Heritage Conservation Project Director Helen Erickson Discusses Buffalo Soldiers on the Arizona-Mexico Border for ASLA Blog
On June 22, 2021, CAPLA Heritage Conservation Project Director Helen Erickson published the essay “Buffalo Soldiers on the Southwest Border” in The Field, the blog of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Professional Practice Network. In its introduction to the essay, the ASLA notes how it “highlights the importance of documenting historic landscapes for perpetuity”—and in particular, a historic Black landscape.
Erickson explores Camp Naco alongside the larger role of African-American soldiers in southeastern Arizona. The camp, which was constructed in 1919, is located in the valley of the San Pedro River and was home to rotating troops from the 10th U.S. Calvary Regiment—nicknamed “Buffalo Soldiers.” It is also “unique in that it was built almost entirely of adobe, a circumstance which explains its survival to the present day,” writes Erickson.
Erickson, who holds a Master of Landscape Architecture and Certificate in Heritage Conservation from CAPLA, joined the college faculty in 2017 after working with the Drachman Institute for seven years on Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit-related projects. The national ASLA coordinator for the Historic American Landscapes Survey, she also holds a BA from Harvard University and a Master of Music from the Yale University School of Music.