Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Airboat tour in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.

WLA Studio is preparing cultural landscape reports (CLR) for the Barataria Preserve and for the Chalmette Unit of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Louisiana. The Barataria Preserve features 23,000 acres of swamps, bayous, fresh and salt-water marshes, and forest. Archeologists believe that people settled in the area as early as 3500 BC. Today, the banks of the bayous have evidence of early occupation sites, including large shell middens and earthen mounds. Later, Spanish colonists developed roads through the forest and a group of Canary Islanders established a small community near the banks of Bayou des Familles. In the 19th century, farmers transformed the landscape by converting dry land to sugar cane plantation.

Today, this portion of the Louisiana coastal region is experience high rates of subsidence due to a combination of natural processes and manmade changes made to the local environment. High rates of sea-level rise, salt water intrusion, and an increase in intensity and frequency of storms threaten both the natural and cultural resources of the preserve.

WLA Studio is leading a team that includes archeologist and environmental scientists to document the existing conditions of the preserve and provide strategies to assist the National Park Service provide long term protection and stewardship of the fragile landscape.

Mitchelville Freedom Park

WLA recently began work on a nationally-significant project at Mitchelville Freedom Park located on Hilton Head Island. This plan will serve as a guide for future development of a park and interpretation at the Mitchelville site, which was the location of the first self-governed freedmen town in the the United States, formed in 1862 during the Civil War. Mitchelville Freedom Park will tell the important story of the freedmen and freedwomen who established this town and lived at Hilton Head Island. The park will be part of a national network of sites associated with the Reconstruction Era and an important piece in the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor. WLA leads a team of nationally-renowned scholars of African American history, interpretive designers (Proun Exhibit Design Consulting), and community engagement specialists (International Coalition of Sites of Conscience). The client is Beaufort County, South Carolina and the Mitchelville Preservation Project.

Plains Depot - Jimmy Carter National Historic Site

WLA recently kicked off a cultural landscape report project at the Plains Depot at Jimmy Carter National Historic Site. Plains is the birthplace of Jimmy Carter, our nation’s 39th president. Carter first used the depot as a campaign headquarters when he ran for governor in the early 1970s. The site served as Headquarters for Carter’s 1976 Presidential Campaign. The building and site served as the backdrop for many press conferences, announcements, and celebrations. The cultural landscape report will focus on returning the site to its appearance during the period of significance while providing access to all site visitors.

Cummer Gardens Restoration Project

Image courtesy of the Cummer Museum.

Image courtesy of the Cummer Museum.

WLA Studio is working with the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, Florida to restore historic gardens that were severely impacted by Hurricane Irma in 2017. The gardens are situated behind the historic tudor-style home, now a museum, on the bank of the St. Johns River. The gardens date to the early 1900s and include designs by Ossian Cole Simonds, Ellen Biddle Shipman, Thomas Meehan and Sons, and the Olmsted Brothers. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the gardens remained submerged under water for more than 24 hours after the hurricane. This submersion resulted in salinization of the soil, which severely impacted plant material at the site. WLA is assisting museum leadership in assessing and making recommendations for repairs to the gardens. 






Decatur United Methodist Children's Home Site


Imagine 77

A Vision for the Decatur United Methodist Children's Home Property

WLA Studio is teaming with Cooper Carry, VHB, Civic Dinners, and Bleakly Advisory Group to produce a master plan for a 77 acre site recently purchased by the City of Decatur. The site is the former location of the Decatur United Methodist Children's Home, which was located on this property from 1873-2017. WLA is working with the project team to lead public input efforts to create a vision for the future of the property. With over 400 participants at the kick-off meeting for the project, the Imagine 77 project is off to a successful start. The project is currently in the idea sorting phase, and citizens are communicating would like to see preserved and added to this historic property through community workshops and charettes. 

Greenville, SC Historic Resources Survey

WLA Studio is currently working on a city-wide survey of 1,500 properties in Greenville, SC. The survey areas include a variety of resources including mill houses, Craftsman bungalows, commercial areas, and post-War neighborhoods. The goal of the project is to assess and assign historic resource status to previously undocumented resources in the study areas. Specific attention is being given to the identification of individual historic resources, as well as eligible historic districts. Additional information on the project can be found on the city's website. Neighborhoods included in the study include: West End, Village of West Greenville, Greater Sullivan, Nicholtown, Stone Academy, North Main, Augusta Road, Cleveland Park, Sherwood Forest, and Parkins Mill. WLA staff members will be surveying these neighborhoods thoruhout the summer.

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

The WLA Studio team is working with historical architects from SBC+H and structural engineers from Palmer Engineering to complete four Historic Structure Reports for the National Park Service. These buildings are located at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site on the Birth Home Block. Building histories as well as structural and architectural investigations will lead to recommendations for treatment and use.

West Rutherford Historic District

The West Rutherford Avenue Local Historic District is comprised of houses built between 1930 and 1960 within the city limits of Athens, Georgia. The houses represent a variety of early-twentieth-century architectural styles including English Vernacular Revival, Colonial Revival, Craftsman, American Small House, and Ranch. The neighborhood reflects subdivision development in Athens in the early twentieth century when local developers situated new neighborhoods along streetcar routes developed during the end of the nineteenth century

WLA Studio prepared a Historic District Designation Report and Design Guidelines for the Rutherford Avenue Local Historic District in Athens, Georgia. Working for the Athens-Clarke County Planning Department, team members Keyes Williamson and Mary Fenwick Parish performed a parcel-by-parcel inventory of the historic resources within the proposed historic district’s boundaries. The products of this inventory included physical descriptions of existing conditions of each parcel, identification of historic fabric, and explanation of the historic significance and character-defining features for each individual resource. WLA Studio also prepared recommended design guidelines that specifically addressed the preservation of historic features within the proposed districts.

