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 Phillip Rollfing  

Heritage preservation

Historic Preservation Symposium
eyes Texas' World War II heritage



“Conserving Texas’ World War II Heritage” is the focus of the Eighth Annual Historic Preservation Symposium, a two-day event sponsored by the Center for Heritage Conservation at the Texas A&M College of Architecture.

The symposium will be held 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 2 at the College of Architecture’s Built Environment Teaching and Research Facility, or “Architecture Ranch,” the Texas A&M Riverside campus. On Saturday, the symposium moves to the Preston Geren Auditorium at the Langford Architecture Center on the university’s main campus. Saturday’s session is 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The two-day symposium will “further the education and practice of heritage conservation,  and will illustrate where preservation practice is today and where it will proceed in the future,” said David Woodcock, professor of architecture at Texas A&M and director of the College of Architecture’s Center for Heritage Conservation.

Woodcock will be among the featured speakers at the two-day event. Also on hand, to discuss statewide WWII heritage preservation efforts, will be officials from the Texas Historical Commission, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Texas Department of Transportation. 

The Texas A&M Riverside campus, where Friday’s session will be held, is the former site of the Bryan Army Air Field. Part of the day’s agenda includes guided tours of the three remaining military structures. Symposium participants will have an opportunity to earn continuing education credits while studying the long-span timber construction of the old buildings and learning about the development process of Historic Structure Reports.

During the Friday sessions at “The Ranch,” symposium participants will hear:

  • Kerry Chandler, an expert on social military history, discuss the history of the Bryan Army Air Field during World War II, including life on the base, the mission, and military interaction with the local community;

  • David Woodcock and Pat Sparks, president of Sparks Engineering, Inc. and a professional fellow with the Center for Historic Preservation, will talk about historic structure reports and condition assessments;

  • Brent Mullins, president of the Museum of the American G.I., will discuss practices used in the conservation of military vehicles, and attendees will be able to examine a privately held collection of WWII vehicles immediately following his speech; and

  • David Fischetti, president of DCF Engineering, Inc., will examine aspects of long span wood structures pre- and post-WWII.

The Saturday session, at the Preston Geren Auditorium in Building B of the Langford Architecture Center, will also focus on conservation technology processes. Topics to be covered include Randolph Air Force Base’s status as “the “West Point Academy of the Air;” strategies under consideration to save the USS Texas; and an exploration of a WWII prisoner of war camp in Hearne, Texas.

On Saturday, symposium participants will hear:

  • William McWhorter, the military history sites coordinator for the Texas Historical Commission, talk about the THC’s involvement in the conservation of WWII history in Texas;

  • Heather Goodson, a historic preservation specialist in the Texas Department of Transportation’s Environmental Affairs Division, will discuss the National Register of Historic Places evaluation methodologies for former WWII aviation facilities and examine preliminary findings from a related survey;

  • Cathy Lazarus, chair of the Robertson County Historical Commission and president of Roll Call: Friends of Camp Hearne, will talk about information her group has preserved about the former prisoner of war camp in Robertson County;

  • Robert Warden, assistant architecture professor, and Richard Burt, associate professor of construction science, both from Texas A&M, will discuss their efforts to survey and document the Pointe du Hoc D-Day battlefield in Normandy, France;

  • Barry Ward, executive director of the Battleship Texas Foundation, will lecture on alternative strategies proposed for saving the Battleship Texas; and

  • Bruce Ashcroft, a historian for Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base, and Scott Shepard, a combat rescue officer at the Air Force Special Operations Command, will discuss Randolph Air Force Base, which is known as the “West Point of the Air,” and is now a National Historic Landmark with over 350 buildings.


Registration forms are available through the Center for Heritage Conservation Web site at: The registration deadline is Friday, February 23.



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Women Air Force Service Pilots were among those stationed at Bryan Army Air Force Base, which is today the site of the Texas A&M Riverside Campus. During the Friday sessions of the Historical Preservation Symposium, participants will tour structures remaining from the Army air base days.