Saturday, June 25, 2005

Landschaft und Gartenkunst: The German Influence in the Development of Landscape Architecture in America by Kurt Culbertson

This is an unpublished history of the German American Contribution to the development of landscape architecture and horticulture in the United States.

By: Kurt Culbertson
Design Workshop Inc.
120 East Main St.
Aspen, CO 81611

"I think we do not accord the Germans sufficient credit for what they have accomplished by their painstaking and invaluable investigations in the interest of plant-knowledge. The ear-splitting terms they have to make use of and contend with! Just think of having to know that the 'Sauerstoffabscheidung' of green plants is an 'ernahrungsvorgang' and that the latter is closely connected with the 'Lichtvermittler Desoxydationsprocess'! Is it any wonder it requires a 'scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge,' to translate a German scientist?"


As a nation of immigrants, Americans take pride in the fact that the successes of our country have been a direct result of contributions of women and men from diverse economic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. It follows from this view of America as a great melting pot that the development of landscape architecture in this country would mirror the development of the country as a whole, with contributions coming from citizens from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Yet much of what we know about the history of the profession in this country is based upon the lives and work of Frederick Law Olmsted and his followers, a group of white men of predominantly English and Protestant heritage. While excellent research in recent years has brought to light the significant contributions of women landscape architects such as Beatrix Farrand [1872-1959], and the Danish-American Jens Jensen [1860-1951], little has been documented about the careers of landscape architects from other cultural backgrounds.
One ethnic group that has failed to receive proper recognition for its contributions to the development of American landscape architecture is the German-Americans. This is ironic in that "historically, Germans were the single largest additive to the melting pot, so that by 1990, nearly one-quarter of Americans identified themselves as being at least part German." Today as many as 58 million Americans consider themselves to be of German descent, outpacing the second largest immigrant group, the Irish, with 39 million. Ranking third are the English with 33 million. It would seem reasonable that the influence of a population internationally known for its horticultural knowledge would be in some proportion to the sheer number of its members.
In determining the nature and magnitude of German influence in the development of American landscape architecture, it was first necessary to define the term German-American. The Society of German-American Studies in the United States defines the German element in America as "the immigrants and their descendants from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and other German-speaking areas of Europe." For purposes of this research, however, a German-American was more narrowly defined as an immigrant to the United States who was born and educated in the German-speaking region of Europe. By this definition, an individual who was born in German territory, immigrated to the United States, yet was not educated in Germany did not qualify as German-American for the purpose of this study. This definition also excluded first or second generation Americans of German descent. While such individuals may have demonstrated principles of German landscape design in their work, it is the author's assumption that, as American natives, the effects of acculturation were well in place.
Such a definition would therefore eliminate such landscape architects as Franz Lipp [1903-1977, principal of Lipp, Peterson, and Wehler, Chicago] Emanuel T. or Emil Mische [1874?-1934], Eda Sutermeister [c. 1879-1929, office of George Kessler, St. Louis, and Hare and Hare, Kansas City], Ernst Herminghaus[1890-1965, private practice, Lincoln, Nebraska], Karl Baptiste Lohmann [1887-1963], Israel Epley Ilgenfritz [1824-1863], and Wilhelm Tyler Miller [ 1869-1938], Arthur Freeman Brinckerhoff [1880-1959], and others whose contributions to the profession were important, yet as first or second generation German-Americans not considered of German influence.
This strict definition of German-American landscape architects may understate the influence of German design ideals on American landscape architecture. In his work on the early architecture of St. Louis, Charles Savage has pointed out that in that city, even second-generation German-Americans looked to the fatherland for design ideas and inspiration. A similar relationship no doubt existed with landscape architects as well.
Defining the German-speaking region of Europe is also difficult. German territorial expansion has created a constantly shifting map of Europe. For the purpose of this study the boundaries of the German Confederation of 1815 were utilized, as well as the country of Switzerland, to define the German-speaking region of Europe. This includes the Polish territories of Pomerania and Silesia, all of present-day Austria and Germany, Bohemia and Moravia in the present Czech republic, and Luxembourg. The Alsace-Lorraine region of France, which at various times in its history was German territory, was also included [See Illustration 1].
Finally, the definition of a landscape architect is challenging. In this research, material was gathered on landscape architects, landscape gardeners, horticulturists, nurserymen, seeds men, foresters, landscape engineers, and park superintendents. In some cases, architects such as Herman J. Schwarzmann [1843-1891], the Philadelphia architect who served as chief engineer of Fairmount Park and architect-in-chief of the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition, were also included because of their design of built landscapes. A determination of an individual's role as a designer of landscapes, therefore, must be made on a case-by-case basis.
This broader definition was chosen for this study, in part because the term landscape architect did not commonly occur in use in the United States (or for that matter anywhere in the world) until after the design of Central Park in New York City by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1858, and more particularly when it appeared in an official government document regarding the park in May 1863. Prior to that time and for some time afterward, designers of landscapes presented themselves under a wide variety of titles.
At the outset of this research, a general literature review was conducted of books and periodicals in the Garden History Library at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., the Francis Loeb Library at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the Hochschule für Kunst in Berlin that dealt with German and American landscape architectural history from 1492 to 1993. Periodicals and other publications were searched for references to landscape architecture, horticulture, and forestry developments in the German-speaking region of Europe. Evidence of correspondence and other communication, it was reasoned, demonstrated that Americans were at least to some degree aware of German thought on these subjects.
Secondly, a list was made of individuals found in the literature whose surnames appeared to be of German derivation. Secondary sources were then identified for each individual in order to confirm their German heritage and education, as well as to learn about their lives and careers. These sources were established by correspondence with libraries, historical societies, park boards, and other individuals and organizations in the communities where the landscape architects lived and worked.
Finally, a review was made of the predominant German and Austrian periodicals of the period: Die Gartenkunst, Die Gartenwelt, Gartenflora, Moller's Deutsche Garten Zeitung, and Gartenflora, Wiener Illustrierte Garten-Zeitung, Österreichische Garten-Zeitung, for references to American landscape architects or garden practices. The first five periodicals were the major German, the latter two were the major Austrian garden magazines of general circulation published during the last half of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century.
Until recently, the contributions of individuals such as George Kessler [1862-1923] and Adolf Strauch [1822-1883] have been largely overlooked. For example, although Norman Newton gives considerable notice to the career of Swiss-American Jacob Weidermann [1829-1893] in his book Design on the Land, he cites Kessler's illustrious career only twice and fails to mention Strauch at all.
But Kessler and Strauch were not alone as forgotten German-American landscape architects. Recent research [Culbertson, 1991 ] has identified over 100 landscape architects, gardeners, foresters and nursery men of Germanic heritage that have made a significant contribution to the development of American landscape architecture in the form of built works and publications [See Appendix]. This book, which offers the first major effort to chronicle the contribution of German-Americans to the development of American landscape architecture, and attempts to answer several questions:
How did German landscape design differ from that of other European countries and, more importantly, how did these differences manifest themselves in the works of German-Americans?
Was the contribution of German-Americans to the development of landscape architecture fundamentally different from that of individuals from England, France and other countries?
Did the work of German-American landscape architects have a significant effect upon the form of major American cities?
There were no German-Americans among the original founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Could Germans-Americans have formed their own parallel professional societies?
In pursuing answers to these questions, this research covered the period from the first major German immigration in 1680 until the close of the First World War in 1918, when the existence of a distinctly German culture in America became less pronounced.
Germans were among the first immigrants to the American colonies. These new settlers spread across the country finding homes and bringing their cultural traditions to every region of the country. Hundreds of American communities bear German place names. Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and North Dakota, have towns and cities named Berlin. Bremen can be found in Ohio, Indiana, and Georgia. In Stuttgart, Arkansas, Luzerne, Michigan, Zurich, Montana, Wickenburg, Arizona, Weimar, Texas, Walsenburg, Colorado, Allemands, Louisiana, and other settlements around the country, Germans made their mark on the new land.
The settlement patterns of immigrant populations to America were by some reports predicated on the landscapes they found in the New World and the similarity to their homeland in Germany. It was said that the location of the German farmers of the 18th century could be compared to a geological map. German farmers followed the limestone formations, common in the fatherland. "First, they filled in the Limestone Island adjacent to Philadelphia, in Lancaster and Berks counties; then they crossed the Blue Ridge into the Great Valley, floored with limestone. This valley is marked by the cities of Easton, Bethlehem, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, etc. Following it towards the southwest along the trough between the hills, they crossed the Potomac into Central Maryland, and by 1732 following the same formation they began to occupy the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia."
In 1909, Albert Bernhardt Faust in his book The German Element in the United States observed that this pattern continued into every new territory, such as Kentucky where Germans settled the Bluegrass Region in large numbers during and after the Revolutionary War. Settlers sought soil conditions for agriculture that were similar to the conditions they found at home. In Pennsylvania counties where both Irish and German settlers lived, Faust contended, the Germans were most numerous where limestone appeared and the Irish on the slate formations. It was Faust’s contention that both immigrant groups sought landscape types with which they were familiar, "the Irish taking land well-watered near the big rivers, and the Germans, with a better eye to good land, choosing that on which there grew big trees, such as oaks, a sure sign of good land. . .The Scotch-Irish would select well-watered meadow land, such as they had been brought up on in Ulster County in the north of Ireland; the Germans would prefer undulating country of rich forest growth; like that of the Rhenish Palatinate. This principle of selecting land similar to that which was found good at home prevailed even on a second and third choice. Remarkable instances of the choice of a farm or homestead almost identical in appearance with the one owned by them in the original locality have occurred in the case of families who have migrated farther and farther westward, generation after generation. As for the Germans of the 18th century, it happened that the best land they found and that also which was most similar to the Palatinate, their native country, was included in the limestone areas. In Wisconsin the German immigrants of the 19th century showed good judgment in their selection of the heavily wooded districts, those being sure indications to them of good soil."
If Faust’s contention is correct, it seems that while settlers sought a new life in America, they often chose to model this new life after what was comfortable and familiar in the Old World. Clearly, German settlers in Ohio, Missouri, the Piedmont of North Carolina, and the Hill Country of Texas were apparently following the pattern observed by Faust. If settlers followed the ways of the old country in the development of the agricultural landscape of German settlements, it was likely also true of the designed landscapes they created in their cities and villages.
That the Germans sought to recreate familiar patterns is not surprising. Sociologists refer to these patterns of behavior as folkways. The term was coined by American sociologist William Graham to describe habitual "usages, manners, customs, mores, and morals" which he believed to be practiced more or less unconsciously in every culture. "Men begin with acts," Sumner wrote, "not with thoughts." In his book, Albion’s Seed, David Hackett Fischer explored the folkways of English immigrants to the Americas and defined the term in a somewhat different way. Unlike Sumner, Fischer believes that folkways are not primarily biological or instinctual in origin but social and intellectual. Folkways, according to Fischer were apt to be cultural artifacts, the conscious instrument of human will and purpose, and often the deliberate contrivance of a cultural elite. Fischer described a number of types of folkways such as characteristic patterns of dress and speech; social ways, including patterns of migration, settlement, association, and affiliations, building ways, including the form of both vernacular and high architecture and sports ways, including attitudes toward recreation and leisure. These folkways shaped the form of parks, gardens, and other designed landscapes in the New World.
As did the Germans, English settlers sought to re-create patterns from their homeland in the New World. "For a very long time, the Chesapeake colonists thought of themselves as Englishmen apart from England – cultural exiles in a distant land. They often referred to their nation as "the mother country," in maternal terms that implied a warm, nurturing, affective relationship – a very different idea from the Roman "patria" or the German "fatherland."" Fischer described the attitudes of Virginia gentlemen in the late 1800s as being quite similar to that of English gentlemen of the period: "They care little for foreigners, but scoff and laugh at them." The correspondence of prominent Virginians of the period spoke ill of the French, Germans, Dutch, Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians, Roman Catholics, Calvanists, Puritans, Quakers, and dissenters of every stripe."
If the gentry of Virginia viewed foreigners, including the Germans, in this way, the same was perhaps even truer of the puritans of New England. "Having compared the fundamental differences between the German element and the descendants of the New England colonists, historian Frederick Jackson Turner concluded that friction was inevitable because both groups were attempting to win the same territory. Conflict resulted because the Germans introduced customs such as beer drinking and an enjoyable use of the Sabbath and because they supported social reform and resorted to political action – all of which offended New England traditions."
"Nothing could be more diametrically opposed to the Puritan way of life, from whose perspective the German philosophy should not even have been legally tolerated. Puritan restrictiveness was equally unacceptable to the Germans. It was over this way-of-life, that they clashed. . ."
Folkways, contends Fischer are "highly persistent" but not static, evolving and growing stronger rather than weaker in the modern world. Differing folkways between English and German immigrants shaped the physical form of the communities they founded and the conflicting views of landscape designers well into the 20th century. But over the centuries national and international events would preclude the complete creation of a true "New England," or as the English feared, a "New Germany" in America. "If there had been no hindrance to the process, each group might well have recreated English, Dutch, German, Swedish, and other landscapes as extensions of the Old World over large portions of eastern America. But complete replication over large areas for most groups was not to be. For one thing, colonization by most nationalities never approached the population levels, speed, and capitalization needed to shape the land thoroughly in their culture’s image." Nonetheless, German design traditions were particularly strong in those cities and regions with high concentrations of German-Americans.
Apparently the German immigrants took great pride in their agricultural skill and enjoyed comparing their success to other immigrant populations. Faust took great pride in pointing out that of the "farm-homes" recorded in the 1900 Census, Germans owned 522,252. This number was "almost three times as many as the next largest foreign element, viz., that of Great Britain, and almost as many as the number of farm-homes owned by the next three most successful foreign elements added together, Great Britain, 183,157, Ireland, 176,968, and Scandinavia, 174,694."
Faust went on to claim that not only were the Germans the most numerous farmers in the United States but also the best. "The historian Lamprecht, of the University of Leipzig, said that during his trip to the United States he had seen but two well-cultivated areas, Pennsylvania and Utah, the result of religious enthusiasm on the one hand, of German nationality on the other. But when measured by European standards, he declares there is but one well-cultivated area, and that is Pennsylvania. Still he was filled with admiration as he passed through Wisconsin, from Chicago to Milwaukee . . .In the prettiest parts it seems as if we had come into a land such as the German farmer might dream of: an improved Germany, a region of which the poet had a foreboding when he said, ‘And like a garden was the land to look upon.’ Such is the land of the German farmer, the land of German industry." Not only did the various immigrant groups have different preferences for landscapes when choosing their town sites and farmland, but they also clearly maintain a great deal of cultural pride and competitive spirit. It was this spirit of pride and competition that would shape the debate of landscape design through much of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
German immigrants were noted for their education. "The Germans brought culture in varied forms, from singing groups to vineyards to poetry societies. Some German railway workers could recite Homer in Greek." Turner acknowledged the Germans’ powerful impetus to music and the arts. Surely such a large and educated population would have contributed to the design arts as it did in other cultural endeavors.
To date, no comprehensive review of the history of landscape design education in Germany has been prepared by German scholars. Nor could such a review be reasonably undertaken within the scope of this research. What is known, however, is that many of the German-American landscape architects were schooled in the royal palace gardens and pleasure parks of their fatherland. In some circumstances, they were second, third, or fourth generation Hofgärtner (house gardener) for a particular property.
Educated as professional landscape gardeners, these German-Americans were different from many early practitioners in the United States who either were self-taught or entered the profession of landscape architecture from civil engineering, architecture, or another allied profession.
Not only were many of the German gardeners that immigrated to America professionally trained such as Strauch, Weidenmann, and Kessler, but the nature of the design theories and traditions in which they were trained were different from that of their counterparts from England and other European countries. German landscape design, though influenced by English, French, Dutch, and Italian garden traditions was, nonetheless, a product of German culture, history, and environment. Richardson Wright offers this description of German landscape design in the late 18th century: "Among the garden architects working at this time in Germany, four rose to fame - Pigage, Petri, Zepher, and Sckell. In the 1870s Sckell had studied at Versailles, the Tuileries and in England. He came back to Germany thoroughly saturated in the Romantic tradition. Assisted by Pigage, he worked on the gardens of Schwetzinger near Heidelberg. He was connected also with the Nymphenberg gardens and those at Baden-Baden."
"In these German interpretations of the picturesque garden, the influence of classicism was often far more pronounced than that found in English or French gardens. Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau, for example, after studying gardens in England, returned at the tender age of twenty-three to start transforming his place at Wörlitz. At the moment the cultured world was thrilled over the archaeological discoveries of Winckelmann in Italy, so the young prince must have some of the archaeology in his garden. Consequently we find that he had a Roman pergola, a Greek theatre, a Blue Grotto like the one at Capri and a realistic fire-belching volcano symbolizing Vesuvius that overcame Pompeii and Herculaneum. The place also abounded with water - a lake and creeks and inlets. It likewise had its Ile de Peupliers." Other gardens of the period were filled with Chinese gardens, a holy grave, hermitages, Indian pagodas, Druid caves, churches, medieval castles, and even miniature towns for dwarves.
Wright would go on to say: "The movement in Germany had its poets and essayists - Mayer and Hirschfield and Goethe particularly. Johann Procopius Mayer, a Bohemian botanist, in 1776 published his Pomona Franconica, which, though a botanical work, sought to defend Germany from the inroads of English naturalism. A Professor of Philosophy at Keil and a popular painter by avocation, Christian Hirschfeld directed popular attention toward garden design and the technique of gardening in Observations on Garden Art, 1773, Theory of Horticulture, 1775, and the five-volume work, The History and Theory of Horticulture, 1779. Due to his influence and to the influence of Sprengel, Goethe displayed an intense interest in botany, and his place at Weimar was laid out as an English park."
Certainly there were numerous "Englischer Garten" built in Germany during this period, though Dieter Hennebo contends that the movement away from strictly classical design schemes at the end of the 18th century toward more "intimacy, for individual liberty, and for diversity in both form and content, as well as for 'naturalness' was not simply mimicry of English styles but rather the independent result of contemporary striving for variety and for the effects of nature, and therefore arose from other motivations than the English garden".
Hennebo also points to the rapidly growing interest in the middle of the 18th century in the scientific or botanical aspects of plants. The scientific approach to horticulture was a hallmark of German landscape design. Charles Mulford Robinson observed that, "in Germany, therefore, civic art takes on something of the thoroughness and exhaustiveness of German science."
This emphasis on professionalism led to the creation of the Gärtnerlehranstalt, the professional school of landscape gardening that had been founded by the great German landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenne [1789-1866] in Potsdam and Schöneberg. It was here that George Kessler received a portion of his training. The legislation required to establish Lenne's school was passed on September 27, 1823. The four-year program of study at the Gärtnerlehranstalt envisioned three levels of education, the highest of which was called the Gartenkünstler or garden artist. Lenne's program called for a student to receive both practical doctrine and theoretical instruction. Students desiring a university degree would also have to complete an additional three years of study.
In 1854 the practical portion of the program was shortened to two years. Around the turn of the 19th century, a renewed attempt was made to create a university level course in landscape design. The relocation of the school to Dahlem, near Berlin, provided the opportunity to define the program as a university-level curriculum, a professional academy, a technical college, or a simple school for gardeners. The debate centered around the issue of whether the attendees of the school were trainees presented with a limited range of specialized courses designed to prepare them for a particular career or whether they were students in the true sense of the word, exposed to a broad range of both generalized and specialized subjects. Proponents of the latter approach argued that students thus exposed to a broad range of studies could enter and in fact define new professional fields in response to changing social and scientific conditions. Advocates of the professional training prevailed.
German landscape architectural education through the remaining years of the 19th century and the early years of 20th century would be the focus of continued debate. Three professional associations in Germany entered the discussions. Members of the Bund Deutscher Landschaftsarchitekten (BDLA) saw themselves primarily as artists and opposed the creation of a university program in landscape architecture. The BDLA felt that art and science were fundamentally incompatible. Their fear was that garden architecture would be degraded to a science with solutions manufactured according to scientific principles rather than through intuition and talent. The VDG that was closely associated with the Duetches Gesellschaft für Gartenkunst (DGfGK) was comprised in large measure members of the governmental garden administrations. This group favored the creation of a scientifically based university program.
While Germany had created schools of landscape gardening seventy-eight years before the first American school was established at Harvard University in 1901, landscape architecture education in Germany would lag behind Americans for the first half of the 20th century. The first university level program in landscape architecture would not be established in Germany until 1952. The decline in communication between German and American landscape architects after the First and Second World Wars could have been in some measure the result of the lack of a university level program in Germany. Nonetheless, in the 19th century Germany provided many of the first professionally trained landscape architects in America.
The Germans strength and emphasis on scientific horticultural and engineering knowledge might lead one to believe that their function as landscape designers was more as technicians rather than theorists. The writings of landscape architects during the period, however, make it clear that they were aware of the distinctions:
"It is not assailing the competency of grower, gardener, or horticulturalist to claim disaster for this method, for the following reasons, plainly put by Mr. George Kessler, the well-known landscape architect of St. Louis: ‘The difference of viewpoint between the landscape architect and the nurseryman is fundamental. The latters’ aim is to produce and sell plants of exceptional novelty, individual excellence, and perfection of form and growth. He puts little value on uncultivated, unimproved varieties and forms, concentrates his attention upon the individual plant, and wishes to display it to its best advantage . . . The result is generally the opposite of that striven for by the landscape architect, . . . the whole planting arrangement – its scale and mass – is seriously affected by the tendency to lose sight of the harmony of form, texture, color, and mass – the landscape architect’s objective.’ "
Earnest A. Bauman would go on to cite the benefits of both theory and practice:
"It appears to be the belief of many professing to be landscape-gardeners, that the reading about the subject, or the accumulating of designs for laying out places, will make them able to do the thing the right way; but this is not so, unless combined with great practical experience, which alone enables them to understand the theories of good writers. Besides this, a thorough knowledge of practical gardening is necessary, as also of the trees, shrubs, and plants suitable for use, and their cultivation.
Without a full understanding of the theory, which can only be obtained by long practice, reading, even of the best books, will teach very little; most of them affording very little practical information.
Without a complete practice, and without the knowledge of trees and shrubs, theory will never be applied in the right way.
Practice alone, without theory, may perhaps better enable a person to work to good advantage, if he follows a sort of routine by copying other plans; but will only succeed where the new field to be laid out offers some analogy with some other, the arrangements of which may be more or less imitated.
A theorist, without the knowledge of the material to be employed - I mean trees and shrubs, and ignorance of the way to handle them will not even to able to imitate others.
Roads, drives, and walks, the laying-out of which must certainly be understood by the landscape-gardener, are not exactly in the line of the art; but their location is certainly so.
