Eleanor Mahoney

  • PhD Candidate
  • Pre-Doctoral Instructor, HSTAA 221/ENVIR 221 & HSTAA 372

M.A. Public History, Loyola University Chicago, B.A. History and French, Amherst College

Fields: 20th Century United States, Environmental History, Public History, American Indian Histories Office Hours: T 10:45 - 12:30

My dissertation examines the intersection of land use, economics and state action in the late twentieth-century United States, with an emphasis on the period stretching from the Great Society to the election of Ronald Reagan. It argues that shifts in production and consumption served as a primary influence on the designation and management of parks and other protected areas, especially in metropolitan regions. Rather than focusing on the creation of "wilderness" areas far from population centers, my work centers on the the preservation of "lived-in" or "working" landscapes, many of which were located in cities or on their outskirts. 

As capital became more mobile and government spending less plentiful, efforts to protect threatened sites evolved, reflecting altered social and environmental conditions and values. Accepted models of park management, which had long stressed firm boundaries, state ownership and a disavowal of human impacts or even presence on the land, proved inadequate to meet the needs of complex, “lived-in” landscapes suffering from ecological degradation and financial hardship. Instead, proponents opted for more collaborative approaches that emphasized inter-governmental cooperation, citizen participation and various forms of zoning as opposed to outright purchase or condemnation as a means to protect sensitive areas in urban and urbanizing locations.

I have also researched visual arts of the New Deal-era with an emphasis on Washington State. 

Prior to beginning my doctoral studies, I worked for the National Park Service as Assistant National Coordinator for Heritage Areas and for a variety of heritage conservation, public history and labor organizations in Appalachia, the Chesapeake Bay region and New Mexico.  I am the Associate Editor of the Living Landscape Observer, a website that seeks to bring together diverse constituencies interested in land conservation, heritage preservation, and sustainable community development as well as an Associate Editor for the Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights History Project. I am also the co-editor of a collection of oral histories, Above the Smoke: A Family Album of the Pocahontas County Fire Towers.



Above the Smoke: A Family Album of Pocahontas County Fire Towers. Co- edited with LeAnna Alderman. Dunmore, WV: Pocahontas Communications Cooperative, 2005.


"Seeking Northlake: Place, Technology, and Public as Enabling Constraints for Urban Transdisciplinary Research." In Cities 60 (2016): 314-322. With Megan Brown, Odessa Gonzalez Benson, Roneva Keel, Jennifer Porter and James Thompson. 2016 "National Heritage Areas: Learning from 30 Years of Working to Scale." In George Wright Forum, 33, no. 2 (2016): 163-174. With Brenda Barrett.

Article Manuscript in Preparation

 ‘Abundance for What?’: Leisure, Masculinity and the Cold War Crisis in Outdoor Recreation


Review of Gambling on Ore: The Nature of Metal Mining in the United States, 1860-1910, by Kent A. Curtis, in Pacific Northwest Quarterly (forthcoming)

Review of "Vista House at Crown Point State Park" in The Public Historian, 32, no. 4 (2010): 130-134.

Review of From the Miners Doublehouse: Archaeology and Landscape in a Pennsylvania Coal Company Town, by Karen Bescherer Metheny, in CRM: The Journal of Heritage Stewardship (Winter 2008): 99-101.

Encyclopedia Entries

Alfred Fairfax” in Blackpast.org: An Online Reference Guide to African American Culture and History

Virgil Garnett Trice, Jr.” in Blackpast.org: An Online Reference Guide to African American Culture and History

Green I. Currin” in Blackpast.org: An Online Reference Guide to African American Culture and History

“Agnes Smith Parrish” in The West Virginia Encyclopedia, ed. Ken Sullivan, (Charleston, West Virginia: West Virginia Humanities Council, 2006) p. 334.

“Sunrise Children’s Museum” in The West Virginia Encyclopedia, ed. Ken Sullivan, (Charleston, West Virginia: West Virginia Humanities Council, 2006) p. 450.


“Corporate Role in Parks Recalls Earlier Era, Presents New Challenges,” August 1, 2016                   

Half-Century Legacy of LWCF at Risk,” Living Landscape Observer, August 31, 2015,                                

"New Monuments, Old Debates,” Living Landscape Observer, July 29, 2015                                   

“The Recreation Imperative,” Living Landscape Observer, December 1, 2014

 “LWCF and the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission,” Living Landscape Observer, November 4, 2014,


See America in a New Light,” Living Landscape Observer, January 30, 2014

National Heritage Areas Worth Preserving and Promoting” NCPH Blog Hisory@Work, March 1, 2013

Parked: The Coburn Report,” Living Landscape Observer, December 2, 2013

Change Over Time in an Industrial Landscape,” Living Landscape Observer, July 31, 2013