The Challenge

Mitigate the adverse effects of the planned removal of a 1920s nitroglycerin plant near Benson, Arizona.

The plant was originally constructed between 1920 and 1921 and portions were remodeled in the early 1950’s.

It was a unique example of an early 20th century industrial complex representing an industry with few extant examples of similar industrial systems. A total of 125 buildings from the period of significance were documented during this project.

The Solution

The first phase of the project was to prepare a report that assessed the eligibility of the powder line system for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

Once the recommendation was accepted by the EPA and SHPO, WestLand prepared a Historic Properties Treatment Plan that described the field and archival methods to be used to study the vernacular architecture of the explosives plant, detailed historical explosive production systems, and placed the plant in the larger context of the Western mining and construction industries.

The Result

During the project, all buildings and structures were recorded by an architectural historian on Arizona Historic Property Inventory Forms.

Using documentary records, previously collected and newly conducted oral histories, and the results of our fieldwork, WestLand created a detailed history of the plant as well as a historic context on the manufacturing of explosives that was incorporated into the final mitigation report.

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The Project

As part of an EPA Superfund project, WestLand was retained to mitigate the adverse effects of the planned removal of a 1920s nitroglycerin plant near Benson, Arizona.

At A Glance

Project Apache Nitrogen Historic Preservation
Client Apache Nitrogen Products Inc.
Location Saint David, Arizona
Sector Mining & Industrial
Completed December 2014

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