You can find plenty of intelligent workmen who comprehend the grading, and who can establish roads and drives by themselves as well as under the guidance of so-called artists.
The staking-out of roads and drives, as aforesaid, requires the practice of the landscape-gardener: but the rules are not exactly positive; and, if the workman himself cannot do it, many a gentleman with some judgment and taste, by considering the locality closely, will accomplish it to his satisfaction."
Theory and practice must, in the view of the Germans, go hand in hand. It was not uncommon, therefore, for the German landscape architect in America to be both designer and administrator of the work. Jacob Wiedenmann in Hartford, Theodore Wirth in Minneapolis, Frederick Nussbaumer in St. Paul, and George Kessler in Kansas City were all park superintendents. In the 19th century, however, this was a far different role than we might observe today. Whereas today the position of superintendent is largely administrative, in their time these individuals were equally involved in the design of landscapes, civil works, and even park architecture. Though criticized by their English counterparts for not devoting themselves exclusively to design, their job responsibilities were equivalent to those of a Hofgärtner, a role they had learned in the fatherland.
Germans were among the first European immigrants to this country, many coming as Hessian soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Among these immigrants were gardeners, seeds men, and nurserymen. In 1677, William Penn, after a journey to Holland, proceeded to Germany where he visited several villages along the Rhine. On August 23, he reached Kreigsheim, where he met men who later became members of the German Company and a few who became settlers in his new commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Near Philadelphia, German immigrant, Francis Daniel Pastorius from Crefeld, Germany, acquired land from Penn and on October 14, 1683, laid out Germantown, Pennsylvania. Pastorius was an industrious person who possessed a love of gardening. He brought from Germany a selection of grape cuttings and immediately set out to create some of the earliest vineyards in the colonies and to cultivate a garden.
Although the settlers of Germantown were not agriculturists, they did possess a love of flowers. Gradually the Germantown road from Philadelphia was lined with gardens. "On a Sunday the whole road is covered with the wagons and carriages of the pleasure-loving Philadelphians."
In 1761, Germantown sent one of its garden enthusiasts, Adam Kuhn, to study under the famous horticulturist Linnaeus in Sweden. On his return he taught botany in Philadelphia College, later the University of Philadelphia.
The beautiful gardens of Germantown attracted international attention. "Germantown is a place which every foreigner interested in American trees should visit, as the people of that particular suburb one hundred years ago were particularly interested in the introduction and cultivation of rare trees, and the first cultivated specimens of several American trees were planted there and may still be seen."
The village produced a number of gardeners, both of English and German descent. One of the most famous was a German doctor, Christopher Witt. Witt was a physician and avid gardener, who in 1718 created on 125 acres in Germantown, Pennsylvania, what is considered to be the second garden in America for the study of plants. Witt was a disciple of Johannes Kelpius, The Hermit of the Wissahickon, who had planted the first botanical garden in America.
Other Germantown gardeners included Christian Lehman who started one of the earliest nurseries in the colonies, and Martin Baumann, a native of Alsace, who was a graduate of the school of gardening of Württemberg. Baumann was one of the first professional landscape gardeners to come to America. Following Baumann, Henry C. Witemate, an educated German, who came to this country and first established a nursery at Tacony, and in 1848, came to Germantown and located a nursery there.
The Baumanns were a famous family of nurserymen and gardeners from Bollwiller in the Alsace region of France. They were one of many Swiss families who settled in Alsace following the Thirty Years War. A marquis of Bollwiller, Reihhold Rosen, was born in Dornach, Switzerland, in 1624 and later and studied with a famous gardener in Holland. In 1718, the marquis, was forced to retire from the Army and pursued his interest in horticulture on his lands in Bollwiller. John Baumann assisted him. Baumann had gained a reputation for his agricultural experience and botanical knowledge. In 1731, the marquis in gratitude for his loyal service granted Baumann’s son, John-Jean, a substantial tract of land. It is reported that the nurseries John-Jean Baumann developed in 1750 were the first major tree nurseries in Europe. A catalog published by John Baumann in 1784 is considered an important document in the history of arboriculture in Europe. From this location, the family exported plants to Scandinavia and Russia.
In 1785, Marshal Broglie, the King of France, named Joseph Baumann mayor of Bollwiller and awarded him the Order of Lys. Under the reign of Louis XIV, the nurseries developed further. By 1830, the family had over seventy acres in cultivation in Bollwiller and Hartsmannswiller and employed 100 to 200 workers. The family exported plants throughout Europe and their reputation spread as far as to India and Japan. Expeditions served to expand the nurseries’ stock with poplars from Canada and red oaks from America.
Joseph Bernard Baumann, born in 1776, studied horticulture in the gardens of the Grand Duchy in Karlsruhe, then at the botanical gardens in Berlin. His son, Charles was noted for his research and writing on camellias. Another son traveled through Hungary studying roses and was adopted for a time by a Bohemian tribe. A third traveled to India and retrieved the Nepal Eisbeerbaum which was also cultivated at the Bollwiller nurseries. These giant trees still stand in the Pulversheim forest of the city.
The family’s reputation earned awards from the Agricultural Society in 1822, from Queen Victoria in 1859, and the Emperor Napoleon in 1860. Throughout the 19th century, the family provided head gardeners to many of the principalities of Europe.
Another Germantown gardener was Frederick Pursh. Pursh was born in Tobolsk in Siberia, in 1774 of German parentage. He was educated in Dresden, and came to America in 1799, establishing himself in Philadelphia. Pursh managed the gardens of William Hamilton called the Woodlands. In 1807, Pursh took charge of Elgin Gardens, the botanic garden that David Hosack had formed in New York. Pursh studied, described, and drew the plants collected by Lewis and Clark upon their return from the far West. In 1814Pursh published his book, Flora Americae Septentrionalis, A Systematic Arrangement of the Plants of North America.
It was David Hosack's early botanical garden in New York that Frederick Law Olmsted admired and to which he recommended the young George Kessler in 1880. In addition to Pursh's work at Elgin Gardens and the Spring Grove landscape cemetery design of Adolf Strauch, Frederick Law Olmsted's career was influenced by a host of other German garden designers and writers.
"And then, around 1740, for the first time in the American colonies, settlers began arriving from the European continent, speaking languages other than English. Overwhelmingly, these new non-English migrants were German and Swiss pietists from the upper Rhine. By that time, however, the immediate outskirts of Philadelphia had already been occupied by immigrants from England and Wales, so the Germans leapfrogged beyond them to the West, and settled in the rich Peidmont land that stretches from Allentown to Reading to Landcaster to York, a region that today constitutes the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) country."
There were other German gardeners in the Philadelphia area at this time. Christian Eisele created a beautiful garden at Upper Tioga. Eisele worked for Henry A. Dreer, the great German nursery and seed house in Philadelphia, founded in 1838. A local nurseryman and gardener, W.G. Eisele, designed the original gardens of the Hubert Parsons estate in West Long Branch, New Jersey, "Shadowlawn." It is likely that a third nurseryman, Jacob Eisele was related to Christian and W. G. Eisele.
As the Germans moved west from Philadelphia they settled in the lands in and around Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. "A religious-communistic colony known as the Rappists, Harmonists, or Economists, founded a colony in Butler County, Pennsylvania, in 1804, to which they gave the name Harmony. George Rapp had organized the society in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1878. Possessions were held in common; they believed in the second coming of Christ, and celibacy was the rule of the organization. This Society was interested in agriculture, horticulture, botany, and to a lesser extent in other natural sciences. These interests, by the way, like those of the Shakers and several other religious organizations of this period, were fostered by the food habits of the members; all were vegetarians.
John Melish, an Englishman, visited Harmony in 1811, and in his Travels in the United States of America gives an account of how the Harmonists were then living. In particular, he describes the gardens, speaking of the labyrinth as a "most elegant flower-garden, with various hedge rows disposed in such a manner as to puzzle people in getting into the temple, emblematic of Harmony." The botanic garden he found ‘well stored with plants and herbs.’ There was, also "an elegant collection of plants, all natives of Harmony, carefully arranged according to the Lineaen system."
In 1814 the colony moved to New Harmony, Posey County, Indiana, where work with gardening and botany was continued., The Rappists, however, remained in charge only ten years. The property was then sold to Robert Owen, and the original colony returned to Pennsylvania, where they remained in the settlement of Economy, near Pittsburgh, until late in the century. Here, too, the settlers were interested in botany and horticulture. The Rappist imported to their settlement in Indiana many European plants, especially fruits, and, after the early French, planted the first orchard in the Middle West. In particular they experimented with European grapes, which, as in all other such ventures, failed.
In New England, George Huessler [1751-1817] of Salem, Massachusetts, was one of the first landscape gardeners in the country. Huessler was born in Landau, Alsace and emigrated from Amsterdam to Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1780. The earliest professional landscape gardener known to have practiced on the North Shore of Massachusetts and one of the earliest in the country, Huessler cultivated gardens in Essex County until his death in 1817. Huessler's first American employer, John Tracy, hired him to improve the garden developed by his father Patrick Tracy in Newburyport.
The Tracy family suffered financial difficulties in 1790 and Huessler was relieved of his duties. Moving to Salem, Massachusetts, he worked for Elias Hasket Derby, allegedly America's first millionaire. Here it is believed that Huessler maintained the Derby conservatory "filled with rare exotics" and developed the formal gardens of Derby's home overlooking Salem harbor. Historian Margaret Moore has theorized that Heussler met architect Samuel McIntire while in Salem and collaborated on the design of the exterior space around McIntire's Adamesque structures. Huessler also designed other gardens for the Derby family, including Derby farm in Danvers, Massachusetts, Southfields in Salem, and Glen Magna for Joseph Peabody in Danvers.
"Heussler practiced his art at a time when Essex County, Massachusetts, was a recognized seat of power and wealth in America. It is interesting to note that, in several of his gardens, Heussler combined the prevailing formal style with romantic embellishments . . .While Andre Parmentier and others were introducing "natural" landscape ideas to America through their work in the Hudson River Valley, Heussler was transplanting romantic European images - the hermitage, dome, and turf arbor, etc. - to Massachusetts."
In Baltimore, German immigrants were among the first nurserymen and seed merchants in the colony. Philip Walter arrived in the city in 1786, setting up shop near the busy Market House at the foot of Belvedere, the elegant estate of Colonel John Eager Howard. Walter advertised in Baltimore in the spring of 1787. Though he presented himself as a seeds man and nurseryman, he concentrated on selling primarily orchard trees. His career ended abruptly in 1807 when he was robbed and murdered at his nursery on Hookstown road.
Maximillian Henisler, an immigrant from Munich, Bavaria, settled in the Baltimore area around 1793, selling plants and seeds from his forty-acre nursery on Philadelphia Road. One contemporary considered Heuisler to be the best professional gardener in Baltimore at the end of the 18th century.
German-American landscape gardeners were also active during the earliest years of the southern colonies of Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas as well. A November 14, 1788, entry in the diary of George Washington states: "Mr. Wilming, the German gentleman above mentioned . . . offered to engage a Gardener for me and send him in a ship from Bremen . . .he is to be a compleat Kitchen Gardener with a competent knowledge of flowers and a Green House."
The principal industry of the Georgia colony was the raising of silk and wine, and therefore, one of the first acts of the new settlers was the establishment of a public garden in 1733. Five years later, 116 German servants were sent to General Oglethorpe with "four Heads to be employed in the public Gardens under the care of Joseph B. Walker."
German immigrants influenced garden design in the Carolinas as well. The Unitas Fratrum (Unity of Brethren) was one of the earliest Protestant groups, formed originally in Bohemia in 1457, and renewed in Herrnhut, Germany in the early 18th century. In 1735, the first group of Moravian settlers came to Savannah, Georgia. Five years later, another group founded Bethlehem, Pennsyslvania.
In 1753, a group of fifteen Protestant immigrants arrived from Moravia via Pennsylvania and began settling a 100,000-acre tract of land in what was then the wilderness of Piedmont, North Carolina (what is now Winston-Salem). That year, Bethabara became the first settlement in Wachovia, as the tract was known. Here the brethren established two community gardens: the Upland Garden and the Medical Garden (Hortus Medicus). Among these settlers were Jacob Lung, a gardener by trade, and four others with some farming experience. In addition to turnips, corn, pumpkins, beans, and other vegetables, the Moravians also established a small orchard.
Another settler was Christian Gottlieb Reuter (1717-1777). Reuter was commissioned as a Royal Surveyor in Europe before he came to America. Although he was not a botanist, he apparently was knowledgeable of the plant material of Europe. The early Moravians established their village according to the plan of Oeconomie, a system of common housekeeping and community interest. Reuter drew plans of the two Bethabara gardens and kept detailed records of the vegetables, flowers, trees, and shrubs found in the gardens. His compiled list of plant materials was divided into the following categories: "In the Vegetable Garden," "Flowers," in the medicinal garden," "Field Crops," and "Cultivated Fruit Trees and Shrubs Brought Here." His 1759 plan of the Upland Garden was accompanied by a plant list, as was his 1761 plan for the Medical Garden. In addition, Reuter's 1760 booklet for the land register and 1764 survey notes further documented the horticultural efforts of the Moravian settlers. Samuel Kramsch (1758-1824) a Moravian minister compiled lists of the plants of the Salem area in 1789-91 that noted the introduced plants of the region. Another Moravian minister and internationally-known botanist, Lewis David von Schweinitz (1780-1834) prepared "Flora Salemitana," an extensive inventory of 165 flora, during his stay in the town from 1812 to 1821.
The Moravians grew primarily the vegetables, herbs, flowers, and field crops of Europe during their first ten years in North Carolina, as these were known to them in the Old World. They also grew some New World plants during this period such as Irish potatoes, corn, pumpkins, tobacco, beans, Spanish peppers, sunflowers, and nasturtiums, as these had been introduced to Europe by the Spanish during the 16th and 17th century. Gourds, mushmellons, and sweet potatoes were apparently new to Reuter. Squash was grown by the Moravians in their first garden in 1754 but was not listed in Reuter’s compilation.
The gardens of Salem, North Carolina, were intended to provide sustenance to their owners. However, the need for food did not discourage early residents from enjoying flowers. Daffodils, amaranthus, cockscomb, China or Indian pinks, and clove pinks were mentioned in early records. Roses, lilacs, and snowball bushes were also grown. The only early pleasure ground was that of the Girls Boarding School started in 1804. Here each girl was provided with a plot of land where they could experiment at will. The first garden solely for flowers is not mentioned in town records until 1848 when Luncinda Bagge asked permission to lay out a separate flower garden at her home on Church Street. Augustus Staub asked permission to rent land beyond Salem Creek to start a tree nursery and "to cultivate flowers of various kinds, etc." in 1850. Local gardens were also known to have included summerhouses and cedar arbors for the enjoyment of residents.
Thirteen years later, Salem was started as the central town of the settlement. At this time, the principles of communal economy and community gardening were dropped. Settlers established not grand pleasure grounds but rather small utilitarian family gardens in the rear of their homes. The gardens were laid out in rectangular plots called "squares" and were often terraced to respond to the sloping topography of the town. A traveler to the area in 1791 wrote: "The sight of this little settlement of Moravians is highly curious and interesting . . .The first view of the town is romantic . . . it is pleasantly seated on a rising ground, and is surrounded by beautiful meadows, well-cultivated fields, and shady woods . . .Every house has its garden."
"In early Salem, herbs, vegetables, and flowers were grown together. Today, every effort is made to follow these old patterns, using antique varieties of plants. Fruit trees are planted as they once were, along fence lines and in orchards. Gooseberries and currants mark corners of garden squares. Grapes, gourds, hop vines, and native clematis hang on fences. Roses, snowball bushes, and lilacs are tucked in garden corners.
Native trees that once grew in Salem have been replanted, following early lists of Moravian botanists. Fringetree, dogwood, black haw, hawthorn, and chackasaw plum bloom in the soft spring air. Pawpaw, hazelnut, spicewood, and sourwood flourish in the meadows. In fall, the yellow of tulip trees and the red and gold of maples glow against the blue October skies."
Extensive Moravian records provided documentation of an extensive restoration effort of Old Salem gardens beginning in 1972-73. The restoration has made Old Salem a center of Southern horticultural history and provides an accurate picture of early horticulture in the South.
Further West in Cincinnati, Ohio, German gardeners shaped the character of the city. One was Frederick Facorn whose small garden on Front Street was filled with fruit trees, notably plums, and a few vines. Martin Baum was a gardener of some note in the period around 1815. His beautiful home on Pike Street contained an ornamented garden and a vineyard. Baum lost his home in the Panic of 1819, and Nicholas Longworth bought the place from the Branch Bank of the United States. Under Longworth’s ownership the property became a showplace in Cincinnati.
Individuals such as Pastorius, Lehman, Pursh, and Huessler, were among the first known German gardeners in America. Many more were to follow, however, as political unrest and economic turmoil in Germany accelerated immigration to the United States in the second half of the 19th century.
The greatest period of German immigration to the United States occurred during the decades just before and following 1848, when political unrest in Germany hastened the exodus to the new land. There were many reasons for this migration. Poor economic conditions encouraged Germans of all economic classes to make a new start in America. The religious persecution of Confessional Lutherans in the 1820s and the authoritarian government in Germany also contributed. Princes who refused to be bound by democratic constitutions headed the German states. Demonstrations and uprisings in the 1820s and 1830s led to all out revolution in 1848. Immigrants during this period became known as 48ers because of this common desire to escape the political conflict. During the period from 1850 until the First World War, ships from Hamburg and Bremen arrived with great regularity in the American ports of New York, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Galveston, and New Orleans. Other German immigrants came aboard ships that had sailed from other European ports such as La Havre or London. Members of a wide variety of professions, including merchants, cigar makers, grocers, weavers, shoemakers, millers, farmers. brewers, nailsmiths, teachers, and servants were represented among the new arrivals. Not the least among this number were gardeners.
During this period, many of the Germans settled in the Midwest with "a great majority concentrated in a belt which begins in Pennsylvania and runs west through Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakotas. It was the natural thing for the German to choose his home in these and other states north of the Mason-Dixon line. The South would be ruled out of the thinking of many a German as a possible place of residence during this period, because there he would have to compete with slave labor, and on the land market he would be in competition with wealthy plantation owners. Furthermore, he was unfamiliar with the raising of cotton and torrid summers of our Southern states; and if he sought employment in industry, there would be little opportunity for such in the South since the South was not industrialized.
Some of the German immigrants found homes in the East. There industrial development undoubtedly absorbed some of the German laborers, and it was easy to settle near the port of entry. But the East was unsatisfactory to many of the Germans because it no longer offered the possibility of a quick return in investment, nor did it have good land for sale at a relatively low price. Besides this, there were thousands of native Americans leaving the East to seek their fortune in the newer Western states, and this must have been observed by the German immigrant.
In the Midwest the German immigrant found what he was searching for: work and land. Compared with other regions the land was still cheap and in many instances the immigrant could buy directly from the government land office. The Midwest was developing rapidly, and artisans, skilled workers, professional men, and laborers were in demand. In addition, most crops cultivated in the Midwest were familiar to the German; therefore, no fundamental reorientation was required on his part."
Ship logs of the period demonstrate this pattern. Of those ship logs from German ports to America from the earliest years of settlement to the First World War over 300 individuals identified themselves as gardeners. Only a fraction of these records has been transcribed thus far. The total number of German gardeners who emigrated to the United States would undoubtedly have been much larger as other German gardeners clearly emigrated from other European ports as well. What can be observed from this pattern is that German gardeners came from many towns and cities and scattered themselves across the country, either settling near their port of entry or traveling to the cities of great German population in the Midwest.
These German gardeners not only carried with them the folkways of the fatherland, but they continued to look to Europe for much of their inspiration. In those American cities which developed large German-American populations, such as St. Louis, Chicago, and Milwaukee, architects of German descent, looked more to German periodicals and critics for inspirations that to American or English sources and even formed informal professional societies. Michael Conzen has argued, "In a few instances the ethnic presence in some cities was dominant enough to influence the great public architecture of the city at large. Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, San Antonio, and St. Louis contained sizable German populations throughout the second half of the 19th century that easily infiltrated or even defined the business and cultural elite. Thus, talented architects of German extraction would gain commissions for major buildings in town, and through interest in both traditional designs from their homeland as well as the modern design theories flowing from Germany at the time--particularly with regard to romantic revival --did much to give the public landscape of these cities a decidedly Germanic caste." David Lowe has stated that "There can be no doubt that this vast Rhinelander migration contributed a great deal to the love of rough stone walls, heavy arches, and towers which became a hallmark of Chicago and other Midwestern centers. "
As building design was influenced by German traditions, so was landscape architecture. Conzen again points out that "there are not a few small parks in Milwaukee-innocent-looking municipal green spaces today - that had boisterous, music-filled careers as private beer gardens up to Prohibition!" Milwaukee was but one midwestern city in which German-Americans created parks and gardens. In 1889, The Pabst Brewing Company opened the Whitefish Bay Resort as a summertime outlet for their beer. The park boasted a Ferris wheel, beer garden and other amusements to attract patrons, who were brought to the site via trolley car. The Whitefish Bay Resort was located near the present 5200 block of North Lake Drive. In 1890, Captain Fred Pabst purchased the Milwaukee Shooting Club’s park at Third and Burleigh Streets with the intention of making it into an amusement park for families. Pabst added a 15,000-foot long roller coaster, a fun house, and a dance hall. Band concerts were held every afternoon and evening during the summer.
In Cleveland, Haltnorth’s Gardens at the corner of Woodland and Willson (East 55th Avenue) Avenues was a popular German beer garden in which Clevelanders could enjoy a picnic or an evening of beer and opera. The gardens had been established by Frederick Haltworth (1825-1882), a native of Desson, Germany, who came to America in 1849. A "high whitewashed wooden fence" surrounded the garden where a rustic bridge crossed a pond on the grounds. From June through September, a stock company managed by Charles L. LeMarche presented light opera in the covered theatre to 600-800 patrons. Although the Haltnorth’s of the 1880s and 1890s was apparently a pleasant, relaxing place, according to the Cleveland Leader, a major proponent of temperance, it was a different place in the 1860s and 1870s. The Leader reported in 1863 that the beer garden, located on Kinsman Street at the time, was "a gathering place for thieves, pickpockets, prostitutes, and shoulder hitters, and was the greatest nuisance the city had ever faced." Attempts were made to prevent the streetcars from running there on Sunday in order to hold business and sin there to a minimum. Where the Leader’s concerns were grounded in fact or in differing attitudes about alcohol and Sunday relaxation is not known. By 1867, it had become a gathering place for a variety of social organizations with a variety of special meetings and celebrations held there, including concerts by German singing societies and other musical groups. In 1872 it had moved to the Woodland and Willson location and by 1905 it had become the Coliseum Theater.
