Common historic preservation issues in the United States differ greatly between urban and rural contexts, a difference not always acknowledged in prevailing scholarship. While recent discourse recognizes the focus of preservation has evolved - moving away from exclusively architectural and urban subjects - most scholarship still relates to these themes. This paper looks at how physical evidence of land use shapes a rural Midwestern landscape, and proposes means to identify and conserve the elements that are most important to that rural community heritage, as expressed in the landscape. This project examines Springdale Township, a 30 sq. mi. section in Cedar, County Iowa, and interprets elements of land use visible in aerial photography and historic maps, with the intent of understanding the historic evolution of the landscape. The chronological scope of this study begins with a map from 1863, and moving forward, the project reveals how, despite significant changes in transportation and agricultural practice through time, the fundamental patterns of the landscape remain the same.
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