Longfellow NHS Garden Restoration

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This presentation was created for Longfellow National Historic Site in the 2006 season when I was an interpretive ranger there.

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Longfellow NHS Garden Restoration

  1. 1. “ P layground of the H ome and R esting P lace of the S pirit” The History and Restoration of the Longfellow Garden
  2. 2. Vassall Mansion, built 1759 Glover’s Marblehead Regiment at the Delaware Crossing, 1776 George Washington’s Headquarters, 1775-6
  3. 3. Craigie House, 1815
  4. 4. Henry and Fanny Longfellow <ul><li>Henry Wadsworth Longfellow married Fanny Appleton in 1843 </li></ul><ul><li>Her father, Nathan Appleton, bought the former Craigie house and gave it to the Longfellows as a wedding present. </li></ul><ul><li>The Longfellows wanted to preserve the historic aspects of the house, particularly the Washington heritage. </li></ul><ul><li>Longfellow took a cautious approach to “improving” the landscape around his home with garden spaces and trees. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Rear of the Longfellow House, by Vautin 1845
  6. 6. Dolben’s Garden Beds, 1847
  7. 7. Alice Longfellow <ul><li>Lived at the Longfellow House until her death in 1928. </li></ul><ul><li>Highly involved in historic preservation efforts. </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to preserve her father’s design but also to include colonial revival elements. </li></ul><ul><li>Hired two important and influential female landscape designers in 1904 and 1925. </li></ul>Alice Mary Longfellow, 1875
  8. 8. Martha Brooks Hutcheson, 1904 <ul><li>First female professional landscape architect. </li></ul><ul><li>Earned reputation as designer of gardens and country estates. </li></ul><ul><li>Featured the Longfellow House in her book The Spirit of the Garden. </li></ul>“ The garden is not only the exquisite playground of the home, but the resting place of the spirit—the place of inspiration and promise, of tranquility and intense personal claim, and we are held and inspired by it.” ~ The Spirit of the Garden Amelia Thorp, c. 1905
  9. 9. Construction of the Garden, Winter 1904
  10. 11. Hutcheson’s Pergola <ul><li>This arbor serves three purposes: </li></ul><ul><li>It forms a shady spot which is large enough for a group of people to sit in; </li></ul><ul><li>It makes the long path more picturesque, breaking the effect of uninteresting distance; </li></ul><ul><li>It creates a camouflage screening a neighbor’s building which lies at the direct rear of the arbor. </li></ul><ul><li>~ The Spirit of the Garden </li></ul>
  11. 12. Hutcheson’s Garden, Post 1905
  12. 14. Ellen Biddle Shipman’s Garden
  13. 15. Ellen Biddle Shipman, 1925 <ul><li>Hired to revitalize Hutcheson’s aging garden, to replace plantings and redesign the garden beds. </li></ul><ul><li>Borrowed from Italian formal gardens a more “three-dimensional” style. </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporated both wild and domesticated roses of heirloom varieties in the same garden beds. </li></ul><ul><li>Known as the “dean of American women landscape architects.” </li></ul>Mary Smith, great-granddaughter of the poet
  14. 16. Shipman’s design changed the character of the garden from romantic and overgrown to a three dimensional design with wisteria, conifers, and fruit trees which add a vertical element to the garden beds. Many people appreciated the Longfellow tradition of drawing in the garden.
  15. 17. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana, Alice Longfellow, and friends
  16. 18. A place for celebrations Home to many generations A family wedding in the pergola Anne Thorp, the poet’s daughter, and her granddaughter Mary Smith
  17. 20. Longfellow Formal Garden, 1940
  18. 21. The Longfellow Parlor
  19. 22. Restoration, 2000-Today <ul><li>Missing side beds </li></ul><ul><li>Pergola removed in the 1960’s </li></ul><ul><li>Non-historic trees </li></ul><ul><li>Missing historic plantings </li></ul><ul><li>Archaeology necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Irrigation systems to be redesigned </li></ul>
  20. 23. Archaeological Trenches
  21. 24. Non-Historic Tree Removal
  22. 25. Reconstruction of the Pergola
  23. 26. Restoration of Side and Central Beds
  24. 27. Alice’s Garden Today <ul><li>39 varieties of roses </li></ul><ul><li>Significant collections of other heirloom flowers, especially asters and phlox </li></ul><ul><li>Most are not on the common market or in modern gardens </li></ul><ul><li>An exciting contribution to the site and to garden history </li></ul><ul><li>Still a work in progress. </li></ul>
  25. 29. “ A true summer morning, warm and breezy. Fanny sat under the linden-tree and read to me Heine’s poems, while I lay on a hay-cock; and Charley, red as a clover blossom, ran to and fro and into all possible mischief…” ~Entry from H.W.Longfellow journal June 4, 1846
  26. 30. The Longfellow House and Landscape: Alive and Inviting <ul><li>Daily guided tours of the house during open season </li></ul><ul><li>Summer Festival of concerts and poetry, free and open to the public </li></ul><ul><li>Special exhibits and events </li></ul><ul><li>Group and school tours available </li></ul><ul><li>Visit our website: www.nps.gov/long for calendar and visitor information </li></ul>
  27. 31. Art in the Garden Edith Longfellow’s Lilacs , May 30, 1860 age 6 The tradition continues
  28. 32. Family Days, 2005 NPS Staff and the Concordant Volunteers present word games and other period activities.
  29. 33. The Garden, June 2006
  30. 34. In all places then, and in all seasons, Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons, How akin they are to human things. ~ “Flowers” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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