Posts Tagged ‘newspaper clippings’

The next day was a Tuesday.  Debbie and I drove to Hodges Gardens State Park.  We called ahead to make sure Park Manager Kim Kelly could meet, as she is the primary contact for our interest in park archives here at Hodges.  Again, with the southern heat in mind, we departed Natchitoches a little after 7am, and spent the morning photo-documenting the park landscape.

We met Kim in the Gift Shop at 11am and had a brief chat about some of our discoveries in the field.   We then walked through the break room into an office space in the back of the building.  Though we had heard some archives items existed, the amount of material that lay before us was incredible.  Scrapbooks piled up to three or four feet off the ground occupied a shelf on the left wall.  Kim took one book down, and it was full of historic site photographs.  I saw 4 or 5 book-sized scrapbooks, plus several oversized (a foot or so by a couple feet in closed dimensions) scrapbooks.  We opened three or four more, and found several more sections of photographs as well as newspaper clippings.  Slightly overwhelming, but wonderful–and full of so much potential.  Many answers to recent landscape evolution and backing details of certain elements of the significance of Hodges Gardens could be in these books.  Several more hours will likely be spent with these materials.

Scrapbooks at the Park. Here is a sample of some of the awesome scrapbooks at the Park. A.J. Hodges, founder of Hodges Gardens, hired historians to document correspondence and press that dealt with the Gardens.

Hodges Gardens promotional image. An colorful sample from the park archives. Image credit: Hodges Gardens archives.

Illuminating Engineering Society. Another archive sample. We were noting the architect Walker & Walker in the bottom left of the document. As the firm seems to be out of business, we are having trouble contacting anyone from this party. A landscape masterplan from Walker & Walker or someone else could be very beneficial at this time. Image credit: Hodges Gardens archives.

In addition to her showing us the archives, Manager Kim Kelly also shared several contacts with us–folks who might hold clues or have suggestions on where to look for more answers to questions that may arise during the documentation process.   Attempting to plan for the unknown can be overwhelming on complex projects, but this is often the best way to go.  [Here today..not necessarily here tomorrow].  We will continue to consult the list throughout the summer.

To-do List. A list of additional opportunities and tasks that was created in response to the park archives visit.

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