College of Architecture, Art and Construction

Historic preservation students’ drawings added to the Library of Congress


A photo of four individuals standing in a row holding an oversized check.
Photo from left to right: Amalia Leifeste (far left), Jacob Hockenberry (middle left), Hannah St. Onge (middle right), and Chloe Martin (far right). The photo was taken and provided by Robert Arzola, HABS Architect.
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Making a useful set of drawings for people caring for historic properties is a complex task. However, Clemson University’s Master of Science in Historic Preservation (MSHP) class of 2024 recently placed third in one of the country’s most prestigious measured drawing competitions.

Held by the National Park Service’s Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP), The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association for Preservation Technology International, the Charles E. Peterson Prize recognizes the best set of measured drawings prepared to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) standards and donated by students to HDP, with the winning drawings being added to the permanent Historic American Building Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscape Survey Collection of measured drawings in the Library of Congress.

“Placing in the Peterson Prize competition is quite an accomplishment for an emerging professional in the preservation field,” explained Amalia Leifeste, associate professor of historic preservation. “The class of 2024’s names are now all listed in the Library of Congress, in the Historic American Building Survey archive, which is a wonderful way to contribute to an important repository of information in our field and a great way to have your name in history as a published author.”

According to the National Park Service, the prize honors Charles E. Peterson, FAIA, one of the founders of the Historic American Building Survey, and is intended to increase awareness, knowledge and appreciation of historic buildings, structures and cultural landscapes throughout the U.S.

With the assistance of a small grant provided by the Clemson Architectural Foundation, the MSHP class of 2024 submitted their work that documented St. James Protestant Episcopal Church in Goose Creek. According to Leifeste, the MSHP program has a longstanding tradition of teaching students how to measure and draw buildings accurately and in significant detail.

“Working with this building was not only a great opportunity for the cohort to become more comfortable with ‘reading’ a building, but it was also incredibly rewarding to see how much our project meant to the vestry, who are the wonderful stewards of St. James,” explained Hannah St. Onge, a second-year MSHP student who attended the award ceremony in Philadelphia. “Helping them learn new things about their building was a great way to round out our experience with this project.”

Leifeste and three second-year MSHP students — Jacob Hockenberry, St. Onge and Chloe Martin — traveled to Philadelphia for the Peterson Prize Award Ceremony and the Historic American Building Survey’s 90th Anniversary Symposium on November 10 and 11, 2023.

In addition to having their work and names listed in the Library of Congress, the MSHP program was awarded $3,000 and a certificate.

“Participating in the Peterson Prize was such an honor and an incredible learning experience,” shared Martin. “Being able to get so close to such an incredible structure as St. James Protestant Episcopal Church has given all of us a chance to utilize the skills that we have learned in our program thus far.”

According to the National Park Service’s HDP, since the competition’s inception in 1989, more than 3,000 students from 75 colleges and universities have participated in the Charles E. Peterson Prize, with over 500 entries and more than 7,200 sheets of measured drawings submitted for the competition.

The St. James Protestant Episcopal Church measured drawings were produced by Megan Adornetto, Caroline Byrne, Deryn Candelaria, Lyrik Castro-Bailey, Chris Cone, Claire Cox, Rachel Fore, Sara Gaston, Winter Hein, Jacob Hockenberry, Chloe Martin, Paige Regna, Gabriella Rowsam, Brianna Schmidt, Hannah St. Onge and Jack Sutton.

“Being able to study the church enabled our cohort to develop and hone critical measured drawing skills taught to us by Professor Leifeste,” explained Hockenberry. “We are incredibly thankful for Amalia and her guidance to help us understand the church and teach us important skills that can be used later in our careers.”

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