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Posts Tagged ‘Lookout Tower’

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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Landscape Literature. Photographing informative posts in the landscape (when available) is a quick way to capture information on specific elements or areas. I tend to do this on most of my trips now when my camera is with me.

Friday, June 17:  Jeff Guin (NCPTT’s Marketing & Public Affairs Manager), Debbie Smith, and I packed a video camera and a couple of digital cameras into the van, and headed to Hodges Garden State Park early Friday morning.

We started in the landscape while the morning was still relatively cool.  Not bad, actually: with a 9am temperature in the low 80’s, and mostly cloudy skies, this was some of the most pleasant daytime weather I had experienced here.  I’m a weather and weather data nerd/enthusiast (meteorology was my career path of choice in elementary school), so these conditions made the day great as soon as we hopped out of the van.  Jeff videoed some landscape elements and views while Debbie and I continued with landscape photography.  The videos were produced as .mts files, which most Windows programs I’m accessing don’t seem to want to manage.  I have been working on converting them to wmv’s, and I hope to share one or two soon here on the blog.

Jeff Guin, NCPTT Marketing & Public Affairs Manager, videoing a waterfall and hillside. Photo credit: Debbie Smith.

Winding path. Pedestrian path through the wood; at edge of hill northeast of the Gift Shop.

Approach to Lookout Tower.

Early morning, Main Gardens.

I worked with a wide angle lens, hoping to capture some more comprehensive shots of the landscape.   I was working with an good quality government camera, but as it was new to me, they turned out a little different than what I was seeing in the viewfinder.   A few are decent though.

After an hour or so in the field, we drove over to the group lodge where the board meeting was being held.  A recently constructed facility, the new lodge sits on the southern banks of the lake, near Flag Island.  Great views of the lake from the back porch.  We met John Byrd, and we were able to share the basics of this project with the group.  The Friends mentioned an individual or two who might be able to assist with the research, and they expressed interest in highlighting this project in the Gardens’ newsletter.

As we planned for the interview, we remembered the Lookout Tower was a pleasant spot on past visits.  We met Mr. Byrd at the Gift Shop and walked to the Tower from there.  Jeff was setting up the video camera and tripod, but we quickly came to the conclusion that the breeze was causing too much disturbance on our audio.  Mr. Byrd suggested a shady area beneath a large ginko tree below us, and this became home base for the next hour of our talk.  Mr. Byrd’s passion for the Garden shined through the entire interview as he shared a variety of topics on the development and cultural significance of the Gardens.  We asked him a few questions here and there, but John’s true love for the park carried the conversation.   I’d like to eventually share a few clips here, but the entire session will surely be an important piece of this garden’s archive material.

Interviewing John Byrd. Involved with Hodges Gardens since childhood, Byrd shared stories from the Gardens' years of development, and commented on the cultural significance of the Gardens. Byrd is a professor at Northwestern State University's Department of Biological Sciences, and he currently serves as president of the Friends of Hodges Gardens. Jeff Guin (NCPTT Marketing & Public Affairs Manager) is with the video camera. Photo credit: Debbie Smith.


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