The Great Migration brought a new generation of landscape gardeners from Germany to America, some of whom were members of the same German-American gardening families that had settled in America in colonial times. These landscape gardeners could be found throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the Carolinas. It is likely that Eugene Achilles Baumann, designer of Llewelyn Park in Orange, New Jersey, was a relative of Martin Baumann in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Eugene Baumann, a son of Joseph Bernard Baumann, was born on January 12, 1817, in Bollwiller, France. Like his father he studied at the Grand Ducal Gardens in Karlsruhe. He married Sophie Marguerite Loehr on June 29, 1843, in Mulhouse, France. Eugene and his family came to the United States aboard the Lochnivar in 1854 and for several years worked on projects around the East Coast. One of these projects was Central Park which began construction in New York City in 1858. By 1863 he was serving as Superintendent of Plantings. During his career, Baumann’s work was featured in the American Agriculturalis.
The couple had six children but only two, their sons Ernest and Camille, were alive when they came to the United States in 1859. The family lived for several years in New York City and Morrisania, New York. Baumann was one of the unsuccessful contenders in the Central Park competition in 1857 [resolve date of their arrival]. Through his time in the city, however, he developed a relationship with Calvert Vaux, Olmsted’s partner in the design of Central Park. In 1859, he collaborated with Vaux on the design of a grand villa for Federico Barreda, a Peruvian merchant who controlled the import of guano to the United States. Barreda was originally from Spain but had made his fortune in Peru and the United States and owned homes in New York and Newport. The villa, now known as Beaulieu, a name given to it by subsequent owners who included William Waldorf Astor and Grace Wilson Vanderbilt, was located on a site overlooking the sea. Jacob Weidenmann said of Baumann’s design in his book Beautifying Country Homes, "The terraces around the mansion and the parterre between them and the sea are very happy combinations of the natural and artificial style of landscape gardening, and reflect great credit upon the excellent taste of Mr. Eugene A. Baumann, the landscape artist who designed and partly superintended the layout out of the grounds, and Mr. Calvert Vaux, the eminent architect of this princely residence." Although Baumann’s design has been modified over the years, "in Barreda’s day, a curving roadway led from the entrance on Bellevue Avenue to the semicircular gravel area that set off the towered entrance to the house. Footpaths also threaded their way along the borders of the grounds to a terrace at the back of the property. Here, behind the safety of a stone balustrade, on land that Baumann had raised 14 feet above the grade of the lawn, Barreda’s guests could admire the cliffs and sea below. Some little way back from this viewing terrace stood Vaux’s splendid house, which fully lived up to the expectations of the site."
Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Rahway, New Jersey, where Eugene began his nurseries in 1865. His son, Camille Eugene, and his descendants continued to operate the nursery. The nursery closed in the mid-1970s.
Augustin Baumann, Eugene’s uncle, married Thomasine Hillenmeyer in France. His brother-in-law, Francis Xaxier Hillenmeyer [ ], worked for the Baumann Brothers as an apprentice in nursery work, greenhouse management, and landscape gardening. Upon completing his apprenticeship in 1836, Francis came to America. He first visited the Philadelphia area, and then traveled to east Texas where he served in the Army of the Republic of Texas under President Sam Houston. Having finished his tour of duty he spent a period in Savannah, Georgia, where he completed the design and construction of a park in the city. From Savannah, Hillenmeyer traveled to Lexington where he settled on Spurr Road just north of the city (a site immediately adjacent to Linlee School). Returning to France he was married in July 1840. He purchased his first nursery stock from Baumann Brothers in October of that year. In the spring of 1841, the first shipment of small fruit trees marked the opening of the nursery. In 1846 he purchased twenty acres of land that was part of Sanders Garden, owned by Colonel Lewis Sanders, son-in-law of George Nichols, Dean of Law at Transylvania University and author of the Constitution of Kentucky. The nurseries continue to operate to this day, six generations after their founding.
In Nashville, Tennessee, Adolphus Heiman, the son of the superintendent of Sans Souci, designed in 1852 a home for Adelicia Acklen and her second husband, Joseph. The estate, known as Belmont, is quite complex in the German style of the times, with many garden buildings and statues, fountains, and conservatories. The rectangular garden is bounded on four sides by streets. On the outskirts is a picturesque park and near the Italianate house is a formal garden. Eight greenhouses provided a wide range of specimen plants. The five summerhouses included an art gallery, a bowling alley, and a bearhouse. The garden also included six fountains and a zoological garden as well.
Heinrich Adolph Engelhardt [1830-1897] immigrated to Baltimore in 1851, after his military service in Germany. He was born in Mühlhausen in 1830 and trained as a civil engineer. In 1851 he immigrated to Baltimore and became landscape gardener of important cemeteries in Richmond, Virginia, and Raleigh, North Carolina. Engelhardt was also said to have worked for a time in New York apparently working on the construction of Central Park. In 1870 he relocated to Toronto, Canada, where he designed the Belleville and Mount Pleasant Cemeteries as well as the Union Cemetery and Town Park in Port Hope. Engelhardt served as superintendent of Mount Pleasant through 1888. He also designed the grounds of the Deaf and Dumb Institution in Belleville (now the Sir James Whitney Regional School for the Hearing Handicapped) and the Ontario Institution for the Education of the Blind in Brantford. Engelhardt wrote the first book on landscape design published in Canada, The Beauties of Nature Combined with Art Engelhardt died in 1897.
In Baltimore, Augustus Faul also contributed to the development of Druid Hill Park. An Augustus Faul was listed in the 1850 Federal Census for Maryland as residing in the Tenth Ward of the city. According to the National Register of Historical Places, Howard Daniels and George A. Frederick are listed as the designers, though as superintendent of the park, Faul was likely a major contributor. Faul prepared a map in 1852 entitled Revised Location of the Boundary Avenues of Baltimore and also served as cartographer for A Topographic Map of the Swann Lake And Aqueduct of the Baltimore City Water Works, 1862. Faul served as General Superintendent and Engineer for Public Parks in Baltimore until his death in 1884.
In the early 1850s Wilhelm Christian Bischoff [1791-1881] came to Savannah to visit his daughter Juliana. Bischoff was born on April 13, 1797, in Homborg, Rheinfalz, Germany. He was third in a line of Royal Court Gardeners at Nymphenburg Palace near Munich. Upon his father's retirement in 1821, Wilhelm assumed the position that he held until his retirement in 1852. While in Savannah, he received a commission to design the newly created Forsyth Park. Forsyth Park was "the first major park in Savannah. . . [and] expanded the idea of urban open space beyond the squares incorporated into Savannah's original city plan." In History of Savannah, Georgia, the park was described as "one of the most beautiful parks in the United States . . . its greatest charm being its modesty, simplicity, and the unique conservation of the native forest pine." Although he spent time in his native Germany, Bischoff remained in the United States. He bought a farm outside of Savannah where he established a nursery, tree farm, and agricultural school. Bischoff died in Bavaria on February 17, 1881.
Bischoff was not the only German landscape designer active in Georgia at this time. Ignaze [sp] A. Pilate [sp] billed Miss Sarah Cummings of Augusta $15.00 on May 16, 1856, for preparation of a plan for her garden on The Sand Hills. Only the intricate pattern of the central flowerbed remains of Pilate's plan for what is now known as the Cumming-Langdon Place. Pilat would later appear as the chief of landscape for the development of Central Park in New York City.
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Francis Xavier Berthold Frosch [ ] was in active practice in the second half of the 19th century. In addition to Manning’s mention, it is known that in 1900, the Pittsburgh Architectural Club exhibited three plans by Frosch (sometimes spelled Froesch) at its annual exhibition. One of these was a plan for Friendship Park, another for Holiday Park on Mount Washington, and the third a proposed plan for Highland Park. Parks director Edward Begelow credits Frosch for the design in his annual reports. In 1879 the city fathers of Pittsburgh decided that the land was high enough for the location of a reservoir. In September 1889, a city ordinance established the park. Alexander Negley originally settled the site in 1788. Negley had been given the land by George Washington. Negley’s great grandson, Casper Negley, sold the property to the city. The park grew in size through acquisition efforts by Edward Bigelow, the city’s director of public works in the late 1800s. The city zoo was established in the northwestern corner of the property in 1895. Highland Park, formally opened in 1896, features a grand formal entrance that included a formal garden, fountain, and a reflecting pond with limestone border. Frosch lived in Pittsburgh’s Morningside neighborhood. His home still stands today.
Another product of the Great Migration, George Ellwanger [1816-1890] settled in Rochester, New York, where German-Americans would make a major impact on the horticultural and landscape development of the city. Ellwanger was one of ten children born to a vintner and farmer in Gross Heppach, Germany. After four years of apprenticeship with a horticultural establishment in Stuttgart, Ellwanger came to Rochester where he found employment with the Reyholds and Bateman Nursery.
Upon the dissolution of that nursery in 1838, Ellwanger purchased the establishment and eight acres on Mount Hope Avenue. In 1840, he established, with twenty-four-year-old Irish immigrant Patrick Barry [1816-1890], the Mount Hope Botanical and Pomological Gardens. From 1840 until 1918, Ellwanger and Barry enjoyed a reputation as the greatest nurserymen in North America. Liberty Hyde Bailey, horticulture professor at Cornell, and Charles Sprague Sargent, superintendent of the Arnold Arboretum, were regular visitors. At its height in 1870, Mount Hope totaled 500 acres with 30,000 square feet of greenhouses and more than eighty percent of its sales to the international market. The firm of Ellwanger and Barry provided what landscape architect Fletcher Steele would call "venerable rare plants that would bejewel arboretums."
Ellwanger and Barry also brought other immigrants to work in their nursery. One such individual was George Wamser, who emigrated with his wife Marget from Baden sometime between 1858 and 1860. Wamser, who was born in 1820 appears in the 1860 Rochester census, and served as a nurseryman and gardener for the firm.
Due largely to Ellwanger's efforts, Rochester became known as the Flower City with over sixty commercial operations including many by German-Americans, such as, Herricks and Germania. Catalogs were printed in both English and German for distribution. Lithographers and printers catering to the nursery business flourished, making Rochester a center for the printing of horticultural catalogues and books.
Elsewhere in upstate New York, other Germans were active. On the banks of the Hudson River, Hans Jacob Ehlers [1804-1858] and his son Louis Augustus Ehlers [1835-1911] designed the gardens of the Vanderbilt Mansion. Hans Jacob was born in the Duchy of Schleswig, Denmark. A graduate of the Forestry Institute in Kiel, Ehlers served until 1841 as director of the institute's forest arboretum. In that year this position and the joint appointment he held as assistant to the Forestry Board were terminated.
About 1842, Ehlers immigrated to the United States where he was responsible for a number of significant projects in the Hudson River Valley including designs for the grounds of Rokeby, the country estate of William B. Astor in Barrytown, New York. Other projects included plans for "Steen Valetje" the country home of Franklin H. Delano in Barrytown, and an arboretum at Montgomery Place in Annandale, New York. Ehlers is also said to have designed the initial layout of "Ferncliff" in Rhinebeck, New York.
In 1852, Ehlers became involved in a disagreement with Thomas Pennant Barton concerning his fee for designing the Montgomery Place arboretum. Barton's requested Andrew Jackson Downing to arbitrate the dispute. Downing included his criticism of Ehler's work in an appendix "Note on Professional Quackery" that was published in the second edition of his A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening. Although he did not mention Ehlers by name, Downing criticized him as "a foreign soi-disant landscape gardener" who had "completely spoiled the simply grand beauty of a fine river residence, by cutting up the breadth of a fine lawn with a ridiculous effort at what he considered a very charming arrangement of walks and groups of trees. In this case he only followed a mode sufficiently common and appropriate in a level inland country, like that of Germany, from whence he introduced it, but entirely out of keeping with the bold and lake-like features of the landscape which he thus made discordant." In his 1852 booklet Defence Against Abuse and Slander with Some Strictures on Mr. Downing's Book on Landscape Gardening, Ehlers defended his design of the Montgomery Place arboretum and Downing's criticism of another pre-1844 Ehlers design.
Whether the long-running feud between Downing and Ehlers was a simple personality conflict or an aesthetic disagreement one can only speculate. Perhaps Downing's reference to the German mode displays a more deep-seated ethnic conflict.
Hans Jacob Ehlers’ son, Louis Augustus, came to the United States with his father around 1842 and after spending his early years in New York City, settled in Duchess County, New York. The details of his education are unknown, though he presumably learned landscape gardening from his father. Although Hans Jacob was said to have done the initial designs for Ferncliff, Louis Augustus was apparently responsible for its long-term development. Louis Augustus also prepared updated plans for Rokeby and Steen Valetje, and for his own home Clifton Point (later named Marienruh) in Rhinebeck, New York. He also prepared a design for Oak Terrace (also known as Oak Lawn), the home of Valentine Hall in Tivoli, New York.
In his History of Duchess County (1882), James H. Smith would say of Ehlers, "Mr. [Louis] Ehlers is a landscape gardener and rural architect, the results of whose handiwork and genius are to be seen at many points along the Hudson . . .and whose work has also extended to many parts of the States of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Connecticut." Louis Ehlers died in his home Chateau de Bonair in Saugerties, New York, on February 15, 1911.
Another German gardener was active in the Hudson River valley. At Lyndhurst, Ferdinand Mangold [1828-1905], served for forty-one years as estate gardener . Like Eugene Baumann, Mangold was a former court gardener at Karlsruhe, Germany. Mangold immigrated to the United States in 1852, working first for General Mansfield Bradhurst at Carmansville, New York, and later for Brown Lewis in eastern Westchester County.
At Ithaca, New York where Liberty Hyde Bailey directed the horticulture department, the horticultural faculty was composed in large measure of German-Americans: G.N. Laumann [], Ernest Lodeman [1867-1896], Arnold V. Stubenrauch [], Alfred Rehder [], and K.M. Weigand []. Bernard Fertow [1851-1923], established the Forestry School at Cornell, the first professional school of forestry in the United States. It is quite possible that these men contributed to the growth and development of the school's fine landscape architecture program as well.
Germans in New York contributed to the development of horticulture and landscape architecture in the United States in other ways as well. The firms of August Roelker and Sons and August Rhotert and Sons, both of New York City, were major importers of horticultural supplies. Stump and Walker, J.M. Thorburn and Company (of which Bruggerhof held a controlling interest) and Weeber and Don, all of New York City were major seed producers. The Frankenbach Nurseries has operated for generations at 125 Halsey, Southampton, New York.

The Ellwanger and Barry nursery of Rochester was extremely important in spreading professional horticulture and landscape design westward. George Ellwanger traveled the countryside, collected plant material and even opened nurseries in Toronto, Canada, and Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio.
In communities like Cincinnati, Ellwanger found other German-Americans anxious to utilize his quality products. One of these clients was Andrew Ernst [1796-1861], president of the Ohio Pomological Society and a founder of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society. Ernst established Spring Garden, one of the earliest and best nurseries in Ohio. He was also a director of Spring Grove Cemetery, the lifeworks of Adolph Strauch.
In 1855, Adolph Strauch [1822-1883] became superintendent of Spring Grove Cemetery. Strauch was born in Eckersdorf near Glatz in the Prussian province of Silesia, on August 30, 1822. Because Strauch's father was manager of the model farm of Count Magnis in Silesia, the family lived in the chateau of the count. Following graduation from the gymnasium in Birez, Strauch chose the profession of landscape gardening. Upon the recommendation of Count Magnis, he traveled to Vienna in 1838 where he studied for six years at Schönbrunn and Laxenburg. Here he met Prince Hermann Ludwig Heinrich Fürst von Pückler-Muskau. The prince presented Strauch with copies of his Andeutungen über Landschaftsgärtnerei (Notes on Landscape Gardening) and a copy of his Briefe eines Verstorbenen (Letters of a Defunct), which became among Strauch's most highly prized possessions. The two men would correspond and remain friends until the prince's death in 1871.
Following the advice of Pückler-Muskau, Strauch traveled through Germany, Holland, and Belgium, visiting Berlin, Hamburg, The Hague, and Amsterdam. In Ghent he was engaged about three months in the arbor and floricultural gardens of Louis van Houtte. From Ghent he traveled to Paris. Here he remained until the outbreak of the revolution in 1848, when he crossed the English Channel to England. In London, Strauch obtained a position in the Royal Botanical Gardens at Regents Park until 1851, where he had a chance meeting with a Cincinnati merchant, Robert B. Bowler.
By November of 1851, Strauch arrived in Galveston, Texas, to begin his tour of the American Southwest. After seeing the hill country of Texas, Strauch landed in Cincinnati where he renewed his acquaintance with Bowler. At the urging of Bowler, Strauch remained in Cincinnati where he designed the home grounds of Bowler's estate, Mount Storm, as well as the properties of Henry Probasco, William C. Neff, the Resor home, and two residences for the Shoenberger residence.
On October 8, 1854, Adolph Strauch was retained as landscape gardener for Spring Grove cemetery in Cincinnati, a project that would become his life work. Here he introduced a new concept of cemetery design, introducing what has become known as the lawn plan. He re-routed roads to follow natural contours of the land and encouraged lot owners to authorize removal of fences and hedgerows from around gravesites. Strauch created numerous lakes around the grounds, complete with islands and footbridges. Many of the native trees of the property were preserved, and hundreds of botanical varieties from around the world were planted. Sanctuaries were designed beside lakes to create a protected woodland area for domestic and imported species of birds.
Strauch's design for Spring Grove would become a model for cemetery and park design throughout the nation. In August 1869, the city park commission retained Strauch's services to lay out Eden Park in the city. Strauch created the long winding roadways and magnificent groves of the park. In later years he also assisted in the design of the Cincinnati Zoo, the Greenlawn Cemetery in Hamilton, Ohio, and the cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut.
It was also to Adolph Strauch’s friend, Andrew Ernst, that Gottlieb Maximillan Kern in 1855 dedicated his book Practical Landscape Gardening with Reference to the Improvement of Rural Residences. In its day, Kern's book was greatly praised by Olmsted. Kern [c.1830-1915] was born in Tübingen, Germany. After studies there, where his uncle was a professor of botany, Kern worked as a gardener at the royal gardens in Stuttgart. The royal gardens consisted of the Reosenstein Park laid out in the English style by the Italian Giovanni Salucci in 1820, the Schloss garden, and the Italian Renaissance style Villa Berg. Kern later served on the landscape staff of the Tuileries in Paris.
Between his departure from Paris during the revolution of 1848 and his arrival in St. Louis in 1864, there is little known of his whereabouts. He reputedly worked at Spring Grove Cemetery perhaps with Adolph Strauch. However, no record of Kern’s residence in the city has been found in cemetery records, city directories, or other sources.
In 1892, Kern was retained by the park board of Toledo, Ohio, as superintendent of the city's parks. Here he remained until 1895 when funds for his salary gave out. During his term in office each morning in the Nashby Building he drew plans for the city's parks. He transformed Ketchan's farm and the site of the Old House of Refuge into Ottawa and Walbridge parks. At Walbridge Park, Kern created walks, flower beds, and three bridges, as well as beginning the city's zoological garden. He directed the expansion and improvement of Riverside, Collins Park, City Park (where he added a miniature lake and enlarged the fountain), Central Grove [now Willys Park], and Navarre Park as well. He prepared plans for Toledo's Bayside and other parks. Before his departure from Toledo, Kern recommended acquisition of 150 acres on the bay shore known as Guion Park. Kern felt the tract was "destined by nature and the aquatic surroundings to become in the fullness of time, the most attractive park in Toledo." It was this site, renamed Bay View in 1898 that George Kessler would plan as the site for the 1903 Ohio Centennial Exposition.
There were other German landscape gardeners in Ohio as well. In Cleveland, the Germans began to emigrate in 1830, "settling along Lorain Street on the West Side, and in the vicinity of Superior and Garden streets to the east. They were industrious folk, skilled in their trades. Many of them were political refugees, bringing with them a background of the cultural arts. Among the earliest families were the Shiele, a family of gardeners. During the industrial age, "the flourishing village center at St. Clair and Doan Street was surrounded by truck farms operated by Germans, who hauled their produce to the city and returned with loads of manure from the Central Market horse barns. In time, the St. Clair horse car line was extended in the form of a horse-drawn truck, which was stored in favor of a canvas-covered sled when deep snow fell. Glenville residents could board the Ashtabula accommodation train at Coit Station to reach Cleveland at a quicker pace. The rustic community attracted wealthy Clevelanders to a summer playground for sportsmen and their families. Fast horses made the Glenville trotting track the most famous in the country. For almost four decades, Glenville was the gayest community in the Cleveland environs – "the garden spot of Cuyahoga County."
Germans became vintners with hundred of acres of grapes occupying the ridges around the city. Surrounding the city were also the geometric patterns of truck gardens, orchards, and vineyards. "Collamer district became the largest shipping point for grapes in the United States, closely followed by Dover, Ohio, the second largest.
In 1892, the city’s first park department was launched. Although E. W. Bowditch, a Boston landscape architect was hired to begin the plan for the Cleveland Park system, a new Department of Forestry and Nurseries was also established with Michael H. Horvath (sometime referred to as M. U. Horvath) retained as the city’s first forester. "Cleveland’s claim as the Forest City was waning, and a new effort to save trees was launched." Horvath was trained in Europe as a landscape engineer and spent eleven years developing the Cleveland park system. On June 29, 1910, he announced an initiative to plant Buckeye trees throughout Cleveland in honor of the Buckeye state.
In nearby Mentor, Ohio, Horvath in 1914 established nurseries at the old Munson house on Jackson Street near Heisley Road. Here he became nationally known for the development of new plant species. These included many roses including Climbing Rose Thor, Dooryard Rose, Mabelle Stearns, Buff King, Federation, Meda, Mrs. M. H. Horvath, and Polaris. Horvath never marketed the plants from his 13 ½ -acre plot to the general public but rather apparently utilized them in his own garden designs. Horvath also designed many gardens in the state including two great ones in Cleveland Heights for J.L Severence, and his sister, Mrs. F.F. Prentiss. Horvath collaborated with Warren Manning on the design of the Prentiss Garden.
