4 million jobs.

Pictured left to right… Rachel Winder, NAWBO Public Policy Advisor, Jeanne Gokcen, Sheri Chaney Jones, Shaune Skinner, Governor Mike DeWine, Merry Korn, Catherine Lang-Cline, K. Zulene Adams, Betty Collins, NAWBO Columbus President-Elect, and Christy Farnbauch, NAWBO Executive Director.

Environmental Consulting on Bats during Project Planning and Development

On November 6, 2018, staff from the Harrisburg Office of ASC Group attended a presentation by Ryan Leiberher (RK&K) who discussed bat science and surveying techniques, White Nose Syndrome, Threatened and Endangered Species (T&E) coordination, and how these relate to transportation project planning and development. The luncheon was held at the Radisson, Camp Hill and was hosted by the Women Transportation Seminar (WTS), Central PA, the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Professionals (PAEP), and the Society of Women Environmental Professionals (SWEP).

Threatened & Endangered Species

Project development should avoid, minimize, or relocate bats as other animals and natural resources of concern. Favorable conditions include possible colony sightings or flights, more dependent evidence of guano and urine staining, around expansion joints, cracks, riprap, or pier caps. The bats found in Pennsylvania are the Red bat, Hoary bat, Silver Haired bat, Big Brown bat, Small-footed bat, Little Brown bat, E. pipistrelle or Tricolor bat, Indiana bat, and the Northern long-eared bat. The primary agencies in PA that involve bat protection is the Game Commission and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Region 5 is headquartered in Massachusetts and the local field office is in State College, PA. They take the lead on T&E species, primarily the Indiana bat and the Northern long-eared bat. Other proposed listings as PA endangered, the Northern long-eared bat (like the federal one), Tricolor bat, and the Little Brown bat. PA Natural Diversity Index (PNDI) [PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources] hits are based on site findings. Recently proposed (and shelved) new listings from the Game Commission would roughly include 30 hibernacula, 120 maternity sites added to PNDI, and T&E screening.

Focus on Indiana Bats

Though Indiana bats are low in numbers, the populations do scatter to parts of the state. North and south of Pittsburgh, the Laurel Highlands, northeast to State College, south of Carlisle, and northeast to Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. These areas are generally west, on, and east of the Appalachian Mountains in hardwood forests where trees are mature enough to supply the habitat needs of the Indiana bat. They like Shagbark Hickory and other trees with roosting potential. Females are banded on the left and the males are banded on the right

Case Study: Indiana Bat Habitat Surveys, North Point Development, Luzerne County

This presentation is timely as ASC Group (Harrisburg) has been collaborating with Alfred Benesch and Company (Allentown), and Bat Conservation and Management, Inc. (Carlisle) on Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) habitat surveys within the proposed North Point Development-Hanover Site located in Hanover Township and adjacent to the City of Nanticoke, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The purpose of this survey was to evaluate the forested stands within the project area and to determine its overall quality as Indiana bat habitat. ASC Group had conducted wetland delineations and other environmental evaluations at the property in 2017 and early 2018.

Defining Site Conditions

The site is approximately one mile south of the Susquehanna River on the eastern border of the City of Nanticoke and west of State Route 29. The proposed project includes the construction of warehouses, associated driveways, and parking in the southern portion of the site. Preliminary plans indicate development on approximately one-quarter (approximately 125 acres) of the site. The site was historically used as a strip mine and mine dump area. Current land uses include an Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) treatment facility and staging and dump areas for ongoing highway construction in the area. The remaining portions of the site are forested hillsides and herbaceous fields.

Defining the Quality of Indiana Bat Habitat

According to the USFWS Pennsylvania Field Office protocol: Indiana Bat Habitat Assessment-Draft 2, High Quality Forested Habitat is forested land with a minimum of six-hardwood trees ≥ 18 inches in Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) per acre, with at least four of those trees being high value Indiana bat roost tree species and a minimum total basal area for the stand of 30 square feet (ft2) per acre or more. Marginal Quality Forested Habitat is forested land that does not meet the requirements for High Quality Forested Habitat.

Summary of Findings for Identified Stands

Mixed Stand 1 – Red pine (Pinus resinosa) was the dominant tree species and scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) was the sub-dominant species. Mixed Stand 2 – Big-tooth aspen (Populus grandidentata) was the dominant tree species and Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) replaced Hawthorn (Crataegus sp.) as the sub-dominant species after the data from the two new plots was incorporated into the stand data. Deciduous Stand 1 – Red maple (acer rubrum) was the dominant tree species within Deciduous Stand 1 and sweet birch (Betula lenta) was the sub-dominant species. Based on the criteria within the USFWS assessment protocol Deciduous Stand 1 was delineated as High Quality Indiana bat summer habitat and both Mixed Stands 1 and 2 were delineated as Marginal Quality Forested Habitat.

By Scott Alexander, Environmental Specialist, ASC Group, Harrisburg, PA

Welcome Ben Harvey

Ben Harvey joined the ASC team as an architectural Historian in the Harrisburg, PA office. Ben brings 10 years of experience in the fields of history and architectural history to the ASC team. He is skilled at conducting historic research, reconnaissance- and intensive-level surveys of historic properties, writing effects reports, and completing Section 4(f) documents. He has also prepared National Register of Historic Places nominations and HABS documentation for federal properties. He has completed projects in states throughout the mid-Atlantic, and is familiar with the policies and documentation standards in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia.

Please feel free to contact Mr. Harvey at bharvey@ascgroup.net with your Section 106 Cultural Resources needs.