What is the Historic American Buildings Survey?

a black and white image of Scholle Farm located in the City of Camarillo
Scholle Farm, City of Camarillo

Administered by the National Park Service, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) is the Federal Government's oldest preservation program, along with its companion programs: the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) and the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). Documentation produced through HABS/HAER/HALS constitutes the nation's largest archive of historic architectural, engineering, and landscape documentation. Records on more than 40,000 historic sites (consisting of large-format black and white photographs, measured drawings, and written historical reports) are maintained in a special collection at the Library of Congress, available to the public copyright free in both hard copy (at the Library of Congress) and via the Library's website. HDP also develops and maintains the Secretary of the Interior's Standards
and Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation. 

Documentation provides a permanent record of the nation's most important historic sites and large-scale objects that are in danger of demolition or loss by neglect. For more information, refer to the National Park Service website at the following link: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/heritagedocumentation/index.htm.

What is the purpose of HABS/HAER/HALS documentation?

HABS/HAER/HALS documentation can be one important method of mitigating the environmental impacts of projects affecting historic properties. The purpose of documentation is to preserve an accurate record of historic properties that can be used in research and other preservation activities. To serve these purposes, the documentation must include information that permits the assessment of its reliability.

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation define the products acceptable for inclusion in the HABS/HAER/HALS collection at the Library of Congress as measured drawings, large-format black-and-white photographs, large-format color transparencies, written histories, and descriptions, and field records. The Guidelines provide advice and technical information on meeting the standards. Most importantly, they outline an approach to historic architecture, engineering, and landscapes that helps ensure the documentation will meet the Secretary's Standards while creating a comprehensive understanding of the site or structure. They also provide recommendations on research methods and report organization, line weight and sheet layout, photographic paper and negative preparation, and the disposition of field notes. For more information, refer to the National Park Service website at the following link: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/heritagedocumentation/soi-standards-guidelines.htm.

County of Ventura Photo Library

The County of Ventura may condition or recommend HABS/HAER/HALS documentation be prepared for development projects affecting historic properties. Selected documentation prepared for historic properties in Ventura County is listed below. The County of Ventura generally does not own rights to material in its collections and, therefore, cannot grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute the material. Please refer to the Library of Congress citation guidelines for more information.

 14320 Pinkerton Road, Santa Paula

Pan American Seed Company, 335 S. Briggs Road, Santa Paula

McKay Residence, 1456 Alelia Avenue, Saticoy

Nye Ranch, 8442 Santa Ana Road, Ventura

More-Edwards Adobe, Saticoy

Scholle Farm, City of Camarillo

Former Edgington Oxnard Refinery, Oxnard

Thacher School, Ojai

Additional Resources

Where can I get more information?

Questions regarding the Cultural Heritage Program can be directed to Dillan Murray, Associate Planner, at (805) 654-5042 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..