Mentor, Ohio became a center for the nursery business in Ohio and indeed the United States. Populated by Dutch nurserymen such as bulb producer Jan Jacobus "Jack" Grullemans and Gerard K. Klyn, and Italians such as Nick Castello, the city also had a substantial number of Germans as well. In addition to Michael Horvath, other Germans established nurseries. Christopher Merkel who came from Germany in 1866 and Philip Hagenburger who was engaged by the Lake Shore Railroad Company to determine a suitable location for greenhouses in 1887. From a roadside stand in 1916, Elmer Schultz founded Wayside Gardens, at its height one of the largest nurseries in the world. In 1946, Schultz would also found Springbrook Gardens which is still in operation today. Merkel, Hagenburger, and Schultz were not trained horticulturalists or landscape gardeners but the strength of their business operations does speak to the contribution of the German community to landscape development in the Cleveland area.
In Dayton, Ohio, on November 23, 1866, German immigrant Georg Siebenthaler [1810-1900], purchased for $2,000 a plot of eight acres at Catalpa Drive and what is now Siebenthaler Avenue. Siebenthaler had come to the United States at the age of 21, settling first in Cincinnati. Born in Rheinfalz, Germany, Siebenthaler had been an outstanding student, worked as a weaver, and "played the violin with considerable joy and proficiency." The Siebenthaler Nursery was formally organized in 1870 and continues in operation today. George died at the age of 89 at the home of John, one of his fourteen children. John’s seven children in turn continued to run the business. Two of them earned degrees in landscape architecture.
In the early years, the Siebenthaler Nursery specialized in fruit trees and grapes. Grape cuttings were exchanged with Nicholas Longworth of Cincinnati with over sixty varieties offered. In 1888, grape vines sold for 3 ½ cents, gooseberries for 3 cents. Fruit tree prices ranged from 3 ½ cents for quinces, 4 cents for peaches and pears, 4 ½ cents for apples, 5 cents for cherries and persimmons, and 6 cents for apricots. A few evergreens were available for 12 ½ cents. And black maples (5 cents), Osage orange (6 cents), and catalpa (15 cents) were among the shade trees offered.
Customers were encouraged to plant their own trees: "Plant a tree, and above all, plant it yourself. . . Never mind if you do get a few blisters, ruin a shoe polish, and perhaps spoil several dollars worth of clothing and linen. You’ll never forget ‘your’ tree, and if you move many miles from your old homesite, when you journey back, ‘your’ tree will be sure to welcome you."
Other Dayton, Ohio, nurserymen included W.F. Heikes, who founded his nursery at Rung at Tate’s Road [1822], Louis Ritz of Sans Souci Nursery, Nicholas Ohmer at Floral Hill and Lunatic Asylum Road near Dayton [b.?-d.1889], and Charles Reeser of Innisfallen Nurseries. A grower of fruit trees and berries, Ohmer had helped to found the Montgomery County Horticultural Society. He was serving as president of the society at the time of his death.
Andrew Ernst, Charles Reamilin, and other members of the Cincinnati horticultural community were in communication with another German-American in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. George Engelmann. The school at Shaw's Garden, as it was then known, had been established by Engelmann [1809-1884], a German-American physician and one of the greatest American horticulturists. Engelmann had been born in Frankfurt am Main in 1809. He came to America in 1832 settling first in Belleville, Illinois, and eventually in St. Louis. In addition to his medical practice, Engelmann was an avid botanist who started the first botanical garden in the city. Engelmann's school at Shaw's Garden educated a number of second generation German-Americans including Henry Nehrling,August Meyer, Eda Sutermeister, and Emil Mische.
Engelmann also played a key role in the development of the Missouri Botanical Garden, "in the second half of the nineteenth century, the ...most important and best-known garden west of the East Coast. Its importance as a major scientific establishment also made it the botanical gateway to the West.
Though originally laid out by Henry Shaw and fellow Englishman, James Gurney, Shaw’s Garden was maintained in large measure by Bohemian laborers. John Bannes, "a Bohemian with a drill sargeant’s approach to troops, supervised the main gardens and Arboretum"around 1906. August Koch supervised the main conservatory. Both Koch and Bannes lived in homes built by Shaw at Tower Grove and Flad. In the 1920’s Joseph Cutak, was in charge of exotic plant materials. Cutak was a native of Moravia and had worked as a gardener at Schönbrunn before coming to St. Louis in 1912. He won admiration as "one of the oldest and most beloved members of the Garden staff." Lars Peter Jensen served as arborist at the garden during the 1920s. A former gardener to Adolphus Busch at Tower Grove in St. Louis, Jensen tested over 450 species of pine, spruce, and juniper from North America, Europe, and Asia, at the garden.
Engelmann was noted for his research on grapes, as was another Missourian, George Husmann [1827-1902], founder in 1858 of Husmann and Manwaring (Charles) in Hermann, Missouri. In addition to being perhaps the most important plant men in the Midwest, Husmann also published extensively on grape cultivation. Following Nicholas Longworth of Cincinnati, he was the second person to turn American grapes into American wine. With Charles Reamilin in Ohio and Charles Reisinger in New York, the American wine industry owes much of its origins to its German Americans. Husmann was born on November 4, 1827, at Meyenberg near Bremen, Germany. At the age of eight, he emigrated with his family to the United States, settling in Hermann, Missouri, in 1851.
Hermann, Missouri, retains its German character today perhaps more than any other city in America, earning its reputation as "Little Germany on the Missouri." As an overwhelmingly German town, Husmann was not the only German gardener in Hermann. Carl Gottlieb "Charles" Teubner [1808-1851], a native of Saxony, arrived in Hermann in 1847 and established the first reliable nursery in Missouri.
In 1872, Husmann and Teubner moved to Sedalia, Missouri and opened a nursery there. Pastor Friedrich Münch [1799-1881] settled in the vicinity of Gottfried Duden’s former home in nearby Warren County and earned acclaim for his gardening skills. Austrian Isidor Bush [1822-1898] established Bushberg Nursery in St. Louis in 1865. Dr. Frederick Hexamer [1833-1909] of Heidelberg also entered the nursery business in Hermann. Hexamer would receive recognition in American Garden and American Agriculture and Agriculturalist. Christoph Kemper and Edward were also Hermann nurserymen. Other vintners include Jacob Faith, August Langerdoerfer, Franz Jacob Langerdoerfer, T. V. Munson, Michael Poeschel, Will Poeschel, G. C. Riefenstahl, Jacob Rommel, Julius Ruediger, and Hans Widersprecher. Samuel Miller formerly of Calmdale, Pennsylvania, was another nurseryman who had a vineyard across the river at Bluffton, Missouri. Together these gentlemen formed a Gartenverein, perhaps the first professional organization in the United States devoted to vinticulture.
Husmann was a founding member of the Missouri Horticultural Society and with Parker Earle founed the Mississippi Horticultural Society. He was the author of three books on winemaking and in 1878 was appointed Professor of Pomology and Forestry at the State University of Missouri. In 1881, Husmann resigned this post to accept the management of the J.W. Simonton Estate, the Talcoa Vineyards in Napa County, California. His California wines earned twenty medals at the Paris Exposition of the period.
In January 1850, thirty year old Eduard C. Krausnick [1820-1889] immigrated from Berlin to St. Louis landing in New Orleans via the Bark Leontine from Bremen. On the passenger list he was listed as a gardener. Krausnick had been born in Potsdam. Krausnick’s father, Henrich Wilhelm, had been mayor of Berlin from 1834 to 1861, except for the period from 1848 to 1851. The German Revolution of March 1848 interrupted his continuous term of service. This probably explains why he came to the United States with his son.
By 1851, the revolution had failed and the senior Krausnick was back in office. Eduard, however, stayed in St. Louis, where he became the first superintendent of Lafayette Park. The park was created by ordinance in 1851 as Lafayette Square, the name that grew up around the neighborhood that surrounded the park. Three years later it was renamed Lafayette Park. In 1857 the park was leased to Krausnick, who built a cottage and was responsible for maintenance and surveillance. Most of the early improvements were made by wealthy property owners nearby. However, in 1857, the city appropriated $2,000 with a like amount a year later. In 1859, public use was expanded with a concert in the park’s new Winter Garden by the orchestra of the Wood’s Theater. By 1860 his staff consisted of John Kessler, a 25 year old gardener from Baden.
The Civil War, in which Krausnick served, caused a partial cessation of the park’s improvements, however more than $14,000 was spent in 1863. Krausnick served as a Captain in Company C, 1st Regiment, Sappers and Miners, of the Missouri Home Guard. Sappers were combat engineers who dug open trenches. Miners dug the walls of fortifications to place explosive charges.
Returning from the war, Krausnick was responsible for the landscape improvements of Benton Park within the city. Originally known as City Park, the park was created by ordinance on June 25, 1866. The land served as the city cemetery from 1842 to 1865. Krausnick landscaped the 14 undulating acres of the park with rare trees, shrubs and beds of flowers. A greenhouse, rustic footbridge, and two ponds were also constructed. He was likely assisted in this effort by Werner Krasunick, a gardener (and likely his brother. Within Benton Park was a monument to Colonel Friedrich K. F. Hecker who raised a regiment of local German-Americans during the Civil War, serving first under Fremont and later commanding his own brigade. The park was used for botanical instruction, as well as, traditional community activities. City Parks Commissioner Eugene Weigel noted in 1881 that "in general design and in beauty and composition of its varied flower beds, it stands unsurpassed even by its aristocratic rival Lafayette Park.
In 1864, Maximillian Kern was employed as the new in 1864 (?) to become the new superintendent. "During the five years he held the post, the park was transformed into a much-acclaimed showpiece. A large lake, grotto, and a decorative iron fence surrounding the park were added. In history’s of Lafayette Park, Kern is referred to as the park’s first professional superintendent. Judgin from the praise given to Krausnick’s work at Benton Park, however, it is likely that he was professional trained as well, perhaps at Peter Joseph Lenne’s school for royal gardeners in Krausnick’s home time of Potsdam. At this time Kern became superintendent of public parks, devoting most of his energies to the design of Forest Park, a project of nearly unprecedented size (1,375 acres)."
Working with Julius Pitzman, a fellow German, Kern prepared an elaborate scheme of "winding roads and paths, ornamental embellishments, and a hippodrome." After its unveiling in January, 1876, Kern’s plan was substantially implemented, though he fell victim to a change in political administration. Plans for improvements of the grounds of the reservoirs at Compton Hill and the Chain of Lakes concluded his public works in St. Louis.
In 1884, Kern published in Columbia, Missouri, Rural Taste in Western Towns and Country Districts, in its Relation to the Principles of the Art of Landscape Gardening. Kern’s book was written as a university textbook intended to convey the artistic principles of landscape gardening to the masses. It gave particular attention to design issues in the prairie landscape of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri. Kern’s book gave great praise to the work of Capability Brown and Sir Humphrey Repton in England, noting "to England the whole of Europe, and indeed the entire civilized world owed much of the intellectual culture it possessed, and England, therefore, was destined to decide finally the unsolved problem of the style of gardening." Kern credited the English with development of the naturalistic style while giving the French credit for carrying the "ancient" or "geometric" style to its highest level. But Kern went on the note that the state of landscape design at the time of his book was the product of many contributions.
"The crowned heads of continental Europe send their special artists to England to study and to copy the new-born art, which finds by this means universal adoption in every kingdom and petty principality of the continent. Each country adopts it in accordance with the peculiarities of its climate, and prevailing ideas amongst its people. The further development of the art is thus a compound of the artistic talents of all countries, and is in nowise due solely to Great Britain. The gaiety of the style, when interwoven with the mathematical idea and liberally decorated with flowers and devices of pleasant intricacy, we owe in great measure to the genius of the French; while Germany perfected the style chiefly in principles of artistic planting, thereby produceing [sic] the wonderful sylvan attractions which distinguish the parks and pleasure grounds of that country from those of any other, England included."
Following his Forest Park work, Kern seemed to move about the region in search of work while maintaining a base in St. Louis. His name appears in most editions of the St. Louis directories until 1916. In 1879, he was working and living in Topeka for the Kansas Pacific Railroad where he likely knew another German-American landscape architect, Anton Reinisch who had arrived in the city eight years earlier. In 1880, his residence is listed as Alton, Illinois, in 1881, as Memphis. The University of Missouri's Catalogue for 1881-1882 notes that he was appointed assistant professor of horticulture in September 1881, a position he apparently held for only one year. In 1884, he prepared a master plan for the Kansas State Agricultural College in Manhattan, Kansas, later Kansas State University.
By 1887, Kern was an agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That year he also collaborated again with Pitzman on the design of a residential subdivision called Forest Park Addition. This tract included what would become two of St. Louis’s most elegant private streets, Westmoreland and Portland places.
Three German-born designers, Julius Pitzman, Henry Flad, and Theodore Caspar Link assisted Kern at Forest Park. Flad, who was about fifty at the time, would later become president of the board of public improvements in the city in 1876, a position he held until 1890. He constantly lobbied St. Louis Mayor Henry Overstolz for park improvements and land acquisition.
Julius Pitzman[1837-1923] was born at Halberstadt, Prussia, on January 11, 1837. He was educated at the Real Gymnasium in his hometown. Pitzman immigrated to the United States in 1854 with his widowed mother, settling first in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and eventually in St. Louis. After service in the St. Louis County engineer’s office and the Topographic Engineers Corps of the Union Army during the Civil War, Pitzman took the position of city surveyor for St. Louis. His interest in landscape design led him to a tour of the great parks of Europe in 1874.
During his career as a landscape architect, or in Pitzman's term a "landscape engineer," he built the city park in Little Rock, Arkansas; the race course in Nashville, Tennessee; prepared plans for the town of Granite City, Illinois, and roughly four thousand acres of residential subdivisions, notably Westmoreland Place in St. Louis. Pitzman's surveying and engineering firm, the Pitzman Company, is still active today.
Theodore Caspar Link [1850-1923] is remembered today as the architect of St. Louis Union Station and some of the buildings of the Washington University Medical School. Yet Link's career in St. Louis began as a draftsman for the park commissioners. Born in Zimpfen, Germany, Link trained in engineering in Heidelberg, studied at the Ecole Centrale in Paris, and worked in London, before immigrating to the United States in 1870. He had served for a time as city park administrator. With the separation of the city of St. Louis from St. Louis County in 1875, the city limits had been extended to include Forest Park. At that time, Forest Park had been one of sixteen city parks, administered by the city park commissioner who was appointed by the mayor from April 1875 until September of that year. When the new park commissioner was appointed, all of the city parks were administered by Link.
In nearby Kansas City, George Edward Kessler began a practice in landscape architecture, which though concentrated in the great cities of the Midwest, would be international in scope. Born in the small village of Bad Frankenhausen, Germany, on July 16, 1862, he immigrated to the United States three years later with his family. He lived first in Hoboken, New Jersey, and later in St. Louis and Hannibal, Missouri, and Wisconsin before settling in Dallas. He returned to his native Germany in 1878. Here he entered the private school for landscape gardening at the Belvedere in Weimar, where he studied botany, forestry, and design with Hofgärtner Julius Hartwig and garteninspekteur Julius Sckell. Further instruction in civil engineering at the University of Jena and the Neue Garten with Hofgärtner Theodore Neitner in Potsdam completed his studies.
After a tour of Central and Western Europe and southern England, Kessler returned to the United States in early 1882. With the help of a letter to H.H. Hunniwell from Frederick Law Olmsted, Kessler secured a position with the Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Gulf Railroad. He was in charge of the firm's pleasure park in Merriam, Kansas. Kessler's work at Merriam attracted the attention of the Kansas City mortgage-banking firm of Jarvis and Conklin. This firm retained Kessler to prepare residential subdivision plans for Hyde Park in Kansas City [1887], phase one of Roland Park, Baltimore [1891]; Euclid Heights, Cleveland; and a project in Ogden, Utah. These residential projects brought Kessler in touch with Kansas City's civic leaders and led in 1893 to completion of the first park and boulevard plan for the city.
The success of the Kansas City work led to the design of Fairlawn Cemetery, Oklahoma City [1892], Riverside and Overton Park and the park system of Memphis [1900], and the landscape design of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. In 1901, when George Kessler was chosen landscape architect for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition to be held in Kern's Forest Park, Julius Pitzman as landscape engineer assisted him. In addition to Eda Sutermeister, also on Kessler's staff was H.C. Muskopf, who later formed the nursery firm of Muskopf and Irish. His partner Henry Clay Irish was a former superintendent of the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Ironically, like Ellwanger and Barry, this would be a collaboration of a German and an Irishman. Miss Sutermeister was the first graduate of the school of landscape gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis launched Kessler's career in the Midwest. Commissions included park system designs for Indianapolis [1905], Syracuse [1906], Cincinnati [1906], Fort Worth [1907], Denver [1907], and Oklahoma City [1910]. He produced the first city plan for Dallas in 1911. Master plans for St. Joseph, Missouri; South Bend, Terre Haute, and Fort Wayne, Indiana, followed between 1911 and 1913. It is no coincidence that in many of the cities in which Kessler worked there were major populations and civic leaders of German descent. In addition the firm completed numerous campus plans including Shanghai Baptist University and Nanking University in China, the University of Indiana, the University of Missouri, and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Cincinnati and St. Louis were not the only great German cities in the American Midwest. The German population of Chicago in the last half of the 19th century was large enough to make it one of the largest German cities in the world. Landscape gardeners of Germany descent were active throughout the city’s rapidly growing park system and its horticultural industry.
An 1869 act of the Illinois legislature created three park districts: the Lincoln, South, and West Park Commissions and defined specific lands for parks and boulevards in the south and west park districts.
William LeBaron Jenney [1832-1907] received the commission for designing the West Parks and Boulevards in 1870. That year, Oscar Felicien Dubuis came to the United States, settling in Chicago and taking a position as an architect and draftsman for Jenney. Dubuis was born on June 15, 1849, in Canton Vaud, Switzerland. His father, John, was a professor of natural sciences and a teacher in the public schools. His mother, Rosalie Lugrin Dubuis, was from a family of farmers. Oscar graduated from the public schools of the region and completed a two-year course in architecture in Winterthur, Switzerland, at the Polytechnic Institute. Winterthur was also the home town of Jacob Wiedenmann and Theodore Wirth. Dubuis worked with Jenny until 1871 when, following the Chicago fire, the city suspended work on the park. After his year with Jenny’s office, Oscar Dubuis was appointed engineer and superintendent of the West Chicago Park system, a position he held for twenty-one years.
The act that established the West Park Commission specified the creation of three park sites, each approximately 200 acres in size, with a system of inter-linking boulevards. These included North Park, later renamed Humboldt Park for the great German scientist and geographer. Central Park was eventually renamed Garfield Park, and South Park became Douglas Park.
Dubuis was married in Chicago on December 9, 1874, to Fanny Girard, daughter of Jason Girard, and a native of California. The couple had six children, John O., Ernest G., Frances M., Pearl, Harry F. and George G. Dubuis was active in the community as a member of the Lutheran Church, the Masons, and the Elks and was a Republican. In 1893 he was removed from his position with the West Park District, as were many other employees at the time under the administration of Governor Altgeld of Illinois, for political reasons.
Following his dismissal he served as engineer of Lincoln Park for a year before accepting a position in Peoria, Illinois, to become engineer and superintendent of the parks. He served for twelve years until his death on April 16, 1906. The Illinois legislature on June 19, 1893, approved an act "to provide for the creation of Pleasure Driveway and Park Districts" effective July 1, 1893. Peoria was the first city in Illinois to organize a district under this law that addressed election procedures, record-keeping, and the acquisition of parklands by gift, purchase, or condemnation. Petitions for the creation of a district resulting in a vote of 2,672 in favor and 1,110 opposed on March 13, 1894. Park advocates moved quickly acquiring land in two purchases in September of that year, the Birkets property that later became Glen Oak Park, Madison Park, and South Park.
When he arrived in Peoria he first set to work transforming Glen Oak Park. Construction began in April 1895. Just four months later it was dedicated with an estimated 30,000 people in attendance. More than 2,500 public school children attended the first Field Day held in the park in 1897. A three-year effort then followed to create South Park. Laura Bradley Park was created next. His last work was the creation of the pleasure driveway that runs from Averyville to Prospect Heights, a residential neighborhood designed by fellow German George Kessler. It is possible that the two collaborated on design of the pleasure drive.
By the late 1890s, the West Park system had become crippled by political corruption. Though some construction took place, the park suffered from lack of maintenance. By 1905, reform-minded governor Charles S. Deneen demanded the resignation of the entire board of commissioners and appointed a group of prominent businessmen and professionals to serve on the new board. To manage the district and provide design direction he appointed Jens Jensen to Dubuis’ former position as chief landscape architect and general superintendent of the West Park District. Jensen had risen from a laborer in Humboldt Park to superintendent under Dubuis direction.
Although Jens Jensen [1860-1951] was clearly by birth and spirit a Dane, he too was knowledgeable of German landscape architecture and the work of German-American landscape architects and horticulturists. In the 1864 Peace of Vienna, Germany annexed the Slasvig, Holstein, and Lauberg provinces of Jensen's native Denmark. Just before he came to America, Jensen served for a time in the German Royal Guard in Berlin. Here he undoubtedly had the opportunity to view the gardens of Peter Joseph Lenné and von Sckell and the formal boulevards of Baron Hausmann as well.
Robert Grese has stated that these formal expressions of the old monarchy helped form Jensen's thoughts about the democratic values of the native landscape. Throughout his life, Jensen was a frequent contributor to German landscape publications. Jensen's approach to the native landscape paralleled a similar emphasis on native plants in Germany at the time.
During this same period, August Koch [1874-1946], served as chief horticulturist to the Chicago park district. Koch had been in charge of the main conservatory and small floral displays at Shaw’s Garden (now the Missouri Botanical Garden) around 1906-1912. In 1912 he assumed responsibility for the Chicago West Park District’s conservatory in Garfield Park and for all of the outdoor plantings in the District. Prior to that time the district had operated separate greenhouses in Humboldt, Garfield, and Douglas parks.
The District Commissioners were obviously very proud of the new facility and in its Annual Report of the Chicago West Park Commissioners of 1928 they trumpeted the enormous size of the facility. The new conservatory was completed in 1907 by Hitchings and Company of New York City at a cost of $276,000. The conservatory rose to a height of 65 feet and contained 68,055 square feet of floor space, and a cubic volume of 1, 927,400 cubic feet. It was roofed by 104,700 square feet of glass with 26,738 square feet of steam providing heat. The heating plant had a capacity fo 1,000 horsepower. Within the conservatory were 300,000 specimens of plants representing 3,000 species and varieties of plants. The collection, arranged by plant families was valued at over $1,000,000 in 1928. Koch retired from the park district on December 31, 1939.
