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Posts Tagged ‘Carol Grove’

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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With the scans priced at $25 per drawing, it was worth some time to try to locate who might have purchased these previously.

David Boutros at the State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center–Kansas City was really helpful, and we learned that a Raymond Berthelot purchased and received the scanned drawings in 2007.  Ray Berthelot.  Debbie and I immediately recognized this name.  Berthelot was listed on our initial contacts page as Louisiana State Parks’ Chief of Interpretive Services.

Although we initially received Berthelot’s name from Hodges Gardens State Park, we were in the understanding that the only drawings that existed were architectural ones focused on the buildings, and that even these were not purchased due to the expense.   To our pleasant surprise, the drawings were landscape architectural, and were purchased (though still quite pricey).

A quick sketch from my notebook below visually summarizes the following process of discovery:

  1. Receive list of associated persons’ contact information from Hodges Gardens State Park (individuals who might be able to assist with our research).
  2. Search archives and quiz a few of the contact persons (with the exception of Ray Berthelot and two others) on the location of original landscape design drawings or of the landscape architect on record;
  3. Discover Hare & Hare Landscape Architects are credited through a newspaper clipping in the Park archives; contact Carol Grove, person we know currently doing Hare & Hare research.
  4. Carol checks her Hare & Hare database and connects us with a Kansas City research center that appears to house Hodges Gardens landscape drawings.
  5. David Boutros (State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center–Kansas City) informs us that Raymond Berthelot (who happens to be a state park official on our contacts list) purchased and received the scanned drawings in 2007.
  6. Ray Berthelot finds and offers to share the drawings with us.
  7. The drawings are ultimately shared (at an upcoming meeting Tuesday June 28) with Hodges Gardens State Park and us; our research continues, with further direction.

Process sketch. See numbered list above for written account.

Lesson learned through this landscape documentation research episode:  Call ALL persons on initial contact list before diving into research or attempting to chase surface or detailed information.  Although we contacted several folks who shared clues, Raymond Berthelot had the masterplan drawings in his office downriver in Baton Rouge.

Either way, this is very exciting.  These drawings will help immensely as we gain a better understanding of the original designed landscape, and as we form conclusions about the evolution of the recent history of the land.  Ray Berthelot, Kim Kelly, John Byrd, Debbie Smith, perhaps others at NCPTT, and I plan to meet over these scanned drawings Tuesday morning here at NCPTT.

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Hear, hear:  Hare and Hare!

Debbie and I spent Wednesday afternoon in the park archives.  After an exciting morning, we were enthusiastic to find some more clues.  Again, if we could find a name or firm associated with the landscape design on the site, we could define our historic drawings search, and see if any original landscape masterplans existed.  After about an hour and a half of scanning through scrapbooks, Debbie found one of our most exciting Hodges Gardens discoveries: a landscape architecture firm credited with the garden’s design.  Even more significant, the name was Donald Bush, landscape architect (FASLA) with Hare & Hare in Kansas City!

Practicing with a group under the name Ochsner Hare & Hare today, the original firm was a father and son team, established in 1910.  Notable Hare & Hare projects include the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.  Realizing the firm’s connection with Hodges Gardens brings much excitement to the project.

We found this Hare & Hare listing in the middle of a scrapbook, within a clipping from the Shreveport Labor Leader, Winter 1964.  Donald Bush, along with Ralph Reinhart (check that link!), were important partners in the firm during the early and mid 20th century.

Debbie remembered that a colleague of ours from the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation is researching Hare & Hare.  Small world?  Mhmm.

Carol Grove, Adjunct Assistant Professor at University of Missouri—Columbia, was excited to hear of our research.  She checked a comprehensive database of Hare & Hare projects, which indicated that the landscape firm was indeed involved, and that up to 20 or more project files might be available at a Kansas City research center.

After Carol initiated contact with David Boutros at the State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center (Kansas City), we continued conversation.  A phone call revealed that some 25 large drawings and another job file folder was available at the archive—and that a party had requested scans of the drawings back in 2007.  Who was this party, and where are these drawings?!

Newspaper clippings. Skimming for information at the Park's archive.

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