VA Historic Preservation Success Stories
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, VA is proud to highlight several projects that have protected and adapted historic properties to serve Veterans. From a 1950’s office building in Louisiana to an ancient, hallowed hilltop in Hawaii, from an 1880’s mess hall in Kansas to a 1916 juvenile court in California, heritage sites have been saved and enhanced.
On this page you will find Historic Preservation success stories:
- The Milwaukee Soldier’s Home, a National Historic Landmark, received a prestigious preservation award in 2021. VA partnered with multiple organizations to help rehabilitate parts of this historic campus into housing for homeless veterans.
- Located on the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center campus, Building 209 was repurposed for compensated work therapy and transitional housing for homeless Veterans in 2015. The 55-unit facility provides on-site training and supportive services to help Veterans transition to independent living in the completely updated 1945 building. The renovation project has received numerous awards including the federal John Wesley Powell Prize for Historic Preservation for 2016 and the national American Institute of Architects Specialized Housing Award for 2015.
- National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, widely known as the “Punchbowl,” lies in Puowaina Crater, an extinct volcano overlooking Honolulu, Hawaii. The National Cemetery contains the remains of over 33,000 U.S. war dead, and memorializes almost 29,000 more. Puowaina is also a place of great cultural significance to Native Hawaiians, associated with the burial of royalty and the punishment of wrongdoers. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. VA must expand the Cemetery to accommodate warriors lost in recent conflicts, and will do so in a way that is sensitive to Native Hawaiian cultural concerns. VA consulted intensively with Native Hawaiian organizations and other interests to design new and upgraded facilities that respect the environment and the cultural and spiritual values that Native Hawaiians attach to Puowaina.
- The Western Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was built in 1886 overlooking the Missouri River at Leavenworth, Kansas. Now designated a National Historic Landmark, by 1994 much of it had become unsuitable for VA use as a medical facility. Through an innovative public-private partnership, VA and Pioneer Group’s Eisenhower Ridge Association entered into an Enhanced-Use Lease (EUL) to rehabilitate many of the campus’ historic buildings for affordable housing for Veterans, offices, and other related uses. This preserves the distinctive buildings and their surroundings, advances VA’s mission of service to veterans, and saves money for taxpayers.