Elsewhere in Illinois, Harold Hanson a graduate of the Preusisiche Bauakademie in Berlin immigrated to the United States around 1870, where he became a professor of architectural engineering at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, and prepared a master plan for the campus in 1871. During this same period, Peter Reinberg of Reinberg Brother's nursery was corresponding with the Austrian garden magazines. Reinberg was a board member of the forest preserves system in Chicago. Also active in the region were Poehlman Brothers Nursery of Morton Grove, Illinois, Frederick Dorner and Sons in Lafayette, Indiana, and E.A. Bechtel's Staunton Nursery in Staunton, Illinois.
On July 11, 1922, Heinrich Teuscher [1891-198?] reported to work at the Arnold Arboretum. He was to work in the arboretum for six months for training and to "get accustomed to the American ways." Following this training, Teuscher was to report to Chicago, Illinois, where he would assume a position with a new arboretum being planned by multi-millionaire Joy Morton.
Teuscher was a German veteran of World War I who had just graduated from the Horticultural College at Dahlem-Berlin when the war broke out in 1914. Following the war, Teuscher first worked as a landscape architect for the parks department of the City of Hamburg photographing war damage. Concerned about a lack of future in his work, he secured a job at the Berlin Botanical Garden. For two and one half years he worked in the garden, during which time he took the master's examination in landscape architecture and horticulture.
In 1921, unable to find a challenging position in Germany, he wrote to Alfred Rehder, a German-born botanist at the Arnold Arboretum to inquire about job opportunities in America. Rehder showed the letter to Charles Singer Sargent who in turn recommended Teuscher to Joy Morton. Sargent advised Morton: "You will need first of all a well-trained man who is a landscape architect as well as a botanist, and who can not only prepare a complete layout for the whole place but also take charge of organizing everything." Teuscher reported to duty at the Morton Arboretum in January 1923. Here he stayed until February 1, 1929. In the intervening years he directed the development of the arboretum, drawing the original planting plans for the project.
Teuscher left the Morton Arboretum to become director of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Yonkers, New York. Teuscher's stay at Boyce Thompson ended when Thompson died at the onset of the Great Depression and all of the arboretum employees were released. In 1932, Teuscher became dendrologist at the New York Botanical Garden. The following year he wrote a comprehensive outline for an article entitled "The Botanical Garden of the Future," which appeared in Parks and Recreation. Years later the outline was revised and reissued as "Program for an Ideal Botanical Garden." In his report, Teuscher expressed concern for man's relation to nature, discussed the ecological and geographical arrangement of plants in an arboretum, and emphasized the need for botanical gardens to attract and educate the public. Between 1936 and his retirement in 1962, Teuscher planned, constructed, and directed the Montreal Botanical Garden.
Perhaps no city in America is known more for its German heritage that Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During the period from 1850 to 1880 the city’s population increased more than five-fold from 20,061 to 115, 587. A last part of this increase was due to European immigration as the city served as a major embarkation point for immigrants arriving through the Great Lakes. Of these the Germans, British, and Irish in that order made up the major immigrant groups. The Germans composed a third of the city’s population who had been attracted by the opportunities and farmland on the frontier. Unlike the other immigrant groups, however, the Germans were distinctive in that the occupied every economic class and provided a significant number of the city’s professionals. They were also distinctive in that there was no dominant religion among the groups with Catholics, Protestants, and Jews represented. "Therefore, rather than forming an ethnic subculture, the Germans created a coordinate German society to the American one." In 1851, Germans dissatisfied with the public school system founded a German-English Academy. The Academy introduced the first Kindergarten to the city. Two years later, the Sozialer Turnverein Milwaukee was founded, one of several created in Milwaukee. Properous Germans would build their homes on the north side and called upon gardeners from Scotland and Austria to design and maintain their landscapes.
"While the Irish remained a visible group in proportion to their relatively low numbers, the German neighborhoods made up Milwaukee’s more ‘foreign environment’ from 1846-1880. This was due to the almost exclusive use of the German language and to distinguishing ethnic features of buildings. Milwaukee was a source of German-language publications in America with Germania Press but one of many publishing houses in the city. In 1892, Germania published Hans Buschbauer‘s Amerikanisches Garten-buch Für Stadt und Land, which provided horticultural advice to its readers. Fredericka Bremer, a Swedish novelist noted in Milwaukee ‘German houses, German inscriptions over the doors or signs, German physiognomies’ on her visit in the 1850s. By this time, in fact, Milwaukee was known among German-Americans as Deutsch-Athen."
"The German areas of the city developed not so much as neighborhoods but as communities of their own, with business districts, wealthy sections, and fringe areas of small frame worker’s houses and shanties. German settlement originally stretched along the east and west sides of the Milwaukee River just north of the central business district (roughly between Wells Street and Juneau Avenue). From this ‘German Town’, Milwaukee’s coordinate culture spread to the north and west, in wards One, Two, Six, and Nine. German settlement in the mid-19th century was able to grow unimpeded in the northwestern quadrant of the city because of the availability of land. By the late 1850s, development on the northwestern side had proceeded about as far west as Sixteenth Street and north to North Avenue. In 1880, it had reached the city limits, west to Twenty-Seventh Street and north to Burleigh Street. The lots in the newly developing northwestern sections tended to be smaller than the city average. Newcomers generally moved to the edges of German areas where land values were comparatively low." In addition to the large German population on the west side of the city, by the 1850s Germans could also be found mixed with ‘Yankees and Irish’ on the south side as well."
For the first sixty years of Milwaukee’s history, the city’s parks were private spaces and beer gardens. In 1872, Lueddeman’s-On-The-River opened on a seven-acre site in East Milwaukee (now Shorewood) on the Milwaukee River west of Oakland Avenue. The site went through several owners and eventually became the City of Shorewood’s Hubbard Park. The Pabst Brewing Company in 1889 opened the Whitefish Bay Resort as a summertime outlet for beer. Located near the present 5200 block of North Lake Drive, the park boasted a Ferris wheel, beer garden, and other amusements to attract patrons who traveled to the site by streetcar. The park was open until 1914. In 1890, Captain Fred Pabst purchased the Milwaukee Shooting Club’s park at Third and Burleigh Street to create another amusement park for families, complete with a 15,000-foot long roller coaster, a fun house, and a dance hall. Concerts were held every afternoon and evening during the summer.
Milwaukee’s first four public open spaces were created either as ward parks or in combination with some other municipal use such as waterworks or sewer plants. These included Seventh Ward Park (later Juneau Park, 1872), Kilbourn Park and Reservior (1868,1872, 1875), Waterworks Park (1872), and the Flushing Tunnel Park (1887, later McKinley). In 1889, just before a phenomenal growth period in the city, the first city park board was formed. Its efforts yielded Milwaukee’s first seven public parks: Riverside, Lake, Sherman, Washington, Humboldt, Mitchell, and Kosciuszko.
H.W. S. Cleveland designed Juneau Park in 1870, though the city did not acquire the site until 1872. It was not until 1884, when German-born attorney Emil Wallber was elected mayor that the move for public parks truly got its start. The reform movement begun by Wallber continued to grow until 1889, when reformers pushed a bill through the state legislature, which authorized establishment of the Board of Park Commissioners of Milwaukee. Christian Wahl, a retired industrialist from Chicago and a world traveler, was the leader of Milwaukee’s park movement and its first park commissioner. The newly formed commission identified sites for six parks: Lake Park, River Park (later called Riverside) Coleman Park (later Lincoln Avenue and finally Kosciusko); Howell Avenue Park (later South, and finally Humboldt); Mitchell Park; and West Park (later Washington). In its second year, the firm hired Frederick Law Olmsted and Company to design Lake and West Parks. Warren Manning led the work for the firm.
In addition to their plans for Lake Park, and fragmentary plans for River Park, Manning prepared a design for West Park. Today it bears the marks of the German neighborhood in which it is set. Seeking to accommodate the gift of a small deer herd by Gustav Pabst and Louis Auer, a small deer park was created. This became the origins of the Milwaukee Zoo which was originally located in the park in 1910.
Today, the most significant building in the park is the Emil Blatz Temple of Music constructed in 1938. At the entrance to the park is an equestrian statue of Frederick von Stuben, dedicated in 1921. Near the Blatzmusiktempel are monuments to Wolfgang Von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller.
The reason that the creation of public parks in Milwaukee lagged behind the efforts of other cities of comparable age cannot be certain. One theory may lie in German recreational traditions. "In part, this lack of truly public space may be attributed to the existence, from the mid-19th century until the 1920s, of a number of popular commercial pleasure parks and summer gardens on the German model. These places, which sometimes charged no admission, offered diversions of great variety often in a park-like setting. If the public park movement in Milwaukee started slowly in comparison with other American cities, it may be explained by the unique structure of leisure in Germanic Milwaukee."
"The commercial pleasure park combined the interests of summer garden promenading and picnicking, music and drama, sport, and wildlife menageries, with the service of beer to entice an eager, fair-weather patronage. In spite of notable German antecedents for true public parks, the commercial park was a well-established tradition in German-speaking countries. These European-styled parks offered more variety in amusements and facilities than the contemporary American public parks which were devoted entirely to ornamental landscape design."
"By the 1850s many German-Americans had become artisans, and by the 1870s and 1880s they were important business managers and owners. As wealth and leisure time and, undoubtedly, business pressures increased for these upwardly mobile people, the pleasure park provided a needed place of relaxation from the workaday world."
From W. W. Coleman’s Milwaukee: das Deutsch-Athen Amerikas [1880], we have a detailed summary of these resorts in their heyday:
The beautiful parks and commercial public gardens, in part in the city, in part in the region surrounding, so well-known as summer destination points, recommend themselves as much for their natural beauty as for the musical and theatrical productions and the excellent beer. Among these parks "Quentin’s Park" in the foremost; it is sited on the highest point on the northside with a splendid plan and views of the entire city—both of the bay and inland. Other popular places are the "Milwaukee Garden," the Shooting Park; Eimermans Park on the northwest side; the hill garden at the Miller Brewery on the plank road, which has recently been attractively improved and has become one of the beauty spots of the region, set as it is over the rolling hills of the Menomonee Valley. Similarly popular are the Berninger Garden near the Falk Brewery; Knurr’s Greenfield Park; Green’s, Schubert’s, and Conrad’s establishment; Wootsch’s South Park; Reich’s very popular place on the Milwaukee River, our small city’s Humboldt; the Lueddemann Garden on the lakeshore; and others. Near the last-named garden with its romantic Indian lodge, lies, farther north, picturesque Lake Dells, a private park with travel accommodations in their forest, and lakeshore lodge which the owners are proud to open to the public. A splendid macadamized road, Lake Avenue, passes along the lakeshore, going through wooded areas with spectacular views of the lake, and past elegant estates and friendly farms to Whitefish Bay, a popular stopping place for hikers and strollers."
The creation of public parks in Milwaukee in some measure followed Prohibition. No longer able to sell beer, these private parks were often closed and sold to the city. One private park converted to public use was the seven-acre on which the Schlitz Brewing Company had created Quentin’s Park in 1879. Coleman described this part as the foremost in the city. The hillside site with its commanding views improved by the addition of a lookout tower also contained a main concert pavilion providing seating for 5,000 people. The pavilion was also used for dancing. The brewery operated a hotel for park guests and entertained guests with a menagerie of wild animals, as well as sports and cultural activities. "Illuminated by three hundred fifty multi-colored gas lamps, Schlitz Park must have been a stunning attraction for Milwaukee’s evening pleasure-seekers of the last century." Acquired by the city as Lapham Park in 1909 and 1910, the land is currently park of Carver Park.
If Germans were not directly involved in the design of the first public parks in Milwaukee, they did have a great impact in the area of city planning. In 1916 Werner Hegemann [1881-1936] published the most significant publication of the period on the subject. His report entitled "City Planning for Milwaukee: What It Means and Why It Must Be Secured" was highly influential. For the first time in the city, Hegemann’s report spoke to the need for the coordination that must occur among the planners of urban design features and city services. His report addressed the need for a civic center, parks and parkways, housing, and rapid transit thus making the transition from park planning and civic improvement to comprehensive city planning.
Although Werner Hegemann spent much of his life in his native Germany, an analysis of the contribution of Germans to the development of landscape architecture in the United States would not be complete without considering his life and work. Born in Mannheim on June 15, 1881, Hegemann distinguished himself as a planner, writer, editor, and educator. He studied urban planning, art history, and economics in Berlin, Munich, Paris, and Strasbourg, and at the University of Pennsylvania. He first came to the United States in 1905 to accept a position as housing inspector for the City of Philadelphia. He completed his doctorate in political science in Munich in 1908. His travels throughout Europe and North America helped him to appreciate the importance of social issues in city planning. In 1909 he directed the first city-planning exhibition in Boston and the year after he directed similar exhibitions in Berlin and other European centers. The conclusions of his work were published in an influential two-volume book, Der Städtbau (1911) that led directly to the formation of Berlin’s municipal structure, the Zweckverband Gross-Berlin in 1912, an organization that became Einheitsgemeinde Gross-Berlin until the city’s division in 1948. He returned to America in 1913 and for two years undertook housing studies for a number of cities. There he remained until the end of World War I. Hegemann settled in Milwaukee because of its large German population.
In June 1916, he joined in practice with Elbert Peets, a native of Cleveland and recent graduate from Harvard with a master of landscape architecture degree. Peets was five years his junior. During his undergraduate years at Western Reserve University, Peets was a foreman for H. U. Horvath, the German landscape architect and nurseryman from Cleveland and Mentor, Ohio. After working with Pray, Hubbard, and White for a year completing plans for land subdivisions following graduate school, Peets joined Hegemann to prepare a plan for Kohler, Wisconsin, a company town just west of Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
John Kohler just before the turn of the 19th century began to move the operations of his plumbing fixtures manufacturing firm. Walter Kohler after his father’s death assumed the presidency of the company. Walter guided the company for decades and became concerned about the poor quality of the residential settlement that was developing adjacent to the family’s business. As a result, the younger Kohler had become interested in community planning in the early 1900s.
He hired Walter Hegemann in 1915 based upon his international reputation. He also requested that Hegemann collaborate with two other professionals who had completed plans for various parts of Kohler’s development: Richard Philipp, a Milwaukee architect, and J. Donahue, a Sheboygan civil engineer.
In assessing the Kohler family’s 3,000-acre land holding, Hegemann observed its beauty and natural featues, "noting that the site included ‘rolling land, fine trees, a most surprisingly winding stream, high ravine, with perfectly formed views, in short, an ideal location for a garden city.’ The team recommended that residential lots of adequate size be provided so that each residence could be situated where it would both receive sun and be protected from the wind. They also included proposals for cultural activities and cooperatively run institutions, such as banks, home rental plans, stores, and insurance programs. The application of these guidelines, Hegemann maintained, would establish Kohler as a national model and ‘an important factor for the civilization of the country’
Hegemann appears to have provided most of the philosophical direction for the Kohler plan, while Peets worked out the physical details. Their design for the section of the village located adjacent to the factory and its headquarters had to incorporate several existing residences and streets. In 1916 numerous preliminary plans were readied for the overall extension and layout of roadways, the development or redesign of lots for new dwelling units, and the design of a residential block.
Throughout, Walter Kohler held complete control over all planning activities and their implementation. During the summer of 1916, he grew especially critical of the time Hegemann and Peets were devoting to planning projects elsewhere. Particularly damning was his criticism that Hegemann had spent so much time learning drafting skills from Peets that the realization of their proposed plan for the village neighborhood had been delayed. These disagreements culminated in the dissolution of the business relationship between Kohler and the Hegemann-Peets team by late that year.
Following Hegemann and Peet’s departure, the village continued to develop over several years under the direction of Richard Philipp. In the mid-1920s, Olmsted Brothers of Brookline, Massachusetts, was commissioned to design another neighborhood in the development.
In 1916 and again in 1919-20, Hegemann and Peets were commissioned to prepare an ambitious scheme for Lake Forest, a planned community in Madison.
The origins of Lake Forest can be traced to 1911, when two developers, Chandler Burwell Chapman and Leonard Gay, decided that a suburban community could be built on an 840-acre parcel of marshland, wooded area, and pasture situated along the southern shore of Lake Wingra. Although the site was just a mile from the University of Wisconsin campus and only somewhat farther from the state capitol building, the wet, uneven topography had isolated it from the built-up area of the city for decades. Nonetheless, Chapman and Gay believed that the tract could be developed profitably since it was the only large untouched parcel with lake frontage still to be found within several miles of Madison.
Before construction began, various drainage schemes were developed. Most of the land was soft and spongy with subsoil of peat and marl, some of …..beds and trestles would sink. It is not surprising that when Chapman and Gay began to promote their property in 1917, they neglected to mention the problem but elaborated instead on "beautifully wooded hills on the northwest, the rolling meadow to the south, the beautiful terraces to the east and the water front of the south."
By November 1916 Hegemann and Peets had prepared at least three preliminary designs for Lake Forest. All provided a "straight shot" of the state capitol building to the northeast and a view northward toward the landmark dome of Bascom Hall on the university campus. In two of the schemes, a broad avenue provided the link to the capitol; in the third, the axis was a linear lagoon. Residential areas were conceived as distinct neighborhoods units; some were to have their own square and provide residents with self-contained areas free of through traffic.
The three proposals each suggested a different setting for the town’s civic center, though all borrowed directly from classical models. In one, the major organizational element was a circular form; another utilized a rectangular plaza; the third, an ellipse. The plan that was selected—the circular arrangement—displayed radiating streets and avenues; it was at least partly inspired by the Piazza di San Pietro in Rome and bore some similarities to Washington, D.C.
The team also prepared studies for the civic center itself. Their design intent "was to fix upon some means of immediately, economically and definitely marking out the shape of the large round plaza in such a way that shops and small public buildings could be built later without breaking the uniformity of the frame." To accomplish this they recommended that a high pergola be built around much of the circle; any buildings later constructed behind it would be lighted by clerestory windows placed just above the structure. Preliminary plans also included a massive athletic field, a thousand-foot-long mall lined with willow trees, and recommendations for a large open-air theater and a nine-hole golf course.
Engineering and financial problems bedeviled the project, however. When dredging began during the summer of 1917, the water level in Lake Wingra dropped two to three feet below normal and the recently created lagoons in the adjoining park became "stagnant and offensive;" the shoreline of the lake was deemed "unsightly and unsanitary." The developers were eventually forced to restore the lake to within one foot of its original level. One year later, forty-eight of the nine hundred lots had been sold, but no houses built.
In 1920 the Lake Forest Company began aggressive promotion efforts that included publication of a semimonthly bulletin, the Lake Forester. By November, sixty-one lots had been sold, five houses constructed, and twenty-three people were residing in the tiny community. Capitol Avenue, the long axis, had been laid out across the marsh (although as a regular street, not a double boulevard); a bridge provided access to the Madison street system; an artesian well had been drilled; a one-story brick pumping station built; and electricity brought to the site. During the next year, shade trees were planted, a water system was provided, and telephone service was installed linking the area to Madison.
Very quickly, however, a new set of serious problems emerged. The spongy land beneath Capitol Avenue started to shift, causing the roadway to buckle. Some of the partially dredged canals became clogged with mud and dead leaves. Even more disastrous, in 1922 the mortgage loan company that had been formed to provide the developers with financial support failed. Ultimately, only two relatively small neighborhoods were built within the 840-acre Lake Forest plat.
The ill-conceived scheme was eventually redeemed when, in the 1930’s, the University of Wisconsin for its new arboretum purchased most of the tract. Perhaps Franz Aust, a university landscape architect whom the Lake Forest Company commissioned in 1920 to design the Council Rock Spring Garden, had already envisioned this more appropriate use of the land. Aust proposed a place of dignified natural beauty, with the theme of restoration: "restoration of the spring to its boiling, bubbling, untamed condition and restoration of the native plants and wildflowers found there before the advent of civilization."
During the summer of 1917, Hegemann and Peets prepared a garden design for E. Richard Meinig of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, and the Herman Vihlein [sic] Pabst estate at White Fish Bay near Milwaukee. In addition to a general development plan for the property and the design of a garden theater, their work included a plan for the development of the grounds of the cottage of the gardener, Gustav A. Reuss. In 1919, they prepared plans for the estate of L.R. Smith on the shore of Lake Michigan and for Myron T. MacLaren in Milwaukee.
In addition to the Kohler work the two also completed designs for parks, playgrounds, subdivisions, and cemeteries in Milwaukee. From January 1919 until April 1920, Hegemann and Peets completed the plan for Washington Highlands, a large residential subdivision near Milwaukee. Washington Highlands was a subdivision of the Pabst Farm in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. The site of Washington Highlands was originally part of a hops and Percheron horse farm owned by the famous Milwaukee brewer, Captain Frederick Pabst. In 1871, Pabst purchased 178 acres of land in Wauwatosa and later expanded the farm to 217 acres. The farm was traversed by a meandering creek and served as the site for the Pabst residence, three other dwellings, an office, and assorted small buildings and barns. Here Pabst farmed hops for use in the company’s beer and raised the Percheron horses to pull the company’s beer wagons. Pabst opened a street, now Lloyd Street, that ran east west through his property in 1891and granted a right-of-way for a streetcar line. The land north of Lloyd was divided into rectangular blocks and sold for residential properties. As late as 1910, the 133 acres south of Lloyd was still producing hops. The city of Milwaukee opened Washington Boulevard, providing a link between Washington Park and 60th Street. This intersection would become the gateway to Washington Highlands.
Hegemann’s plan preserved Schoonmacher Creek, included private parks, and used building standards and design controls to govern lot size, building design and placement. Streets were sited to follow the contours of the site and to preserve major trees. Through-traffic through the project was minimized. Consistent with Hegemann’s life-long interest in housing, the plan contained sites for large and small single-family homes, two-family and four-family flats on the perimeter, a commercial center, and a school that was never built. In order to preserve the rolling landscape of the property, Hegemann and Peets incorporated split boulevards where one lane of a street sits as much as ten feet higher or lower than the other lane. The earliest building permits date from 1918 but only eight homes were constructed prior to 1920. The majority of the construction of the project occurred from 1920 to 1930.
Following the Kohler work, Peets traveled to London, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Berlin, and Amsterdam for a year as a recipient of a Charles Eliot Traveling Fellowship. Within months of his return in April 1921, Hegemann and Peets continued their practice in Milwaukee. In May 1922 the two colleagues published one of the seminal works of urban design The American Vitruvius: An Architect’s Handbook of Civic Art. The book was not a complete history of civic design but instead Hegemann and Peets sought to produce "a thesaurus, a representative collection of creations in civic art, so grouped and so interpreted in text and captions as seemed best suited to bring out the special significance of each design." The primary author of the book was Werner Hegemann who stated that Peets was "not to be held accountable for every detail of the opinions expressed." Peets’ contribution was a number of plans and drawings, the detailed captions for the book’s 1,200 illustrations, and the last chapter, which featured Washington, D.C.
