Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Historic Preservation

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Jon Marcoux

Committee Member

Dr. James Ward

Committee Member

Chloe Stuber


This thesis research investigates and documents how individuals within the African American settlement communities of Cross Cut, Ferguson Village/Down Cut, and Sol Legare define the boundaries and important sites of their community. The purpose of the study is to better understand how individuals define their community’s boundaries, rather than historic preservation and planning professionals defining them. It seeks to determine the importance of factors such as houses, churches, schools, streets, farm lands, cemeteries, and community gathering spaces to boundary drawings as well as the influence of current address, age, and time spent in the community on participants’ boundaries. Before this information was collected, historic maps and aerial photographs were analyzed from 1780 to 1977 to best understand how the three communities were represented in the past in order to compare to current community-defined boundaries and important sites. A survey was employed for participants to complete a boundary drawing for their community and answer questions about what might have factored into or influenced their boundary. The historic maps showed geographic features tied to the community names of Cross Cut, Ferguson Village/Down Cut and Sol Legare. However, they visually showed the history of segregation and discrimination and little official recognition of distinct communities. The survey showed there is moderate agreement between individuals within and across communities about what factors were most and least important to their boundary drawings, while the ranking of factors against each other for importance was much more individualized. This research is important because boundaries are one of the main steps to defining and determining a historic resource’s significance at the local, state, or federal level.



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