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Archive for October, 2011

A 1979 edition of LD+A (Lighting, Design + Application)—a magazine of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES)—lists what appears to be an obituary for Mr. Eugene H. Fleming, III.  This suggests that Fleming was respected by the world of architectural lighting design, and also that he may have been a member of IES.  Finding the above entry in Google Books (the excerpt is barely a snippet, but visible) reminded me of a certificate I found and photographed back in June—one of an award by the IES.

As the image below displays, Walker & Walker received 1st place for their submission to the IES’ Applied Lighting Competition.  (They were recognized for their work on the bandshell of the amphitheatre on the lakeshore at Hodges Gardens).  When I learned one of the LSUS archive collections suggested Fleming was somehow involved with the design of Hodges Gardens’ Lookout Tower, I figured it was feasible to reason that he may have been associated with the Walker & Walker architecture firm, whose name is listed on the Lookout Tower design drawings.  Still, reviewing the below award from the IES makes the Fleming / Walker connection even more plausible.  Fleming likely partnered with Walker & Walker on at least a couple of Hodges Gardens projects.

Walker & Walker Architects awarded 1st Place in the IES Ark-La-Tex Chapter's Applied Lighting Competition, 1961. A couple of clues suggest Architect Eugene H. Fleming, III may have partnered with Walker & Walker on a couple of Hodges Gardens projects. Hodges Foundation Archive.

In addition to his potential connection with Walker & Walker, Fleming operated a firm under his own name, at a Shreveport office that was established in 1955.  According to the 1962 AIA Historical Directory, he was a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology (1947) and the Harvard School of Design (1954).  Fleming is responsible for a number of design projects in the Ark-La-Tex Region.  Born August 18, 1922 in Natchez, MS, he passed away December 15, 1978.  AIA member from 1956 til his death, Fleming served as the society’s president in 1959.

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I recently mentioned my interest in a couple of collections at the LSU-Shreveport Archives & Special Collections in northwest Louisiana.  The goal was to learn more about the Lambert Landscape Company, which may have played a role in the early development and design of Hodges Gardens.

I connected with head archivist Dr. Laura McLemore, and she was kind enough to preview the collections.  The materials within don’t appear to hold any clues to further my knowledge of Lambert’s role in Hodges Gardens landscape history, but a document I found yesterday helps bring things into perspective.  The image below is a photo of the recently found document—a schedule of introductions from the 1959 grand opening at Hodges Gardens.

The early historians and archivists at Hodges Gardens did an impressive service to the future understanding of this special place. Today, more than 52 years after the printing of this opening ceremony document, this historic landscape research is benefiting from its being saved. This really speaks to the fact that documents and articles of any type and perspective can be helpful resources in historic landscape research (Hodges Foundation Archive).

This document tells me quite a bit.  It’s a list of folks who were recognized for their contribution to the creation of Hodges Gardens.  Donald Bush of Hare & Hare, Marshall & John of Walker & Walker, and construction manager C.B. Byrd are listed, among others.  The Bush/Hare name, however, is the only landscape architect noted.  Obviously, Lambert may still have played an important role, and for some reason or another the group just wasn’t recognized at this event.  While I know Lambert was associated with A.J. as his landscape architect, thus far I’ve only seen this connection in one document: a letter in which a wholesale supplies company representative thanks A.J. Hodges and “[his] landscape architect Mr. Lambert” for their visit to a Tennessee quarry.

In the case of Hodges Gardens, was Lambert primarily serving once or twice as a consultant on construction materials research?  It may be a while before I know the answer to this question, but in the meantime, I think it’s time to press forward.  There’s more to discover and document—for one, a conclusion I’m forming regarding the Garden’s connection with Eugene H. Fleming, III.  For now, Lambert traveled with Hodges to a crab orchard stone quarry in Tennesee (stone of which was not ordered)—beyond that understanding, future research may hold more clarification.

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Exciting news >  I found an updated email address for Eric Brock, Shreveport area author and historic preservation advocate, and was pleasantly met with a prompt reply.   Eric wasn’t sure about the extent of Lambert Landscape Company’s involvement at Hodges Gardens, but he did offer some helpful advice.   Eric noted that Lambert was based in Shreveport until shortly after Gordon Lambert’s death.  According to Lambert’s website, this was around the year 1935; therefore, Lambert was established in Dallas at the time of their association with Hodges Gardens.  (However, based on conversation with another Shreveport individual, it appears that the Lambert company may have had two (2) establishments around this time: one facility that was more of a garden supply store, and one facility that housed the garden/landscape design team.  It is possible that these facilities moved to Dallas at separate times).

Eric also recommended my connecting with the LSUS Archives and Special Collections in Shreveport.  Past NCPTT intern Erin White had recently mentioned LSUS as well, and so I have been in touch with Archivist Dr. Laura McLemore there.  In searching their online index, I discovered yet another potential Hodges Gardens related designer name: Eugene Herbert Fleming, III, architect and AIA member.  LSUS has a Fleming collection called “Eugene H. Fleming, III, Architectural Records, 1952-1962.”  One collection item is titled ‘Hodges Gardens’ and happens to be a photograph of Lookout Tower.  As I’ve found Lookout Tower architectural drawings labeled Walker & Walker, does this suggest Fleming was associated with or a member of the Walker & Walker?  At least one other collection seems to be related to the Hodges Gardens historic landscape research interest.  I’m currently in contact with McLemore to learn more on the nature of these potential items.  As McLemore seems to know a bit about the Lambert company and Fleming, a visit to this LSUS archive may soon be on the schedule.

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HG 6-7-11 DL 61

I’ve yet to hear back from Shreveport’s Eric Brock.  However, the Brock with which I connected and left voice mails may not be the author/preservation advocate Eric Brock I’m seeking.   As mentioned in the About section of the blog, posts are expected to be a mix of both discoveries and hurdles.

In the meantime, I have updated the ExploringHodgesGardens Flickr page, and I would encourage you to check it out.  The above photo is taken from near a large Ginkgo biloba tree on the middle level of the main garden area.  I think it captures a good example of an important element of the main design philosophy employed throughout the Garden, which celebrated existing topographic and drainage patterns to create a rich garden experience.  While the above pool is a 1950s constructed element, it widens and sits realistically below the above slope, which was an element of the early site’s existing conditions.

On the Exploring Hodges Gardens Flickr page, site visit photos are categorized into different sets.  Currently, the sets are arranged by location, and cover the following Hodges Gardens subjects: Visitor Center Facilities, Garden Areas, Administrative Area, Historic Greenhouse Facility, and House Island.  The photos are not necessarily works of art, but rather, are intended to document and present current conditions.  I plan to add more photos and to think of the Flickr page as a Hodges Gardens landscape features collection.  In addition to viewing by individual sets/subjects, it’s also enjoyable to employ the slideshow option.  Just look for the Slideshow button near the Share option on the exploringhodgesgardens photostream.  That’s http://www.flickr.com/photos/exploringhodgesgardens/.

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