During the development of the report and guidelines, WLA Studio met with property owners and attended public meetings designed to inform local residents of the project. The Athens-Clarke County Historic Preservation Commission unanimously approved the designation report and the Mayor and City-County Commission unanimously approved the designation in December 2016.

Online Athens Article

The Oaks at Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site

WLA staff are currently developing a Cultural Landscape Report for The Oaks at Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site. The Oaks is the historic Queen Anne residence of Dr. Booker T. Washington, the first president of Tuskegee Institute. Constructed in 1899, Dr. Washington resided there until his death in 1915. This beautiful home embodies the educational philosophy of Dr. Washington since the buildings consist of locally-sourced materials manufactured by students of the Institute as part of their vocational training. During his tenure as president of Tuskegee Institute, The Oaks received many influential visitors and patrons of the school including numerous prominent businessmen, politicians, and twice, the President of the United States. Team members Madie Fischetti and Mary Fenwick Parish spent the past few months conducting fieldwork and archival research at the site. The final report will include analysis of and treatment recommendations for the grounds surrounding The Oaks.



Stockbridge Bicycle, Pedestrian, & Trail Plan

WLA Studio recently completed a Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trail Plan for the City of Stockbridge, Georgia. This metro-Atlanta city desired a comprehensive plan to address active transportation needs. Studio Director Madie Fischetti and Project Manager Cameron Yates led WLA and a team of community stakeholders in the development of this master plan document. The plan provides details on the existing condition of bicycle and pedestrian facilities in the city and identifies opportunities for future improvement. The plan aims to provide a vision for future connection of existing city assets and links to surrounding county regional amenities. The Stockbridge Mayor and City Council adopted the plan in early January 2017.

Great Smoky Mountains - Elkmont, Society Hill

WLA Studio is preparing a Cultural Landscape Inventory of the Society Hill section of the Elkmont Historic District in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This month, WLA Studio principal Keyes Williamson and Project Manager Cameron Yates began a documentation and mapping project to identify and record information about the historic site’s character defining resources. Using GPS and ArcGIS to record location information about the cultural landscape, Cameron is creating a detailed map of a variety of features associated with the development of this resort community that predates the establishment of the National Park. Using historic photographs, maps, and by pushing aside the rapidly accumulating layer of multi-colored, fallen leaves, Keyes and Cameron were able to find historic walkways, roads, long-abandoned ornamental garden beds, swimming holes, and remnants of old mill structures.

Society Hill is a component of a recreational community developed by members of the Appalachian Club in the first three decades of the twentieth century. In the first years of the 1900s, the Little River Lumber Company constructed a railroad deep into the Little River Gorge to haul out lumber and logs. The Little River Railroad began offering residents of Knoxville, TN excursions into the mountains where they could fish, hunt, and enjoy the mountain scenery. By 1910, a group of Knoxville businessmen organized the Appalachian Club, acquired a deed for approximately 50 acres, and soon began to develop an exclusive summer retreat deep in the recesses of the Smoky Mountains. Members built dozens of summer cabins, many perched along the edge of Jakes Creek, exhibiting a variety of architectural types and styles.  

The Cultural Landscape Inventory is an initiative of the NPS Park Cultural Landscape Program. The Inventory combines historic research and existing condition analysis to provide the National Park Service with a scholarly and scientific basis for making management decisions about historic and cultural resources. WLA Studio is currently leading a multi-discipline team that includes architects, archeologists, and natural resource scientists to provide on-call cultural resource planning.

Fort Frederica National Monument CLI

WLA Studio is currently under contract to perform Cultural Landscapes Inventory Services at Fort Frederica National Monument on Saint Simons Island, Georgia. According to the National Park Service, a Cultural Landscapes Inventory (CLI) is a "comprehensive inventory of all culturally and historically significant landscapes within the National Park System. The CLI records each landscape's location, historical development, existing conditions, and management information." Our team has commenced recordation at this 250 acre site that includes the ruins of a colonial-era fort and town and the Bloody Marsh Unit.  

San Juan Historic Site, San Juan Puerto Rico

WLA Studio is currently working with the National Park Service (NPS) to prepare Additional Documentation for the National Register of Historic Places Nomination for the San Juan National Historic Site (SAJU) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. SAJU includes the historic Spanish fortifications of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristóbal, Fort San Juan de la Cruz (El Cañuelo), and most of the historic wall surrounding Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. The fortifications are the oldest of European design in the United States and exemplify the evolution of military architecture and engineering over five centuries. Today, SAJU contains several historic buildings and structures that were essential to the mission of Fort Brooke, a main United States Army post in the Caribbean during WWII. As a part of this project, WLA Studio provided NPS with additional information regarding historic resources the United States War Department constructed and utilized between 1939 and 1945, during preparations for and active involvement in the Second World War (WWII). The purpose of this Additional Documentation is to provide historic context to these resources, evaluate their significance, and evaluate their integrity.

Announcing WLA Studio

We are proud to announce WLA Studio (formerly The Jaeger Company.) Our team is proud to offer you continued service under our new name. Our contact information remains the same. Our home office is in Athens, Georgia with satellites in Gainesville and Atlanta. We are excited to continue past relationships with our clients as we move into our next thirty years. Please call us at 706.543.5459 or email at