Library of American Landscape History

If you have room in your inbox for a landscaping history e-newsletter, I can recommend one from the Library of American Landscape History.

Articles in the Dec. 2011 issue include:

- new publications
Fletcher Steele’s "Design in the Little Garden"
Bob Grese’s "The Native Landscape Reader"
Christopher Vernon’s "Graceland: A Design History"

Each of these volumes explores a different aspect of landscape studies—from garden design to environmental design to consideration of the cemetery as a reflection of American cultural history.

- LALH and Hott Productions of Florentine Films (the Ken Burns company) wrapped production on two inaugural documentary films in our highly anticipated North America by Design series.

- Will Garden of Revelations Meet Watery Apocalypse?
When a band of German religious dissenters arrived in east central Ohio in 1817, they chose a fertile plain in a bend of the Tuscarawas River on which to build a communal society. They laid out a village, called Zoar—after a biblical town near the Dead Sea—in a rectangular grid. In the central block they designed a garden symbolizing the city of New Jerusalem as described in the Book of Revelation. In the center a tall conifer (currently a Norway spruce) represented Jesus, encircled by twelve juniper trees—the apostles. Straight paths divided the garden into beds planted with vegetables and flowers. Although the communal society disbanded in the late nineteenth century, many villagers remained, periodically reviving the garden. Read the rest of this article online at the link.

- UMass Campus Pond in Peril, Horse Barn Saved

In 1893, Massachusetts Agricultural College, acting on a plan commissioned from Frederick Law Olmsted nearly three decades earlier, created a placid pond at the heart of the campus by damming a brook that flowed through an adjacent ravine. The pond reflected a classic Olmstedian use of topography to spatially define the campus and retain its local, pastoral character—despite the fact that campus officials of the 1860s had shelved most of the Olmsted plan. Read the rest online.

- Campaign Aims to Restore Steele Monastery Garden

A year ago Polly Chatfield of Cambridge, Massachusetts, contacted LALH to ask about the potential significance of a courtyard garden designed by Fletcher Steele. The enclosed garden adjoins the guest house at a monastery occupied by the Brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal order, for seventy-five years. The information from LALH confirmed Chatfield’s sense that the garden deserved a historic landscape preservation approach as the order set out to refurbish it, along with a larger garden at the stately stone monastery designed by Ralph Adams Cram. More online.

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