During the summer of 1921, the pair completed garden plans for Fred Pabst at Oconomowoe and H. Z. Logan in South Milwaukee. From 1922 to 1924 Werner Hegemann and Elbert Peets prepared a plan for Wyomissing Park in Reading, Pennsylvania.
At the completion of the Wyomissing Park work, Hegemann returned to Germany in 1924. Until 1933, he edited a monthly architectural publication, Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst, which merged with another periodical Der Städtebau in 1930. A book published in 1930, Das steinerne Berlin, was considered his major work. Not only did he provide an account of the growth and architecture of Berlin but a vigorous demand for action in improving the city. Hegemann called for the abandonment of the capitalist system of land ownership and use; proposing instead a rationalization of the metropolitan structure and a transport policy based on social priorities, including an efficient high-speed rail network. He also published numerous works of literature and criticism, primarily under pseudonyms, including studies of Frederick II, King of Prussia, Napoleon, and other historical figures. His critical stance earned him the hatred of conservatives and right-wing radicals. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, he returned to the United States. He was appointed Visiting Professor of Housing at the New School for Social Research. In 1935 he became an associate in architecture at Columbia University where he taught urban planning.
Hegemann died in 1936.

In addition to the impact of German culture on landscape development in Wisconsin, other Germans would have an impact of the landscapes of the adjacent states of Minnesota and Michigan. In Minneapolis, Theodore Wirth [ ] served as superintendent of parks. Wirth, a Swiss who was trained as a landscape gardener in Basel, had succeeded Jacob Wiedenmann in his position as Superintendent of the Parks of Hartford. Like Weidenmann, Wirth was a native of Winterthur. Wirth had immigrated to the United States on April 15, 1888, where he went to work in Central Park. After losing his job due to Tammany Hall, Wirth moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where he became superintendent of parks around 1890. Here he stayed until 1904. During his tenure, he designed the Elisabeth Park Rose Garden and became one of the founding members of the New England Superintendents of Parks Association. In 1904, he moved to Minneapolis, where he served as the park superintendent for almost thirty years. Theodore Wirth never became a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He considered himself a horticulturist and park planner rather than a landscape architect and was more concerned with park administration than the topics of interest to the American Society of Landscape Architects at that time.
Across the river in St. Paul, the first park superintendent was Frederick Nussbaumer [1850-?]. Born in Baden, Germany, Nussbaumer was trained in the great gardens of Europe. It is reported that for a time he worked at London’s Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew and at one of the largest tree nurseries in France (perhaps the Baumann Nurseries).
It is believed that Nussbaumer met Horace Cleveland, the Chicago landscape architect who prepared the first park and boulevard system plan for the Twin Cities. Cleveland was apparently impressed by Nussbaumer’s horticultural knowledge and experience and invited him to St. Paul to work at Como Park. Nussbaumer agreed and began his career as a laborer in the park, eventually working his way to higher positions. In the Superintendent’s Report in 1889, John D. Estabrook said of him, "Mr. Nussbaumer has served as gardener, nurseryman, tree-planter, foreman, special officer and at times, man of all work, and in each and all capacities has proved himself of especial value to the park."
Estabrook went on to praise Nussbaumer’s work: "Not knowing that similar work had already been done under the geological survey of the state and published as the ‘Flora of Minnesota’, Mr. Nussbaumer completed his list. It was then submitted to an amateur botanist in the city who, after careful examination, recommended that the spelling and order arrangement be made to conform to the ‘Flora of Minnesota.’
"This has been done, and the revised list hereto appended will be found to contain some species not before reported in this state. It will be especially interesting to students in botany, since it describes minutely where the specimens were found. It is a report of progress rather than a complete list."
As a result of the breadth of his skills and his unusual energy level, he was named Superintendent of Parks in 1892. "Foresighted, artistic, a skilled florist, and a good manager," Nussbaumer would serve as superintendent until his retirement in 1922.
Como Park’s history dates to 1872 when the Minnesota state legislature asked a judge in Ramsey County to appoint five commissioners to purchase between 500 and 650 acres of land within a convenient distance of the City of St. Paul for a public park. The next year, the commission was appointed and land on the shore of Como Lake identified. The park soon became a controversial issue as the financial depression brought about by the panic of 1873 caused many civic leaders to fear that the city could not financially support the endeavor. By April 1874, "there was in progress a conclusive demonstration of the wisdom, from a business standpoint alone, of the purchase of parklands, and as well the fairness of the purchase price."
Hothouses were present in Como Park to provide winter housing for tropical plants such as the bananas and palms that were placed outdoors during the summer. When the Park Superintendent’s house was constructed in 1892, a small wooden greenhouse was attached.
In 1894, Nussbaumer introduced to the park a planting called ‘Gates Ajar’ which is still planted each year. Each spring the gardeners built a frame of wood, wire, and mud, and covered it 10,000 tiny plants. The design was based upon the religious plantings of his native Germany, where this type of floral sculpture was traditional. Patrice Bass speculates that Nussbaumer may have been inspired by the lines from Longfellow’s Golden Legend: "When Christ ascended triumphantly from star to star, He left the Gates of Heaven Ajar." The sculpture which took three weeks each spring to construct utilized Hen and Chicks for the light patterns, with a background of Joseph’s Coat.
As it had in other cities, this German tradition of grand floral displays came under criticism in some quarters. "In a response to the criticism that the St. Paul parks, especially Como, had too many flower beds, a practice that conflicted with the austere canon of a modern school of landscape architects, who regard cultivated flowers as an artistic profanation of the holy ground consecrated to grass and trees and shrubbery . . ." Park Board President Joseph Wheelock espressed the overall philosophy of the park board:
"Parks are not merely pictures of the delectation of a few finical virtuosos. Their main purpose is to make the beauties of nature minister to the creation and enjoyment of the people at large—of the plain people whose pleasure grounds they are and to whose use and benefit they are dedicated. To them the flowers of Como Park are one of the most prized attractions. They would have but little patience with a park manager who had no feeling for the delicate charm of flowers, and who could find no room and no suitable places for them in the wide expanse of its rural landscape . . . "
Wheelock went further in defense of Nussbaumer’s plantings:
"That the flowers in Como Park are a potent element in its remarkable popularity there is no question. Its visitors count about 1,300,000 during the park season. Large numbers of them come from the neighboring city of Minneapolis, whose flowerless parks, the late president of the Minneapolis park board ruefully complains, are poorly patronized by the public. He has not looked with favor on the floral improprieties of Como Park; but in his last address to the board, he broadly intimates that in order to allure the people of Minneapolis to a proper appreciation of their own fine home parks it may be necessary for them to cater to the vulgar popular taste for flowers."
While work continued on Como Park, Nussbaumer turned his attention to the Indian Mound Park. On July 1, 1895, he was "instructed to improve Indian Mound [sic] as far as finances will permit." By October 22, 1895, Nussbaumer received approval of his improvement plans by the Parks Board.
In his superintendent’s report of 1896, Nussbaumer stated, "Surveys and plans were made during the year and submitted to the board. Work on grading driveways and walks were also commenced. The topography of the grounds in this park required especially careful study in every detail, because of its broken surface, deep ravines, and steep hillsides, in order to make it accessible to the public. The plateau where the ancient mounds are located will always be a favorite spot for visitors, on account of its commanding view. This consideration suggested the grading of a driveway on the crest of the hill to make it accessible to people in carriages. A winding walk, meandering to the state fish hatchery, is also contemplated in the plan. This walk can eventually be widened to a roadway for carriages. The cost of construction, under the present economic scale of wages and prices of materials, $12,000."
That year, Frederick Nussbaumer prepared a design for Summit Avenue in St. Paul from the Mississippi River to Lexington Avenue. Patrice Bass observed that Nussbaumer’s design is "not only aesthetically pleasing but also provides insight into how the parkway was intended to be useful not only for street traffic but also for pedestrians. The center island has a well-defined pathway for pedestrians with a serpentine flow to the layout; it is not just a straight, utilitarian, boring sidewalk but rather a pleasure walk for residents and visitors alike."
In 1897, J. A. Wheelock, praised Nussbaumer’s work: "The area of park land under cultivation, exclusive of parkways is not little, if any, greater in Minneapolis than in St. Paul, while we maintain a large greenhouse and extensive areas of floriculture and floral animation which they do not. The comparison reflects credit on the careful and economical manner in which our parks have been managed."
Wheelock was so impressed with the thoroughness of Nussbaumer’s superintendent’s report that he felt no need for a president’s report. Over the next two years Nussbaumer continued construction of Indian Mound Park. Nussbaumer would later call Indian Mound Park "the Prospect Park of the Northwest."
In 1898, Nussbaumer urged the city to purchase land for Phalen Park and River Boulevard and began improvements in those two areas of the system. Progress of Nussbaumer’s vision was so great that the St. Paul Board of Park Commissioners submitted a collection of photographs to the 1900 Paris Exposition. They received a silver medal for artistic plantings and park scenery.
By 1902, Nussbaumer’s attention was focused on the creation of a parkway connecting Como, Phalen, and Indian Mound parks. "These are necessary links in the chain of interconnected parks and parkways from the western to the eastern borders of the city which unite in one symmetrical park system so many unique and diversified forms of beauty in landscape features, in lake and river scenery, and in other pleasing attributes that St. Paul may well be proud of it as one of the finest park systems in America. Como Park is worthy of its position as the central nexus of this system of parks and parkways."
Nussbaumer held the view that the parks were for the people and that everything in them should be available to a working class family. In an article published in The Minnesota Horticulturalist, March 1903, He credited the gardens of the rich with inspiring,
"The creation of parks for the common people in recognition of their common right to the enjoyment of God’s pure air and the beauties of nature. Today there is not a city or government that does not fully comprehend the importance and value of public parks for its citizens, not only by increased tax returns, but chiefly by their benefits in ministering to the health and pleasure of the masses, who cannot afford the expensive outings of the rich. They are a necessary part of the comforts and health-giving recreations of modern city life."
Nussbaumer, in what would appear to be direct conflict with the philosophies of Olmsted and his followers, argued "that the landscape designs for ‘a correct rural landscape, distinctly adapted to stimulate a poetic sensibility’ did not meet the needs of the urban masses who flocked to the parks and were looking for more than just tranquil vistas for contemplation. To meet these needs, the modern urban park had to provide shelter buildings, refectories, music pavilions, restrooms, picnic grounds, drinking fountains, park benches and boat house."
Nussbaumer concluded by expressing his philosophy on the proper management of urban park systems:
"A successful or ideal park must provide facilities for recreation and, to a certain degree, objects of attractiveness in horticultural displays - especially so in the high northern latitudes where, on account of the long, bleak winters the floral decorations in public parks excite special admiration . . .The great mass of the people enjoy flowers. They also pay for the parks. While the chief and all-predominating feature of an ideal park lies in its recreative [sic] qualities, let no confusion occur. Attractions introduced for a special purpose of drawing are foreign to the meaning and intent of true park management. Nothing should be introduced, nothing permitted, which would have a tendency to lessen its value and usefulness as a recreation ground for all classes of people: a safe and decorous place, within easy reach of the people, of a city by trolley car, at reasonable rates of fare, or other modes of conveyance, where families with children, sick or convalescent persons, the nature-loving enthusiast and the frugal workman alike may find a visit to it refreshing, restful, profitable and beneficial to soul and body."
In 1913, the Park Commission realized that there was no longer sufficient room in Como Park to grow the numerous plants needed for the park. The existing greenhouses were also in such poor repair that the plant collection was at risk. The Park Commission allocated $50 to plan construction of a new greenhouse.
Nussbaumer worked with Toltz Engineering to design a large glass structure. In 1914, "a new greenhouse for Como Park" was included in a $280,000 bond issue for park improvements and plans were put in place to build the Como Park Conservatory, which still stands today. A new location was identified southwest of the existing greenhouses. The King Construction Company of Tonawanda, New York, built the Como Conservatory for $58,825. Frederick Nussbaumer’s twenty-year dream was realized when the conservatory was opened to the public on November 7, 1915. People from all over the world came to visit. For the first time, visitors could see St. Paul’s annual exhibition of chrysanthemums in one location while listening to Snyder’s Orchestra at the same time.
In addition to Como Park, other improvements made during Nussbaumer’s thirty-year tenure as superintendent likely included Crown Hill Park, Lexington Parkway, Cherokee Heights Boulevard, the Approach to the Minnesota Capitol, Johnson Parkway (for which Nussbaumer prepared plans in 1912 and 1921, Kenwood Park, Dunning Field, Linwood Park, Wheelock Park (1909), Hidden Falls Park, Cherokee Heights Park, Langford Park (where Nussbaumer prepared a proposal for a pool and later development study), Midway Park (for which Nussbaumer prepared a plan c. 1901), Harriet Island, the Mississippi River Boulevard (for which Nussbaumer prepared an early development plan), Summit Lookout Park (c. 1900), Point of View Park (1891), Merriam Terrace Park (for which Nussbaumer prepared a design for the bandstand and general development plan), Central Park, Lafayette Park, Lake Iris Park and Playground and Irvine Park.
As Wirth and Nussbaumer led park development in Minnesota, German immigration to Michigan also contributed to the development of the landscape of that state. Anton Eckstrom served as park superintendent in Detroit in 1881. Eckstrom Park in the city is named for him.
Monroe, Michigan, was soon considered the garden center of Michigan and Ilgenfritz was not alone in the nursery business in the city. In addition to nurserymen of English descent, John C.W. Greening, a native of Seebach, Prussia, settled in Monroe, in 1852. Greening was born on June 25, 1827. After his schooling he entered the service of Baron Von Berlespsch, who at that time was one of the most respected nurserymen in Germany. Under the Baron’s guidance, Greening studied the care and propagation of trees and shrubs, as well as landscape gardening and floriculture. In Monroe Greening entered the employment of Norman Haskell as a gardener. A year later, Greening married a native of Bavaria, Mary D. Schuetz. In 1856, he entered into a partnership with Thomas Whelpsley creating their first nursery on an acre and one half of ground, the River Raisin Valley Nursery on Dunbar Road. Whelpsley retired in 1863, and John Greening continued his business. By the time he turned the business over to his two eldest sons in 1888 he had a farm of two hundred acres, one hundred ten of which where in nursery. John’s son Charles E. Greening continued to grow the company expanding the operation to 1,500 acres. By 1895, Charles was publishing the North American Horticulturalist, a monthly newspaper in English and German. Charles also started the Greening Horticulture and Landscape Art School at the nursery, even building a "fraternity house" on the nursery grounds where students live. He also published the Greening Pictorial System of Landscape Gardening. His son, Benjamin, studied landscape architecture and botany at Harvard. His father and mentor, John Greening, died in July 1908.
From Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota the influence of German landscape architects continued westward. In Indiana, George Kessler [1862-1923] prepared park and boulevard plans for Indianapolis, South Bend, Terre Haute, and Fort Wayne during the first decades of the twentieth century. In Fort Wayne, another former employee of George Engelmann’s Missouri Botanical Garden made his mark on a Midwestern city. Adolph Jaenicke [1860-1948] was the son of a prominent landscape architect in Berlin. Born there in 1860, he studied landscape architecture and horticulture at Berlin University and then did seven years of graduate study in England, Italy, and Switzerland. He met and married his wife, Lina, in Zurich Switzerland. As a young man, Jaenicke won a nationwide competition for the beautification of the city of Solothurn, Switzerland. Following this success, he became internationally known when he was named superintendent and manager of one of the largest seed-growing firms in the world at Erfurt, Germany (likely Haage and Schmidt).
In 1893, Jaenicke’s reputation led W. Atlee Burpee, owner of one of America’s largest seed-producing firms, to come to Europe. "I want you to come to America and teach us to grow flower seeds," Burpee said. At the company’s headquarters in Philadelphia, Jaenicke became one of the first seed experts in the United States. Like many of the German landscape architects that came to this country, Jaenicke was well educated and displayed a broad love for the arts. Shortly after his arrival in the United States, he sang at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. After a period with Burpee, Jaenicke took charge of the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Because of his wife’s health, he then went to Colorado where he built one of the most important golf courses in the state.
In 1917, Burpee again came calling for his services. On his way back to Philadelphia, his train pulled into Fort Wayne, Indiana, for repairs. What was to be a two-hour stop lasted the rest of his life and dramatically changed the face of the city. While the train was being repaired, Jaenicke headed to a local hotel for dinner. There he made the chance acquaintance of Colonel David N. Foster, then head of the city’s park board. Foster offered Jaenicke a job as superintendent of the city’s parks and city forester. At the time of Jaenicke’s arrival the city had but two parks.
Jaenicke believed that better parks could be gained by teaching children an appreciation of flowers. "Teach the children to grow and love flowers and you will have better and better parks always." While in London in 1886, Jaenicke had worked with children in the parks. By the time he left that city a year later, he had trained over 1,000 children in the art of flower-growing. "At first in the parks in Fort Wayne, the children ran wild and did a great deal of damage among the flower plantings. So I started working on the idea of giving them flower gardens and showing them how to grow flowers . . .today we have 20,000 children growing flowers in our children gardens." The Childrens’ Flower Growing Association, assisted by 200 members of parent-teacher groups, accepted children from the third to the eighth grade. Children were given seeds and plants and taught by the Park Department to grow flowers.
"I think," Jaenicke said, "one reason why the people of Fort Wayne support everything we want to do for park betterment is because many of the children who learned to love flowers in our children’s gardens have now grown up and still are interested."
His love of parks and gardens continued all of his life. Although his advanced age made it difficult for him to go about his duties, the Park Board allowed him to work past the required retirement age. While the actual supervision of the heavier work was given to Howard Van Gunten, the assistant superintendent, Jaenicke continued to supervise the park workers in caring for flower gardens and young trees and shrubs. A year before his death, he traveled to New Jersey to personally inspect a large delivery of plant material before shipping to Fort Wayne.
When Jaenicke died on September 1, 1948, at the age of eighty-eight, the city’s system had grown to thirty-nine parks. Five miles of parkways and twelve miles of riverfront were also improved under his direction. It is said that more than 24,000 trees were planted under his direction.
The Jaenicke Gardens in Swinney Park and the Rose Gardens in Lakeside Park are considered his two greatest accomplishments. In 1926 and 1927, public protests over the odors from and the general unsightliness of Junk Ditch led to the creation of a park. The land had been used as a dumping ground for slaughterhouses from the packing plants and other industries in the area. Lead by Councilman Harry M. McMillen, the Common Council allocated several thousand dollars to create the gardens.
The Sunken Rose Gardens at Lakeside Park became known as among the most beautiful in the nation, with 23,000 plants of 500 varieties. The water lily gardens, peony gardens, and iris gardens of other parks received Jaenicke’s constant attention.
In addition to Kessler and Jaenicke’s work in Fort Wayne, German gardeners were also active in Indianapolis. By 1850, Germans accounted for 12.9% of the population. As they had in other cities, the Germans opened the city’s first breweries. Establishments such as John Huegele’s Summer Garden and the Sommergarten (Biergarten) of the Deutsches Haus-Athenaeum provided entertainment for the city’s residents. German immigrants formed Turnvereins in the city. The Bertermann Floral Company was the largest garden supplier in the state. German gardeners were so prevalent in Indianapolis during the period that they formed the Gartenverein, a separate association of German gardeners in the city. Given the strength of the German population in Indianapolis, it is not surprising that the city hired George Kessler to prepare its first comprehensive park and boulevard plan in 1907.
At Oldfields, the great estate of the Lilly family near Indianapolis, Ernst Michel [ ] served as head gardener. Michel was born in Germany, apprenticing in his native country and Romania, immigrating to the United States to work at his aunt’s greenhouses in Huntington, Indiana, in 1927. He quickly moved to the Roepke Floral Company in Indianapolis, then the largest grower of cut flowers and potted plants in the city.
Upon the recommendation of Mr. Roepke, young Ernst soon left for the newly built estate of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh McK. Landon, Oldfields, in the town of Woodstock, Indiana. There he assumed all responsibility for producing the flowers and vegetables needed for the family, guests, and staff. Michel continued a process of lifelong learning, attending growers’ meetings at Purdue University, participating in a local florists’ association, and winning blue ribbons for his prize chrysanthemums, dahlias, and carnations at flower shows and fairs throughout the region. When Mr. and Mrs. J.K. Lilly Jr. purchased Oldfield in 1932, Michel stayed on, adding responsibility for the estate’s greenhouses to his charge.
German-Americans were influential in creating the parks and gardens of other Midwestern cities. In Burlington, Iowa, German-American landscape designers contributed to the development of Crapo Park in the city. Charles H.W. Starker [1826-1900], who was a native of Stuttgart, Württemberg, Germany, and had trained in architecture and landscape design at the polytechnical school of Stuttgart, began a small design practice. Although Starker eventually settled into a career as a grocer, he continued his design work, preparing a plan for the addition to Aspen Grove Cemetery from 1875-1900, and plans for Snake Alley, Crapo Park, and North Hill Park in the city.
Starker collaborated in the design of these various park improvements with William Steyh [1845-1918], a native of Kesselbauch, Hesse-Barmstadt, Germany. In addition to his work with Starker, Steyh was responsible for the landscape development of the State Hospital for the Insane at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, [1871-1872] and the cemetery grounds at Centerville, Iowa [1897].
Starker was also assisted in his efforts to create Crapo Park by Jerome Bock [1822-1906], a local nurseryman and German immigrant trained at the Prussian Imperial Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens in London. Like Adolph Strauch, Bock was born in Glatz, Prussia. In 1851, he immigrated to Montreal to become "gardener to a gentleman." After a five-year stay in Boston, he settled in Burlington, Iowa, in 1856, joining with the Nealley Brothers' to create the Nealley Brothers and Bock Nursery. Bock's home grounds at 2600 Madison Road in the city were known for the "ornamental triumphs of the gardener's art."
Jerome Bock's nephew, Ernst Bock [1848-1914] was a Burlington park commissioner, and proprietor of Sunnyside Nursery in the city. Like Jerome, Ernst Bock was trained in landscape gardening. His father was a florist and landscape gardener in charge of the greenhouses for a baron in Silesia, Germany, and his grandfather, Joseph, was a gardener to a nobleman in Glatz, Prussia. Another of the first park commissioners in Burlington was Edward Hagemann, Starker's partner in the grocery business, who had been trained in forestry in Germany.
