Project Highlights

Aurora Research Associates

Jenkinjones, McDowell County, WV


Coal Heritage Survey Update, McDowell County, WV, 2016-2018 

ARA planned and managed a survey of over 2,000 historic coal-related resources previously surveyed in 1991; hired and led a team of seven in the field; and coordinated the completion and review of Historic Property Inventory (HPI) forms and survey report.

Client: West Virginia Division of Highways (Transportation Enhancement Grant).


S. Detroit Avenue Reconstruction, Toledo, OH, 2017

ARA performed a preliminary architectural field survey for a road diet/roundabout project and completed the Ohio Department of Transportation Section 106 Project Scoping Request Form. The project was cleared with No Effect on Historic Buildings.

Client: TTL Associates, Inc./City of Toledo.


WV School for the Colored Deaf and Blind built in 1925.

West Virginia State University F. Ray Power Building Section 106 Review, Institute, WV, 2017

ARA performed a field survey and a determination of effect report for the renovation of a 1975 office building adjacent to the historic West Virginia School for the Colored Deaf and Blind. The State Historic Preservation Office’s concurrence on the Finding of No Adverse Effect was achieved without additional negotiation or correspondence.

                                                          Client: Terradon Corp.


Robinson Grand Theater Renovation Section 106 Review, Clarksburg, WV, 2014-2016

ARA served as coordinator of Section 106 review, including historic research, report preparation, agency coordination, and public involvement, for the restoration of a historic theater receiving USDA Rural Development funding.  The project was cleared by the State Historic Preservation Office with No Adverse Effect and constructed in 2018.

Client: WYK Associates/ City of Clarksburg, WV.


Shiloh Truss Bridge Replacement, Tyler Co., WV. Historic marker placed as mitigation for removing the historic bridge, with text written by ARA.

West Virginia Division of Highways Statewide On-Call Consultant for Cultural Resources.

Since 2013, ARA has been one of the multiple firms competitively selected to provide cultural resource environmental services as needed, including Section 106 and 4(f) review, memoranda of agreement, public involvement, mitigation, and NEPA clearance for highway and bridge projects throughout West Virginia. ARA has completed several small bridge replacement projects and architectural surveys under this agreement.

Client: West Virginia Division of Highways.


Thomas, WV, Self-Guided Walking Tour

In partnership with the Tucker County Historic Landmark Commission and Digital Relativity, a West Virginia-based digital marketing firm, Aurora Research Associates developed a self-guided walking tour brochure, interpretive signs, and a website for the Thomas Commercial Historic District. This project, funded by a West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office grant, communicates the rich history of this coal town, which was one of the most ethnically diverse cities in West Virginia in the early 20th century. ARA performed historical research and wrote all content for the multimedia experience.


Camp Caesar National Register Historic District Nomination

As an independent subconsultant to Van Nostrand Architects of Buckhannon, WV, ARA completed the National Register nomination for Camp Caesar, the Webster County 4-H Camp. This historic camp, which includes 41 contributing resources, is significant for its role in the local and state 4-H program, rustic architecture, and association with the New Deal.


West Virginia Division of Highways – Courtney Zimmerman

West Virginia Statewide Historic Bridge Survey Project Management

As project manager for the Statewide Historic Bridge Survey, Courtney oversaw a significant portion of the survey of over 3,000 of the state’s older bridges and led coordination with the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office. In collaboration with the West Virginia Division of Highways Planning Division, the WVDOH Environmental Section developed the “Historic Trusses of West Virginia” poster as a sample of comprehensive mitigation that could be developed as a more effective approach to managing the state’s historic bridges and transportation system. Courtney composed the content for the poster.

US 35 Late-Find 4(f) Evaluation and Mitigation Plan

The complex project to upgrade US Highway 35 in Mason and Putnam counties from two-lane to four-lane involved a number of environmental effects, including a late-find Section 4(f) resource, the historic John McCausland Memorial Farm. Courtney, along with colleague Sondra Mullins in the WVDOH Environmental Section, led the Section 4(f) analysis efforts, conducted a number of public meetings, and coordinated mitigation negotiations between a wide range of stakeholders. To read Courtney’s paper on the mitigation efforts, see “Publications” below.

Capon Lake Whipple Truss and Winfield Toll Bridge National Register Nominations

Courtney prepared nominations for two of West Virginia’s historic bridges, an undertaking not usually pursued by the WVDOH. Both properties were listed in 2011.


Robert Silman Associates – Courtney Zimmerman

Historic Property Condition Assessment

As an intern engineer, Courtney assisted with on-site condition surveys for a number of significant historic properties, including Arlington House at Arlington National Cemetery, Woodlawn Plantation, the Arts of War sculptures on Arlington Memorial Bridge, and the National Holocaust Museum auxiliary building terra cotta cornice. Projects involved documenting existing conditions, diagnosis of structural issues, and recommendations for repair and remediation.

Congressional Cemetery Monument Preservation Workshop

Courtney participated in the National Park Service training course for historic cemetery surveys, documentation, and repair. The course, held at the historic Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C, included hands-on training in monument repair.

Presentations and Publications

“Innovative Mitigation in a Historic Agricultural Landscape: U.S. Highway 35 in Mason and Putnam Counties, WV.” Paper presented at the 7th Biennial Preserving the Historic Road Conference. Washington, DC, September 9-12, 2010.

“Historic Travel Guides as Research Sources.” Paper presented at the 8th Biennial Preserving the Historic Road Conference. Indianapolis, IN, September 20-22, 2012

West Virginia’s Historic Turnpikes: Research and Survey Methods.” Paper presented at the 6th Biennial Preserving the Historic Road Conference. Albuquerque, NM, September 11-14, 2008.

“The American Summer Youth Camp as a Cultural Landscape.” In Cultural Landscapes: Balancing Nature and Heritage in Preservation Practice, edited by Richard Longstreth. Minneapolis: U. of Minnesota Press, 2008.

“Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp: The Rural Summer Camp as a Cultural Heritage Site.” Future Anterior Journal of Historic Preservation History, Theory and Criticism 1 (Spring 2004): 38-46.

Jackson’s Mill Historic District National Register Nomination