Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

History

Sub-Department

College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Robert Weyeneth

Abstract

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties define reconstruction as “the act or process of depicting, by means of new construction, the form, features, and detailing of a non-surviving site, landscape, building, structure, or object for the purpose of replicating its appearance at a specific period of time and in its historic location.”1 Reconstruction is a controversial treatment method among historic preservationists, so this thesis seeks to answer the question of why stewards of historic sites still choose to reconstruct nonextant buildings. It explores three case studies: (1) the slave buildings of Mulberry Row at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, (2) the Cyrus Garvin House, a Reconstruction-era freedman’s cottage, and (3) the Mann-Simons Site, a group of domestic and commercial buildings belonging to a black family during segregation. With the public history field emphasizing the interpretation of sites associated with underrepresented groups or understudied time periods, preserving historic resources pertaining to slavery, Reconstruction, and segregation is imperative and timely. In these case studies, it was necessary and appropriate to go beyond preservation to reconstruct vanished buildings that convey histories “essential to the public understanding.”2

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