Founder and Builder of Iowa's State Historic Preservation Program Earns Lifetime Achievement in History Award

For immediate release March 10, 2004



Sarah Oltrogge, (515) 281-4011

Des Moines, Iowa—In 1966, with passage of the National Historic Preservation act, individual states soon began establishing statewide preservation programs as part of this new national effort with the National Park Service. By 1971, less than 10 U.S. states were still not participating—Iowa included.

Adrian Anderson, a well-regarded archeologist in Iowa, today was posthumously awarded the Historical Society’s Peterson/Harlan Award, presented to an individual, group or organization that has made significant long-term or continuing contributions to Iowa history, for his work to establish the State Historic Preservation Office in Iowa.
Anderson, who was the Assistant State Archaeologist with the University of Iowa’s Office of the State Archaeologist at the time, would visit with William Peterson, superintendent of the State Historical Society of Iowa about matters concerning archaeological sites in Iowa and the National Historic Preservation Act. Peterson knew of the program and had received materials to make Iowa a participating state, but had not acted upon them.

Anderson went to Governor Robert Ray’s office to voice his interest in becoming Iowa’s State Liaison Officer. In 1971, Anderson earned this title and was given the directive to implement provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act in Iowa.

Over the next six years, Anderson built the program to its full extent. The office expanded to 10, including a professional architectural historian, historian, archaeologist, planner, National Register editor, preservation architect, and other program support staff. Iowa’s place in national program developments became considerable through Adrian Anderson’s dedicated participation in the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO). As the only trained archaeologist, Anderson became an important reviewer of federal regulations as federal agencies worked to meet their responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act.

“These were the formative years of Iowa’s state historic preservation program and Adrian Anderson made it happen,” said Lowell Soike, deputy state historic preservation officer. “The result we see today is a highly regarded and professional state preservation office dedicated to broadly encouraging local preservation efforts and careful attention to advising agencies and grant applicants on how to best carry out preservation work.”-

Anderson, who was living in Jewell at the time of his death in December, was nominated for the award by Soike. Anderson’s widow, Barbara, accepted the award on his behalf.


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