Alexander Benjamin Craghead is a historian of technology, representation, and landscape.


Ph.D. in Architecture, History, Theory & Society
College of Environmental Design, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California. August 2020.

Master of Science in Architecture, History, Theory & Society
College of Environmental Design, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, May 2015.

Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
Marylhurst University, Marylhurst, Oregon, April 2010.


For a comprehensive list, see CV.


Selected Publications:

“Railroads, power, and technological stories in California,” California History 96, 2, Summer 2019, 6-18.

“Jasmine and the good life,” The Smart Set (web site), Pennoni Honors College at Drexel University, February 1, 2018.

“Remember this! A memory manifesto, for architects,” Room 1000 5, 2017, 53-56. (Co-written with Stathis Gerostthopoulos, Valentina Rozas-Kraus, Andrew M. Shanken, Desirée Valadares, Santiago Vales, and Mark Warren.)

“The (rail)road belongs in the landscape: J.B. Jackson and the photographic depiction of American railroads,” Railroad Heritage 47, December 2016, 14-35.

Railway Palaces of Portland, Oregon: The Architectural Legacy of Henry Villard (Charlotte, NC: The History Press, 2016), 208 pages.

“Amenities, not enemies: The once and future San Francisco,” BOOM: A Journal of California (web site), July, 2014.


Papers delivered:

“Urban history as Western history: Pacific Coast cities, redevelopment, and frontier expansion,” Western History Association, 60th Annual WHA Conference, October 17, 2020

“‘Your precious old dumb stuffy coliseum’: Memorialization, urbanity, and democracy in 1960s Portland.” Oregon Film History Conference, Lewis & Clark College, May 2019.

With Ashlee Whitaker, “Shaking hands: Curatorial collaboration and After Promontory,” Center for Railroad Photography & Art, 2019 Conversations Transcontinental conference, Brigham Young University Museum of Art, March 2019.

“J.B. Jackson and the archaeological turn in American photography of railroads,” Center for Railroad Photography & Art, 2017 Conversations on Photography conference, Lake Forest, Illinois, April 2017.

“Un-skewing the canon: Urban renewal, architecture, and the West,” Society of Architectural Historians, 2016 Annual International Conference, Pasadena, California, April 2016.

“Preservation as counter-culture: Struggles for community, authenticity, and the birth of official historic Preservation in two Pacific Coast cities,” Society of American City and Regional Planning Historians, 16th National Conference on Planning History, Los Angeles, California, November 2015.

Blog Posts



    Blighted Ambitions: Federal Policy, Public Housing, and Redevelopment on the West Coast, 1937-1954

    Andrew Shanken, Chair
    Paul E. Groth
    Margaret Crawford
    Mark Brilliant


    Research projects in progress:

    The history of the first two decades of the Portland Development Commission, ~1958-1980. 2019+

    The Analog Aesthetic: Authenticity, Industrial Nostalgia, and Hipster William Morris, 2015+

    Suspended decay: The architectural sculptures of Robert Overby, 2016+

    Power on Glass: Carleton E. Watkins’s Columbia River Series and the Capitalist Gaze, 2016+


    After Promontory: 150 Years of Transcontinental Railroading (exhibit project), 2017-2020.


    2020-Present, Society of Architectural Historians

    2017-Present, California Historical Society

    2016-Present Mechanic’s Institute, San Francisco

    2014-Present, Center for Land Use Interpretation

    2014-Present, Society for American City and Regional Planning History

    2014-Present, Urban History Association

    2014-Present, Vernacular Architecture Forum

    2012-Present, Oregon Historical Society

    2011-Present, Ben Holladay Society, Portland, OR

    2011-Present, Architectural Heritage Center, Portland, OR

    2009-Present, Center for Railroad Photography and Art

    Alexander Benjamin Craghead

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