The historic American building survey (HABS) began during the Great Depression, in December 1933, when Charles E Peterson of the National Park Service submitted a proposal for a thousand out of work architects to spend 10 weeks documenting America's antique buildings. HABS became a permanent program of the National Park Service in 1934 and was formally authorized by Congress as part of the historic sites act of 1935 ongoing programs. It has recorded America's built environment with more than 581,000 measured drawings, large-format photographs, written histories, and original field notes for more than 43,000 historic structures and sites.
Creation of the program was motivated primarily by the perceived need to mitigate the negative effects upon our history and culture of rapidly vanishing architectural resources. At the same time, important early preservation initiatives were just getting underway, such as restoration of the colonial capital at Williamsburg and the development within the National Park Service (NPS) of historical parks and National Historic Sites. As a national survey, the HABS collection is intended to represent "a complete resume of the builder's art." Thus, the building selection ranges in type and style from the monumental and architect-designed to the utilitarian and vernacular, including a sampling of our nation's vast array of regionally and ethnically derived building traditions.
A. B. Hinsdell House, 443 East Chicago Street was built c. 1845 and
is included in the HABS survey