LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District notified the State Historic Preservation Office of the California Office of Historic Preservation by letter dated May 31, 2018, that it has made a final determination about the bicentennial-themed mural on the Prado Dam spillway in Riverside County, California.
The mural does not meet the criteria for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Corps reached this conclusion after evaluating input received from consulting parties.
The Corps determined in 1991 that Prado Dam, including the spillway, was eligible for listing on the National Register. Although the mural was painted on the spillway, it is not considered a contributing feature of the spillway or dam complex.
After the Corps announced plans to remove the mural and other coatings from the spillway because of the presence of lead paint, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation recommended the Corps separately assess the eligibility of the mural for listing on the National Register due to new information, clear public support and the passage from time since the last relevant survey of historic properties. Based on this recommendation, the Corps evaluated the mural separately for eligibility for listing on the National Register.
While the Corps acknowledges the importance of the mural to the local community, as evidenced by the 30,000-plus signatures on a petition to save it, the organization has determined the mural does not meet eligibility requirements.
The National Park Service is explicit in its requirements for listing properties in the National Register. Because of its type and age, the Prado Dam mural would have to meet the terms of two specific National Register criteria considerations in order to achieve eligibility:
• Properties that are commemorative in nature, but are exceptionally significant under other National Register criteria, and,
• Properties that have not yet achieved 50 years of age, but have achieved exceptional importance.
Whether properties have achieved exceptional significance or importance as required by the criteria considerations is evaluated based on the National Register eligibility criteria of:
• If they are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history;
• If they are associated with the lives of significant persons in our past;
• If they embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction that represents the work of a master, possesses high artistic values or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or,
• Whether the property has or had information to contribute to our understanding of human history or prehistory, and secondly, whether that information is considered important.
The final letter and supporting documentation to SHPO can be found at: http://www.spl.usace.army.mil/Portals/17/docs/Asset%20Management/Prado_Mural_Consulting_Letter.pdf