In Topeka, Kansas, where Kessler prepared plans for Gage Park in 1901, the park superintendent was Anton Reinisch [1848-1929]. Ernest F. Anton Reinisch was born and educated in Germany and immigrated to Kansas at the age of 23. Here he was employed first as landscape architect for the University of Kansas, and then he served in a similar capacity with the Santa Fe Railway Company. In the spring of 1900, he moved to Topeka where he lived until his death on December 2, 1929, at the age of 81. By the time of his death, the Topeka park system had grown to a network of twenty-two parks comprising approximately 350 acres. Reinisch prepared plans for Edgewood Park [1913], Sanitorium Park [1914], Ripley Park [1918], Central Park [1922], Chesney Park [1922], Children's Park [1922], City Park [1922, initially designed by George Kessler], East Lawn Park, Euclid Park [1922], Gage Park [also initially designed by George Kessler], Garfield Park [1922], Holiday Park [1922], Hunton Park [1922], Lakewood Park [1922], Willow Park [1922], West Lawn Park [1922], and Washburn Park [1922].
Foremost among Reinisch's park designs was Gage Park, which contained almost every tree and shrub known to grow in the Kansas region. Just prior to his death, he was laying out a new rose garden in the 5.4-acre park, which was later named in Reinisch's honor. Reinisch was also responsible for the landscaping of Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka and a master plan for Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas [1908].
As Germans spread throughout the Midwest, they also populated the Gulf Coast immigrating through the ports of New Orleans and Galveston. In New Orleans, German gardeners and landscape designers shaped the landscape of the city and of the Côte Des Allemands (The German Coast) region of Louisiana in what is now St. John the Baptist Parish.
From the earliest years of Louisiana, Germans provided a major contribution to the horticultural knowledge of the region. "Few early French settlers had agricultural skills or interest in acquiring them. Native Americans, African slaves, and German and Swiss immigrants filled this vacuum of farming expertise. German farmers, who were particularly industrious, became notable providers of produce grown on small farms with narrow plots facing the river." In addition to their contribution to the agricultural landscape of Louisiana, they undoubtedly influenced the design of the built landscape as well.
Little is known about the specific designers of landscapes in the famous Garden District of New Orleans. Frederick Starr has stated, "Visitors to the Garden District during its heyday were duly impressed by the stately homes, but they invariably saved their most extravagant praise for the lush plantings that gave the suburb its name." Little information survives about the 19th-century gardens of the city as surviving 19th-century paintings and photographs provide only glimpses. Start has also stated that, "Except for an Alsatian whom James Robb brought in to plan and install his garden, no evidence has yet been found of landscape architects working in the Garden District, nor is there firm proof that the architects who designed the houses designed the grounds as well."
Starr went on to state that although the names of the landscape architects were unknown, the identity of the landscape gardeners was clear. "Nearly half of the Garden District gardeners registered in the 1860 U.S. Census were immigrants from Germany, with another quarter from Ireland, and the rest from England, France, and Louisiana."
Just as German immigrants through the port of New Orleans would shape the landscape of Louisiana, immigrants through the port of Galveston would influence the landscape of Texas. German settlement movement played a significant role in the development of Texas and with it came nurserymen and landscape gardeners who shaped the character of the new Republic of Texas. Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer [ ], who frequently corresponded with George Engelmann, was but one of more than a dozen German-Americans who established the nursery business in Texas. Lindheimer was one of the German intellectuals who found himself in conflict with German authorities and came to the United States seeking freedom. He lived first in the German communities of the Mississippi River Valley (where he met George Engelmann), and then came to Texas as a member of a volunteer company that rose to help Sam Houston defeat the Mexicans. After the Texas Revolution, he attempted farming around Houston but "found it unsatisfactory, either because he did not like it or because he discovered a ‘weakness in the lungs’ that forced him to a less arduous way of life." Lindheimer had earlier collected plants in Mexico. Engelmann wrote to botanist Asa Gray at the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard convincing him that Texas specimens could be used in Gray’s research and then sold for Lindheimer’s benefit. Lindheimer was not the first plant collector in Texas (Scotsman Thomas Drummond had explored the area in 1833), but many of his extensive findings in the Houston-Galveston area in 1843, were new to the botanical world and named for him. Gaura lindheimeri, or false honeysuckle, is one of the most familiar.
From 1845 to 1847, Ferdinand Roemer [ ] visited the region and described with great enthusiasm his approach to San Antonio: "The prairie appeared to me more as a charmed natural garden or park on a large scale. Countless blossoms . . .many of which had only recently been introduced in our garden (in Germany) as ornamental plants, such as Gaillardia picta and several species of coreopsis . . .formed natural flower gardens miles in extent . . .The cacti . . .were covered with sulphur-yellow blooms to such an extent that each one of the large fleshy leaves formed a garland of flowers. In the gardens of the city, the pomegranates and fig trees were resplendent in their dark green foliage."
Many of these individuals lived in the Texas Hill Country in the dozens of German-American settlements such as New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, or the Alsatian community of Castroville on the Medina River. Though many were botanists, three were also exceptional gardeners. Friedrich Ernst [ ? -d. 1858] was one of the first men to explore Texas in search of its botanical treasures. Ernst was by profession a gardener, having worked for the Grand Duke of Oldenburg before immigrating to Austin County, Texas, where he founded the settlement of Industry, Texas. The second was Louis Cochand Ervendberg [1809-1863], a friend and student of Ernst. In May 1852, Ervendberg helped to found the Land- und Gartenbauverien of Comal County, Texas, like the Garten Verein of Indianapolis, an example of a professional association of German-American landscape gardeners. Ervendberg also established Waisenfarm, which Frederick Law Olmsted visited in 1854 and described in his Journey through Texas. The third was Otto Martin Locke. Locke formed Locke Nursery in New Braunfels. Still operating today at 2515 W. San Antonio Street, Locke Nursery is the oldest continuously operating plant nursery in Texas. On the grounds of Harry Landa estate, Locke developed an extensive collection of plant material at the end of the 19th century. This property subsequently was acquired by the city as Landa Park.
In addition to Lindheimer, Ernst, Ervendberg, and Locke, other Germans in the Hill Country of Texas left their mark on the landscape. Seibold of Dresden was also influential. German homes in the region were characterized by the absence of grass in their yards. "The practice of raking and sweeping the yard may very well be a carry-over from Germany. The sod-covered front yard so common to the American scene is an exception in Germany. In rural and urban areas, houses are built virtually against the street. A small courtyard usually functions as a service area. It is this courtyard that is kept meticulously clean and free of grass. There are, of course, the rather convincing reasons expressed by the residents in Texas that grass is not permitted to grow because 'its just too costly in a dry area and, besides, it would make a fine hiding place for snakes.' Without being dogmatic in accepting one or the other explanation, it may, nevertheless, be suggested that the German custom of grassless and swept yards was ideally suited to the problems of the new locale." Flowerbeds were primarily confined within brick-bound beds.
In Castroville, each settler had a house in town "with more than a generous garden about it," as well as a farm close to the village. Count Castro described his own garden in his diary of 1847: "Had my three-acre lot, on which my stone house stands, prepared for planting with the view of making a small garden in order to try out the culture of cotton, tobacco, sugar-cane, and the cereals of Europe as well as the vine and fruit trees . . .vegetables flourish in the little garden I have planted. We get already radishes, salads, and onions."
San Antonio, like the other cities and towns of the Hill Country landscape of which Roemer wrote, also attracted German immigrants with over 30,000 moving to the city before the Civil War. As a result, historians tend to consider San Antonio a German city. Many of the Germans were Roman Catholic and tended to settle along the Alamo Ditch (the Acequia Madre) southwest of the Medina River. This area became known as "the Little Rhine." As they had in other cities around the country, the Germans did not seek to assimilate into the culture of the city but rather sought to recreate their European culture in the city. A German school was located on South Alamo Street in 1859, dedicated to Friedrich Schiller. The school was dedicated to two main principles: one, that religious instruction would be prohibited, and secondly, that German and English would receive equal instruction. The school drew students from throughout the state and was recognized as one of the outstanding cultural institutions in 19th-century Texas.
One of the first newspapers in the city was the German language press, the San Antonio Zeitung, established in 1848. The focal point of German culture in the city was for years, the Casino Club, open only to ethnic Germans and to U.S. Army officers (Robert E. Lee spent off-duty hours there). The club’s patrons were highly interested in the arts and sponsored many operas and other performing arts. The membership consisted mainly of well-heeled Germans and wealthy local businessmen who conversed in German (the official language) while at the club.
These prominent Germans built the King William neighborhood, named for King Wilhelm I of Prussia (who later became German emperor) as a showplace of stately German homes. Ernst Hermann Altgelt who also laid out Comfort, Texas, planned the area. For more than a generation, King William, was the most prestigious address in the city and was sometimes referred to as Sauerkraut Bend. Many of the homes had magnificent gardens irrigated with water from the old Spanish acequias.
The dominant plant in these King Williams gardens was the rose. Reports of San Antonio in the 19th century are filled with references to fragrant old-fashioned roses. By the early 20th century, the city was known as a city of roses: pink and red Radiance, Duchess of Brabant, Jacqueminot, Moss, white and yellow Lady Banksia, Kaiserin Augusta Victoria, and Marechal Neil.
In addition, there were old-fashioned coxcomb, plumbago, pansies, Johnny jump-ups, seisennelken, snowdrops, stock, and tuberoses. According to a descendant of the Beckmann family, every German garden had asparagus for foliage only, oleanders in tubs, and kange liebe, a type of lavendar bush. "Mrs. Albert Beckmann’s theory was: ‘A garden is not a good garden unless you have a flower for every month of the year.’" The Staffel home at 220 Arciniega Street was a typically pioneer garden with native trees, shrubs, and plants used medicinally as well as ornamentally.
Perhaps the grandest garden in the San Antonio neighborhood was that of Wulff’s Castle, located appropriately at the corner of Garden and King William. Built by A. F. Wulff, a city alderman for several terms and mayor pro tem, the gardens surrounding his homestead were filled with towering cedars and grass plots with blooming and fruit trees. A native of Hamburg, Wulff immigrated to Texas in 1848 becoming a successful merchant in the city.
One of Wulff’s chief interests was horticulture, and he conceived the idea of transforming the barren squares of Alamo, Main, and Military plazas into green spaces for the city. Granted permission to pursue his plans during the term of Mayor French (1875-85), Wulff made the improvements at his own expense. "Every seedling, every sapling he tended with his own hand, and was overjoyed with the progress of every little plant and tree." As a result, he is considered the founder of the San Antonio park system.
Appointed by Mayor George W. Brackenridge, Ludwig Mahncke served as Wulff’s successor as park commissioner. In 1899, on a parcel of land donated by the widow of beer baron Otto Koehler, Mahncke, in 1899 began the development of the park. He envisioned it as "a driving park more than a picnic place,"laying out a drive that skirted the river. Brackenridge furnished an entrance and exit over a fringe of his land and built a sturdy fence around the park. Mahncke Park is named in his honor.
Other Germans contributed to the development of parks in the city as well. In 1718, the area around San Pedro Springs was selected as the birthplace of the city of San Antonio. It was declared an ejido (public land) in 1729,when Philip V, the Spanish king, granted six leagues of land for the creation of the city. San Pedro Park as it is now known is generally considered the oldest recreation area in the state.
By 1851, city fathers recognized the potential for recreation of a site known at San Pedro Springs and in that year declared a portion of this land, approximately forty-six acres, a public park. "They allocated a square about the Springs, 518 varas from East to West and 550 varas from North to South for this purpose." The park caught the attention of Frederick Law Olmsted on his travels to Texas. Jacob J. Duerler (originally Dürler before anglicized), a native of Switzerland, William Miller (originally Muller) was one of the first to have concessions and amusements in the park. He is credited with making many improvements including the planting of trees and shrubs, the construction and stocking of five artificial lakes, and development of footpaths encircling the lakes.
By 1874 a national magazine wrote of the Springs: "The San Pedro is commonly known as a creek, but has many a beautiful nook along its banks; and in one of them the Germans have established their beer gardens, at what is called ‘San Pedro Springs.’ There, in the long Sunday afternoons, hundreds of families are gathered, drinking beer, listening to music and singing, playing with the fawns, or gazing into the bear garden and the den of the Mexican panther. There, too, the Turnverein takes its exercise; and in a long hall dozens of German children waltz, under the direction of a gray-haired old professor, while two spectacled masters of the violin make music. This is the Sunday rendezvous of great numbers of the citizens of San Antonio, German and American, and is as merry, as free from vulgarity or quarreling, as any beer garden in Dresden the fair…"
By the 1880’s the park was considered "almost as famous as the Alamo itself." The park was accessed by a formal flower garden along a circuitous and shady carriage driveway that became San Pedro Avenue. In his 1882 Guide Book, Stephen Gould described the park and gardens: "The former lessee, the late G. A. Duerler [J. J. Duerler], made the beautifying of this grove the special work of the latter part of his life. He caused numerous little ponds and lakes to be excavated, and so connected by small covered water-ways with the head springs that they are always supplied with pure water, in whose clear depths are seen rare fish sporting among the beautiful ferns which cover the bottom of ponds, save where other springs boil up and add fresh water from artesian sources."
"The main lake is quite a large body of water, with a foot bridge across it, and immediately connected with the head springs, while numerous other springs feed it from the bottom and cause the water to be beautifully clear and delightfully cool even during the tropical heat of our summer months. In this lake are several romantic little islands, which can be visited by means of pleasure boats which are kept here."
"The tropical garden . . contains many beautiful and wonderful specimens of cacti, as well as other plants, which have no protection during the most severe winter weather months here." Gould advised: "No one should visit San Antonio without visiting this popular resort. On Sunday afternoons it is especially crowded, and every night is well lighted, and with the band playing and the dancing pavilion [sic] well filled with graceful dancers, no more pleasant place can be found to pass a few hours in harmless recreation."
By 1885, the city’s first museum, devoted to natural history, was constructed in the park and apparently included a menagerie of animals. An 1894 account stated: "A most interesting feature of San Pedro Park is the really extensive and well selected menagerie and museum, containing naught but the products of the hills and forests of Texas and tropical America. Few realize the wide range of the fauna of this country of ours until brought face to face . . with its living representatives. There are several varieties of bears, mountain lions from the Sierras, leopards, panthers and wild cats, elk, deer and antelope, wolves, foxes, and smaller beasts, birds and reptiles in great variety." Gustav Jermy, a Hungarian naturalist, moved into the park and became superintendent of the new attraction.
A new park of 260 acres was created along the San Antonio River and was named for Mayor Brackenridge in 1899 and drew some of the activity formerly reserved for San Pedro Springs. J.J. Duerler’s lease passed to his son and then to Frederick Kreble. In 1891 with the expiration of Kerble’s lease, the city took over the property, naming Frank Krisch as the first custodian. Two years later, church and temperance groups ended the selling of alcoholic beverages in a public park. The menagerie became the first city zoo in 1910 but in 1915 it was moved to Brackenridge Park. Over the years, wells drilled along the San Pedro also diminished the intensity of the springs making swimming in the springs impossible. The work of J. J. Duerler, however, still delights San Antonians today.
The Hill Country and San Antonio were not the only areas of Texas where German gardeners influenced the built landscape of the city. The German population of Houston was second only to the Anglo-American at the turn of the 19th century. Settlers from northern Germany began to arrive in the early 1830s. While most plantations in the area had been established in the east and south of what is now Harris County, the Germans settled in the north and west, so much so that the area approximately ten miles above Harrisburg along Buffalo Bayou was known as Germantown. Just west of this area, the City of Houston was founded in 1836.
Residents of the new city wasted no time in planting gardens and fruit trees upon their arrival. Only early landmark in the city was the round tent of Henry Kesler. Kesler had a garden "about ten miles from Houston, where Mulberry trees and unusually high corn were raised and which the owners planned to make accessible for the public." "A man who was undoubtedly Kesler’s supplier and customer owned a racecourse and a plantation three miles out of town where he grew garden fruits and vegetables that were sold in Market Square. Gustav Dresel reported that this man realized a thousand dollars a year by his sale of mint alone. ‘This plant, like woodruff with us, is used for a drink which Americans appreciate greatly and which is known as mint julep throughout America.’ It is not known when Phineas Jenks Mahan put in his garden in the bend of Buffalo Bayou near the later site of Jefferson Davis Hospital, but it was at least some time before December 4, 1841. On that date an advertisement offered free garden seeds ‘warranted the growth of 1841.’ The seeds were for sale in the Market House, during market hours and at all times at Mr. Wm. Dankewerth’s store opposite the market. Mahan sold produce and seeds to Houstonians for thirty years."
"Some early writers maintain that German settlers introduced vegetables to Texas and that the Anglo settlers did not have vegetable gardens. Early travelers, principally Germans, complained about the monotonous diet of Texans: cornbread, bacon, sweet potatoes, and coffee, three times a day. Apparently this was the standard meal offered to travelers for one dollar, no matter what time of day they arrived. Correspondence of the time indicates that this was the practice of certain settlers both to accommodate newcomers and make money in the process; better food and a more balanced diet were available from plantation households without charge. Terry Jordan, of German descent himself, states that research indicates that Anglo-Americans and all other ethnic groups, except the blacks, grew and served vegetables as soon as they could plant a garden after settling."
In 1844, architect F. Jacob Rothhaas, came to Houston, probably from New York, at the request of two other New York immigrants, Erastus S. Perkins and George Allen, a brother of Houston’s founder. Perkins was noted for his orchard of apple and quince but he had other plans for Rothhaas. "On January 27, 1844, the Telegraph and Texas Register carried an advertisement of European and American grape cuttings for sale by Jacob Rothhaas, with orders to be addressed to E. S. Perkins." On July 31, 1844, the Telegraph reprinted an article from the Cincinnati newspaper which read: "Texas is said to be one of the finest grape growing countries in the world . . .a gentleman of Cincinnati received lately 500 cuttings . . .of Post Oak Grapes of Texas- a purple grape of fair size free from pulp, and of an excellent flavor, either as fruit or making wine. They came from Mr. Perkins, at Houston who has a vineyard containing 10,000 rooted vines. " At least some of these it seems had been produced by Jacob Rothmans.
Jacob Rothhaas is known to be the architect and possibly the landscape designer of George Allen’s plantation near the city. Allen had been given land by the city, possibly on Sloop Point. In 1845, he painted a watercolor of this house and garden, showing a picket fence surrounding the property. Native trees and grass provided the basic design of the property. "Near the front gate, a fairly large magnolia was blooming, and other plantings had been added to enhance the beauty of the entrance: three blooming white crepe myrtles, three white altheas with rose pink centers, and immediately to the right of the path at the gate were pomegranate bushes. Several kinds of wildflowers, ferns, and palmettos seemed to be springing up through the grass-covered lawn, while the owners standing in the driveway surveyed the scene."
Germans continued to arrive in Texas with the Verein settlements in the 1840s. By 1850, forty percent of Houston’s population was German. Galveston, forty miles south of the city, was a major port of entry for ships from Hamburg and Bremen. The uncle of George Kessler, Frederick Kessler, was said to be the first landscape gardener in Galveston, Texas. He was one of over 1,000 Texans killed in the great Galveston hurricane of 1900. In the city, the Garten Verein built a dancing pavilion, a focal point of social life in the community. This, too, was destroyed in the great storm.
"Frederick Law Olmsted came to Texas in 1854 to write a series of journalistic reports on life in the South. An abolitionist, he found much to criticize in antebellum Texas, but he approved of the Germans, admired the magnolia trees of Houston, and described the city: ‘It shows many agreeable signs of the wealth accumulated, in homelike, retired residences, its large and good hotel, its well-supplied shops, and its shaded streets. The principal thoroughfare, opening from the steamboat landing, is the busiest we saw in Texas.’"
In 1871, a fairgrounds was set up south of Houston. The stock market crash of 1873 led to the cancellation of the fair in 1874. The horticulturalists found another venue for their activities in 1875 with the formation of the Texas Horticultural Society in 1875. Eventually, however, the fairgrounds were reopened and an acre setaside for the Germans’ Volkfest, which they had been celebrating in the city since 1869. "A Parade featuring floats and King Gambrinus, the German Bacchus, usually led the way to the Fairgrounds. Here on an acre of land decorated with flags and evergreens would be swings, dancing circles, seats, benches, and booths for the sale of lemonade, ice cream, sherbet, venison, beer, pies and perhaps ‘solid shot’ for older people."
No doubt in part because of the popularity of the Volkfest and the extension of a trolley line to the area, the Settegast brothers bought land adjacent to the fairgrounds and built a house large enough for their two families. Their garden well illustrates the traditions maintained by Germans in Houston at the time. Trees were trimmed by pollarding; removing all the small branches and cutting the main limbs back fairly close to the trunk. This produced a multi-branched growth in the spring and produced a pleasantly shaped tree. A severely simple landscape was softened by the charming arched arbor placed at the front entrance. Over time the Germans in Houston moved away from specifically German neighborhoods and merged their garden expertise with the city’s general body of landscape knowledge.
One of the first florists and nurseries in Houston was Kutschbach Florists, located at 2526 Washington Avenue across the street from Glenwood Cemetery and near a hospital on property that belonged to Mrs. Kutschbach’s family, the Proetzels. The Proetzels’ had been one of the earliest German families to settle in Houston. Their property was surrounded by a picket fence with a raked yard beyond which was a greenhouse The front yard had raised flower beds with gravel walks. There were trees around which ferns were planted including pear, persimmon, and fig trees. As was common in German gardens, there was no grass. Because of the land’s proximity to the cemetery, the Kutschbach business began rather informally with the sale of flowers from the garden to families and friends coming to visit loved ones’ graves on Sunday after church. These occasional sales evolved into a business of providing floral decorations and plants for all kinds of special occasions. Mrs. Kutschbach supervised the care and production of flowers and shrubs, while her son August and his cousin Henry Blecker made the deliveries and did the decorating. Mr. Kutschbach went off on frequent plant-collecting expeditions and on one occasion to Mexico brought back the first poinsettias Houstonians had ever seen. For seasonal demand, great quantities of flowers were grown, including lilies for Easter, geraniums for summer, chrysanthemums for fall, and poinsettias for Christmas. Bedding plants were also propagated and either sold or set out to grow in fields for use in floral decorating. German representatives appeared in Houston every year to take orders for Holland bulbs. The Kutschbachs’ owned sixty acres in Houston Heights and eventually had twenty-two greenhouses; seven next to their house on Washington Avenue, a few nearby on Center Street, and the rest on their large farm on Katy Road, where they grew most of the flowers and plants they needed for their floral decorating business. By the turn of the century, the Kutschbach’s were one of the largest horticultural businesses in the city.
