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Archive for the ‘Designers’ Category

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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The process of reaching the Shreveport area historic preservation planner and consultant is unfolding slowly.  After hearing no reply from my voice mail late last week, I checked back late this morning as well.  If my voice mail reached the correct telephone number, this individual might be able to share some clues on Lambert’s contribution to the Garden design; if this not the correct number, I’ll look for a different route.  I asked that he let me know either way… so that I can progress one way or another.

As mentioned earlier, I have discovered several Hodges Gardens plans which do not credit a designer.  I wonder if the landscape architect from Lambert’s would have known who is responsible for these.  I have documentation of his involvement with Mr. Hodges, but have yet to see his name on any other drawings.  These plans were found rolled in a tube titled ‘Garden Layout’.  Again, established in Shreveport in 1919, Lambert Landscape Company specialized–as they do today–in garden design.  These individually unlabeled Garden Layout drawings are detail plans of a larger, comprehensive garden master plan.   Below are some examples of what I’ve discovered.

Garden Layout drawings container. Several uncredited drawings found in here are detail drawings of a larger, comprehensive garden plan. Hodges Foundation archives.

Example of a Garden Layout detail plan. Hodges Foundation archives.

Comprehensive Garden Plan, undated and uncredited. I have discovered a handful of detail drawings as exhibited in the previous image, which zoom in on specific areas on this map. For reference, the main loop road is highlighted in grey, and passes by the mainland boat dock on the far right side of the image. The Gift Shop and Lookout Tower are highlighted in salmon and appear as the larger and smaller circular areas, respectively. Hodges Foundation archives.

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I think my email to Lambert’s general inquiry address last week may have been routed to their spam inbox, but thankfully, Lara Moffat, Director of Marketing and Recruitment at Dallas’ Lambert Landscape Company, independently found this blog.  Her comment on the below post prompted my contacting her directly, and I received a helpful reply.

Lara mentioned Lambert’s archival records do not go back to 1952, so I asked if she knew any older employees or community members that may have been associated with Lambert’s around that time.  She mentioned contacting a Shreveport historic preservation and planning consultant who is a Centenary College graduate and writer on Shreveport area subjects.  The number I initially tried sounded disconnected, so I have been searching online phone books.  I tried a promising new number today and left a message.  I hope to hear back next week sometime.

Anyway, similar to my intuition, Lara is confident that Hodges Gardens is very likely a past project of the company.  Lara noted Lambert’s early roots through an office and garden center in Shreveport, near the current day Pierremont Mall.

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"...Your Landscape Architect Mr. Lambert" is the text of interest here. See more below. This excerpt comes from a letter addressed to Garden founder A.J. Hodges upon his recent visit with the F. Graham Williams Company. Credit: Hodges Foundation archive.

This letter from F. Graham Williams Company to A.J. Hodges is the source from which the above text detail was excerpted. After visiting a Crab Orchard Stone Company quarry with the above mentioned building supply dealer, Hodges is thanked in this letter. The first paragraph mentions a landscape architect from the Lambert Landscape Company. Though a number of designed features at Hodges Gardens are credited to Hare & Hare Landscape Architects, this is the first I have seen of Lambert's association. Could a Lambert landscape architect be responsible for some un-credited drawings of which I have discovered?

Earlier this summer I spent several hours discovering, uncovering, skimming, and scanning/photographing various archival materials–including original correspondence letters, drawings, sketches, advertisements, photographs, and other publications.  These resources revealed many clues about the history of the Hodges Gardens landscape, including its initial development and evolution over time.  Though state park officials informed me of the architects early on, mid-summer research unveiled that Hare & Hare of Kansas City were the landscape architects that contributed to Hodges Gardens design.

I am aware of a few more than twenty (20) Hare & Hare  drawings, each of which were likely prepared or approved by Mr. Donald Bush (ASLA Fellow; park planning and estate planning specialist at the firm), the landscape architect hired by Hodges and a principal at the firm. However, there are almost as many drawings proposing items like vegetation beds, walkways, and water courses–all of which fail to credit the designer.  This has been a mystery with little to no leads until YESTERDAY…  (I will take another drink of coffee as I hold myself back from linking that all-caps word to the Beatles song video of that title).

As mentioned above, I have uncovered several archival materials, but time has not permitted a thorough review of all items.  In reviewing a letter yesterday, I came across some words of excitement: “your landscape architect Mr. Lambert.”  Whoa.  Excerpted from the images above, this is a letter in which a Crab Orchard sandstone dealer writes Garden founder A.J. Hodges and also thanks his architect and landscape architect.

Again, this is the first I have heard of a Lambert Landscape Company’s association with Hodges Gardens.  A quick internet search brought me to Lambert’s website, which represents this firm which is operating in Dallas, Texas.  Focused on garden design, the group was established in 1919.  A brief history paragraph on the firm’s website notes that Joe and Henry Lambert brought the company from Shreveport to Dallas in 1935, which even more closely roots the firm in this northwest Louisiana area.  Perhaps Lambert’s is responsible for the un-credited drawings or even design elements of which I have yet to locate drawn proposals?  If so, what was the extent, if any, of Lambert’s relationship with Hare & Hare?  These are new, exciting questions.  I sent Lambert’s an email yesterday afternoon.  I’ll keep you posted.

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During the week of July 11-15 I continued field/office research, prepared a lunchtime lecture on my University of Arkansas senior capstone project, and attended the monthly Friends of Hodges Gardens Board Meeting.

Lunchtime Lecture. The National Center for Preservation Technology & Training is hosting a lunchtime lecture series this summer in which interns are invited to share past or current research. I spoke on my University of Arkansas senior capstone project, which included analysis and treatment recommendations on an historic vernacular landscape in eastern Oklahoma. Image credit: Sean Clifford, NCPTT.

I spoke on the Beck Mill Cultural Landscape in my lunchtime lecture hour.  A two semester senior capstone project, I summarized highlights of my research spanning initial site selection through final cultural landscape treatment recommendations and design proposals for an educational center/museum facility.  A multi-disciplinary project of archaeologists, historical architects, conservators, historic preservation consultants, and passionate locals, it was very exciting to contribute from a landscape architecture perspective.  To learn more about the historic Beck-Hildebrand Mill, visit www.thebeckmill.org.

On Friday, July 15 Debbie and I returned to the Garden for the Friends of Hodges Gardens monthly board meeting.  Much has been discovered since our meeting with them in mid-June, so it was exciting to share updates.  We shared the Hare & Hare landscape architecture discovery and also that of increasing interest in Hodges Gardens research, including our conversation with Carol Grove, Ph.D, University of Missouri.   We also mentioned some of the oral history interviews that have occurred.   Finally we discussed a thought on potentially engaging locals on the Gardens’ cultural significance research.  When Addy, Linda, and I recently met, Linda mentioned that many folks have chosen Hodges Gardens as the setting for their wedding engagement photography.  I shared Addy’s suggestion in encouraging photographed individuals/couples to submit a photo or two to a common place.  This was timely discussion as the Board planned to discuss their website design later in the meeting.  Perhaps a photo gallery on the web would be a great storage and display space.  Such an outreach project could help further build the supportive online Hodges Gardens community, as well as document/preserve a local significance aspect of the historical research.

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