Another German immigrant, Frederick W. Thurow, was also active at the turn of the century and made a significant contribution to plant knowledge. Thurow migrated first to Hockley, Texas, and then to Houston Heights, where he owned a small nursery at 601 West 13th Street. Although Thurow sold plants, he spent every spare moment collecting and identifying native plants and the hardy introductions to the Houston area. His herbaria are now found in the Thurow Collection at Sam Houston State College, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, providing a priceless resource of the native flora of the region.
Landscape development in the city evolved at the turn of the 19th century from garden making to the development of parks and residential areas. A plat for Houston Heights, a completed, planned community dated 1890 appears to be the work of a design professional but unfortunately the name of the designer is unknown. " The long rectangular grid of sixty-two blocks is bisected on the north-south axis by an esplanaded boulevard, running almost the whole length of the town. A formally landscaped park was indicated northwest of the north end of the boulevard; a streetcar railway ran along the boulevard, turned past the park area and back down the boulevard on across the bayou to the city of Houston some three miles distant. A plat circa 1893 indicated a more naturalistic plan for the park with curving drives. Apparently the park was never built". L.D. Folse installed the esplanade planting on the boulevard, the first of its kind in Harris County and one of the earliest in Texas. Trees were cut to make way for streets but were left standing on residential lots to enhance the landscaping around future homes."
Houston Heights was instructive regarding the value of comprehensive planning, but Houstonians were also in touch with suburban developments in other cities, most notably St. Louis. The ties between St. Louis and Houston were strong because of their shared status as railroad centers and because of the personal connections among leaders in the railroad business." There was also undoubtedly a close connection between the large German populations in both cities.
The St. Louis private places which became the model for similar developments in Houston were relatively small, one or two streets a few blocks long, conforming to the city grid pattern but owned and maintained by the property owners; ornamental gates marked the entrances. The layout used landscaping to create a park-like setting within the area and often included a protective strip of green around the outer perimeter. Deed restrictions established high minimum standards in the places, which were intended as enclaves for the civic mercantile elite in outlying suburban areas. Two of the most prestigious of the St. Louis places were Westmoreland Place and Portland Place, laid out by the German-born engineer Julius Pitzman.
Houston’s first new, planned residential area was Westmoreland, organized south of the city in 1902 and annexed the next year. In August 1906, the Courtlandt Improvement Company bought 15.47 acres along the northern boundary of Westmoreland and named it Courtlandt Place. In 1907, Avondale was developed north of Courtlandt and the Bute Addition south of Westmoreland. In 1906 and 1908 respectively, the Hyde Park and Cherryhurst additions were established to the northwest. In 1911, J.W. Link developed Montrose, incorporating all of the land to the west of these earlier developments. Westmoreland, Courtlandt, and Montrose were clearly modeled after the St. Louis private places.
Also during this period, George Edward Kessler designed Shadyside, a residential subdivision adjacent to Rice University and Hermann Park, the great park of the city of Houston.
In the early decades of the 20th century the florist and nursery businesses became more distinct. Among the major nursery operations to emerge was Sellers and Dorlund.
In Denver, Colorado, where George Kessler prepared the first park system plan in 1907, John B. Lang, a German immigrant become Denver’s first park superintendent. Lang was born on September 10, 1861, in Bavaria. Lang was educated as a landscape gardener and greenhouse manager. He immigrated to the United States in February, 1881, arriving in Denver in April on April 9th. He first worked for John L. Russell and George Broun at their greenhouse in the Curtis Park neighborhood. In 1892, we went to work for the City of Denver when the department of public works was created. During the winter of 1898-99 he became superintendent of Washington Park, directing the actual construction with teams, scrapers, and hand shovels. The first tree was planted in 1900. The large lake that is the focus of Washington Park had been a natural pond and buffalo wallow. The construction of the City ditch provided a steady supply of water for the lake.
In 1907 he was made superintendent of City Park, and recommended Adam Kohankie as his successor at Washington Park. He served at City Park until 1912. From 1917 until 1931 he was in charge of Cheesman Park.
Reinhold Shuetze [1860-1909], a native of Holstein, Germany, served as park superintendent. Like George Kessler, Shuetze was trained in the Royal Gardens in Potsdam. At the age of 28 he graduated from the school of Forestry at Eberswalde. Shortly after graduation in 1890, he came to Denver to lay out Fairmount Cemetery. Four years later the Denver Park Board employed him. His first task was the redevelopment of City Park. He also designed Washington Park [1899], Congress Park (now Cheesman) [1890], plus all the parks on the north side of the city: Platte Park [1896]; Chaffee Park [1894], Highland Park [1899], and Jefferson Park [1899]. Schuetze received the first prize of $500 awarded by the state in the competition for design of the capital grounds. A newspaper article of the period stated, "Schuetze was more interested in his art than in making money. Those who have watched his career declare that had he desired, he could have become a wealthy man by acting as a consulting architect, but he never sought employment of that kind, although much of it came to him voluntarily."
In Butte, Montana, copper baron William Clark opened Columbia Gardens. a grand amusement park for the mining families of the community, on June 4, 1899. Although Clark’s motives were not entirely altruistic, (he also owned the Butte Electric Railway Company which accessed the park). Columbia Gardens was the centerpiece of the town and a showplace for the region. For seventy-four years, it would be known as the Garden Spot of the Rockies. In its first year of operation, the gardens attracted 150,000 visitors. By 1902, that number had grown to 375,000.
In creating the gardens, Clark hired Victor Siegel. Born on May 10, 1867, in Dresden, Germany, Victor "learned the florist and landscaping business in the local schools" in Dresden. Siegel immigrated to the United States in 1890 following other family members. He first settled in San Francisco, but left California for Butte, Montana, on October 25, 1890. There he took a number of jobs before securing a position with Mrs. Jenny Knox, who operated the first greenhouse in Montana. Siegel worked for Mrs. Knox for three years before he acquired 100 acres of land near Missoula and relocated to that city.
In 1899 he returned to Butte as the floral foreman for the Columbia Gardens. Four large greenhouses were built at the garden in 1900. Siegel and his family lived in the upper floor of one section of a greenhouse. In a short three-year period, over 80,000 plants were placed in the gardens. Siegel had 15 full-time employees at the greenhouse that grew over 150,000 flowers of various types. Under Siegel, Columbia Gardens became famous for its floral displays. Over 20,000 plants were utilized to spell out the words Columbia Gardens on the hillside south of the Grand Pavilion for the park’s first major floral display in 1901. Other flowerbeds over the years were turned into butterflies, anchors, stars, lyres, and the insignia of the Butte Miners’ Union. The butterfly contained over 2,000 pansies. The lyre required over 1,000 geraniums and 300 sweet alyssum. Also inside the garden was the insignia of Clark’s Anaconda Company made from over 350 pansies.
A special portion of the park was designated the Children’s Flower Garden. Siegel developed a hardy strain of pansies and planted over 25,000 of the plants each year. On Children’s Day and other special occasions, about one hundred children at a time were allowed inside the garden at two o’clock in the afternoon to pick the pansies for five minutes at a time. Workers taught the children how to properly pick the flowers and make a bouquet. "My pals use to call me ‘sissy’ for going inside the gardens to pick flowers," laughs former Butte resident Joe Yerkich. " I didn’t care. I would make a nice arrangement and give it to my mother. She loved it. So, it didn’t matter what the other boys said to me. It was worth it."

As the population of the country moved westward, German Americans landscape gardeners and horticulturalists followed the nursery trade and the railroads to the Pacific Coast and into the intermountain West. In the last half of the 19th century, nurseries such as Haage and Schmidt and Ernst Bernary of Erfurt, Germany, supplied plant materials to California. Curiously, cereus, echinopsis, and mamillaria, and other succulents that could have easily been obtained in Mexico, were part of their stock. H. H. Berger and F. Lodemann's of San Francisco provided plant material to the San Francisco Bay area in the 1870's.
Nurseryman John Rock, born in Oberhessen, Germany, of noble parents in 1836, immigrated to the United States at the age of 15. Until the outbreak of the Civil War he was employed in the seed business. He joined the Fifth Regiment of the New York Zouaves, conspicuous for their daring service and severe losses, and remained with the regiment for four years, taking part in nine battles. In 1866, he migrated to California, finding employment with James Lick. A few years later he founded the Rock Nurseries on the Milpitas Road. In 1884, he established at Niles, in Alameda County, the California Nurseries that covered over twenty-five hundred acres of land. It was said that he was directly responsible for introducing a larger number of trees and plants into California than any other man, including Luther Burbank. He died in 1904.
Frederick Roeding of Hamburg immigrated to Fresno, California, 1n 1849, and he purchased 80,000 acres of land. In 1883, he started the Fancher Creek Nurseries, seven miles east of the city, which in 1894 were transferred to his son, George C. Roeding, author of California Horticulture. A German settlement southwest of Los Angeles, Anaheim, became famous for the cultivation of oranges on a grand scale.
As they had in Missouri and Ohio, the Germans of California also distinguished themselves as vintners. In Kern County near Fresno, Germans from Hanover founded the Eggers Vineyard Company. Another German vintner, Charles Krug, was born in Trendelburg, Prussia, in 1825. After university education at Marburg, he came to Philadelphia as a teacher in the Free-Thinkers’ School. Hearing of the popular uprising in south Germany he returned to fight for freedom in the Fatherland in 1848. After nine months in prison he returned to Philadelphia in 1851. In 1858 he purchased a tract of land in Sonoma County and planted twenty acres of vines. That same year he made twelve-hundred gallons of wine for John Patchett of Napa, the first wine made in that valley. In 1860 he married and located to St. Helena in Napa Valley, increasing his holdings continuously, and planting the best European varieties of grapes.
Another prominent California vintner of German descent was William Palmtag, born in Baden in 1847, who found success in Hollister, California, in 1873. Others included C. Kohler, J. Dresel, H. Wohler, J. Beringer, W. Scheffler, G. Grozinger, I. De Turk, F. Eisen, T. Reiser, W. Koenig, T. Harzung, J. Schramm, C. Stern, J.L. Rose, B. Dreyfus, and Henry Kohler. Beringer and Schramm’s wineries are still in operation today. In the 1880s, Jacob Schramm laid out the gardens of his new Victorian home, Schramsberg, at 1400 Schramsberg Road in Calistoga, California. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote of the garden in his book, The Silverado Squatters, "There they lie basking in sun and silence, concealed from all but the clouds and the mountain birds . . his place is the picture of prosperity . . all trimness, varnish, flowers, and sunshine, among the tangled wildwood."
Other German-American landscape architects on the west coast included Johannes Reimers [ - ], a landscape gardener with the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley branch of the Santa Fe Railroad [the parent company of the railroad that employed George Kessler and Anton Reinisch]. Harvey Alspach [ - ] was appointed as Superintendent of Parks for the city between September 4, 1912, and resigned on September 22, 1914. When he eventually lost this position he wrote to Kessler seeking employment.
In Riverside, California, another German nurseryman and landscape gardener, Franz Phillip Hosp [1853-1936], produced a number of remarkable gardens. Hosp was born in Switzerland in 1853 and received his education and training on the continent. At nineteen, he moved to New York City and worked for a time with a cousin in Central Park. He then moved to Cincinnati where he had a successful nursery operation including twenty-one greenhouses.
In 1887, he was engaged by the Santa Fe Railroad to landscape the depot grounds from Albuquerque to the West Coast. Here he undoubtedly came in contact with George Kessler. In 1887, Hosp moved to Riverside. For eighteen years, he worked for the Santa Fe railroad. Like Rudolph Ulrich palms and cactus fascinated him. He planted spineless cactus at the San Bernardino depot and "was the first to grow large fields of flowers near Encinitas along the coastal right-of-way. At one time he had fifteen acres of calla lilies and carnations and the place was a tourist's paradise." These plantings were considered the first for the cut-flower trade in the state.
During this period, A.S. White became the moving spirit in Riverside for the acquisition of a city park, now known as White Park. About two acres of the park had been planted in cactus when Hosp was retained to create one of the great cactus collections in America. He sent all over the world for specimens. The 1908 annual report of the Smithsonian Institution and the New York Botanical Garden make mention of Hosp's work. There were over 300 varieties of cactus in the park including 100 from Arizona and New Mexico and 200 from Germany. This was considered to be the first garden entirely devoted to cactus in California.
In 1892, the Riverside Trust Company asked Mr. Hosp to plan the tree plantings along Victoria Avenue in Riverside. Also that year Ethan Allen Chase asked him to terrace and plant Victoria Hill. Hosp also designed numerous residential gardens in the city, including Hamlet Philpot's home at 6475 Victoria Avenue in 1892.
In October 1889, Priestley Hall, constructed on a twenty-acre site on the south side of Tequesquite Arroyo in Riverside a two-story adobe brick home. Hosp was retained to make his property the most attractive in town. "His once barren land became a beautiful park with flowering plants, pet peacocks that strutted about the grounds, and the olive-green Victorian house clinging to the hillside. Hosp designed the grounds of Raeburn Place in 1897. He transformed the barren knoll where the house was constructed into a beautiful garden with lawns and flowers growing in the center of a curving driveway. Hosp, the landscape expert for the entire Arlington Heights section, used the grounds near Raeburn as an experimental garden for rare and unusual plant importations. More than 20 varieties of trees were planted there including one carob tee that grew to cover a span of 70 feet. A summer house was built beneath its gnarled branches. Ivy crept up the redwood walls of the house and in time covered most of it. Birds found a welcome refuge in the gardens where winding paths led to an old sundial or to a seismograph installed to record earthquakes."
For Cornelius Rumsey and his wife, Hosp transformed their fifty-two acre site at 6700 Hawarden Drive in 1901. The Alta Cresta Rancho, as it was known, was transformed from brush and rocky land to citrus groves and homesites, ornamented with roses and trees. He planted blue palms, cork oaks, bottle trees, jacarandas, and shrubs along the roadways and along Victoria Avenue. Other residential projects included the________ (now the Fundenburg-Bliss House at 2575 Madison Street), and La Atalaya, the William Porter home at 5800 Hawarden Drive in the city. At La Atalaya, Hosp planted palms, eucalypti, and fir trees on the terraced hillside behind the house.
Clearly the greatest of Hosp's residential commissions was Cañon Crest. Here lush gardens stood out against the backdrop of the snow-covered San Bernardino Mountains. The 200- acre rocky ridge commanded panoramic views of the mountains to the north and San Timoteo Canyon to the south. Hosp transformed the hilltop into a lush paradise for the enjoyment of twin brothers Alfred H. and Albert K. Smiley. It was such a success that they generously opened their grounds to the public and Santa Fe Railroad trains stopped in Redlands to provide tours of the garden.
Two large reservoirs were constructed, and water was pumped up to them from the valley more than 200 feet below. This water sustained a landscape of great diversity: more than 1,000 species of trees and shrubs were planted in thick groves along several miles of drives that opened onto a chain of small ponds and lawns. Lavishly planted with lotus and water lilies, the ponds were overlooked by thatched huts and lined with wide ribbons of marguerite daisies. In front of the brothers' houses were parklike open lawns planted with specimen trees. At the edge of the ridge, the vegetation opened up to views of the mountains, with the large citrus orchards in the middle ground organized by avenues of palm and eucalyptus trees. These views integrated a carefully contrived foreground of rich color and texture, a geometric middle ground of glossy dark greens and vibrantly colored fruit, and a sublime background of stark, snow-capped mountains. These juxtapositions, which defied many visitors’ expectations, were frequently cited in articles and used in advertising images to attract potential settlers. To easterners suffering the intense cold and heavy snow of a typical winter, such images offered potent temptation.
Cañon Crest represents the zenith of flamboyance in 19th-century California garden design and horticultural achievement. Like Victorian gardens in England and other European countries, it was an overflowing cornucopia of plants from different ecological zones placed side by side and representing a triumph over nature. The creation of this floral paradise in such an intimidating and unlikely site also proclaimed the hidden triumph of hydrological engineering. Without heavy irrigation nothing at Cañon Crest, with the exception of desert plants, would have survived more than one season. The desire to transform the California landscape from its natural, usually arid condition to that of a lush Eden was deeply entrenched throughout the state.
Hosp's flower shop in the city was a beauty spot from 1888 to 1946. First, it consisted of a greenhouse and nursery, where seeds of native plants were collected and sent to other parts of the work. Hosp is credited with originating the Cecile Brunner and Papa Gontier climbing roses. In turn, the shop imported seeds of new plants including new varieties of eucalyptus from Australia.
During his lifetime, Franz Hosp prepared plans for parks in Pomona, Riverside and other neighboring towns.
"I remember as though it were yesterday my first morning in Riverside in 1909 with Ethan Allen Chase looking from his home on Victoria Hill at the beautiful and exotic ornamental trees which had been planted by Riverside's famous landscape gardener, Mr. F.P. Hosp. It was experiences like this that led me to settle in Riverside and many other residents have told me they decided to make their homes here for a similar reason."
One may speculate that Alspach, Hosp, Kessler, Reimers, and Reinisch were all active members of the Society of Railroad Gardeners, an important professional organization of the period. Perhaps German landscape architects formed a network with their colleagues in their native land and secured posts for their former countrymen when they became available on the railroads.
In the 1880s Rudoph Ulrich [1841-1906], who would later serve as superintendent of landscape at the World Colombian Exposition, was a prominent landscape gardener in the San Francisco bay area.
Ulrich was born in 1841 in Weimar, Germany. He arrived in the United States in 1878, and soon moved to the San Francisco Bay area. Here he was responsible for a number of private gardens and estates in California including Linden Towers in San Mateo, Chateau Fresno in Fresno, Thurlow Lodge in Menlo Park, Hotel Rafael at San Rafael, Hotel Del Monte at Monterey, Raymond Hotel at South Pasadena, and Stanford Ranch in Palo Alto. In 1887 Ulrich became a United States citizen. He lived in Monterey for ten years before moving his family briefly to Alameda, California.
Linden Towers was the home of James C. Flood, one of four Irishmen whose first silver claim in 1859 was the Comstock Lode. Flood originally had approached William Hammond Hall, the civil engineer for Golden Gate Park, about designing the grounds of his estate. Finding Hall's charges too high, Flood chose instead Ulrich to create his garden. "Ulrich's work may indeed have been cheaper, but it was also perhaps more ostentatious than anything Hall would have done. Ulrich tended to the formal, rather than to the gardensque of the preceding decades. He used large numbers of imported tropicals, ribbon bedding, imposing cast-iron fountains, urns, and deer and other statues as focal points in his designs, and like most other gardeners of the day he relied heavily on evergreens of every kind. Besides being a staple of Victorian taste, they require less water than deciduous trees. Interestingly, Ulrich did include what he called an 'Arizona Garden' on each of the estates he designed; this was usually a small enclosure planted with cactus as if it were a desert and mounded with stones.' Ulrich incorporated a cast lead fountain made by Ducel et Cie of Paris into his formal design. Shrubberies with cream and gold flowers surrounded it. "Ulrich was one of the first designers in California to use color in a consciously organized way. Linden Towers was designed around the theme of cream and gold, and the garden at Chateau Fresno centered on pink and white."
In 1871, Rudolf Ulrich created for Senator Milton Lathom a garden for his mansion, Thurlow Lodge. "The mansion was surrounded by thick forest-like plantations, in which native oaks were augmented by conifers and acacias. Within these were large spaces containing lawns and formal gardens on the two principle axes of the house. The gardens were centered around large cast-iron fountains, cast-iron urns, and geometrical flower beds, providing variegated ribbons of bright color, which the fountains and specimen palms and conifers (such as Norfolk Island Pines) provided vertical counterpoints. The garden was introverted in nature, preventing views out onto the surrounding, un-irrigated parkland beyond, which was evidently not regarded as an attractive prospect. Gardens such as these were designed to be strolled in and viewed from the comfort of the mansion's verandahs, although there is some evidence to suggest that the lawns were occasionally used for sitting. The forest-like groves were threaded by a system of undulating paths flanked
by cast-iron statues, urns, and cypress arches. The paths led to a teahouse and the Arizona Garden, which was a small conical hill of stones topped by a rustic pavilion and planted with desert plants. Ulrich popularized this form of gardening and Arizona gardens appear in all of his designs. Although they had the potential, especially in Southern California, for being an expression of a more appropriate form of gardening, it is clear that they were just one more exotic incident in the garden."
Ulrich used such a collection of plant material from Arizona in his garden for Stanford Ranch in Palo Alto.
Ulrich's work on the great estates of Menlo Park and the San Francisco peninsula attracted the attention of Charles Crocker. Crocker ..... "It was reported at the time that Ulrich's grand scheme for Del Monte was "modeled after several European gardens, including Hampton's [sic] Court."
By April of ___ gardeners were planting cedars, cypresses, oaks and pines in areas where trees were sparse. However, it was too early to put in flowerbeds and shrubbery around the hotel building; craftsmen working on the structure would simply trample them and undo the gardener's work.
Early in October 1881, "Ulrich went to Mexico to purchase plants indigenous to the Sonoran desert country and shipped back four carloads of cacti, including the hedgehog cactus, the barrel cactus, and the common prickly pear, and other tropical specimens. Also included was the agave or century plant that blooms once in 25 or 35 years by sending skyward a towering spike 30 feet high and then dies.
Landscaping began in November. Paths rimmed with small rocks or abalone shells were fashioned to wind their way in and out of the area to be called the Arizona Garden. When completed, the Monterey Argus called it "a marked feature of the (hotel) surroundings." The cactus garden continued to grow in size over the years so that by 1916 over 63 varieties were counted by a botanist."
The United States Navy leased the Hotel as a pilot training facility during World War II, purchased it in 1951, and relocated the Naval Postgraduate School to the site. In July 1993, restoration of the garden began. Scotsman John McLaren disliked Ulrich's gardens intensely and spoke up for what he called natural gardens. David Streatfield contends that in reality the difference between the two was more of degree rather than philosophy. Ulrich made gardens where the plantings were meant to look like a cornucopia of the world's flora. Gardeners, who trained at Kew in the mid-nineteenth century, or at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, as did McLaren, were taught to make garden pictures arranged by climate, or plant groups, so that the effect was a series of garden pictures, accurate in every detail. In Golden Gate Park, one walked from the Sierras to the desert, to a rhododendron glen that might have been in Scotland, all arranged as if they might have grown in nature, but actually no more natural to San Francisco than Ulrich's efforts. Such separate groupings would evolve into the garden "rooms" of the twenties.
The dispute between Rudolf Ulrich and John McLaren is reminiscent of the argument roughly twenty years earlier between Andrew Jackson Downing and Hans Jacob Ehlers. Where McLaren and Downing supported the picturesque style, Ulrich and Ehlers proposed a more eclectic approach to landscape design that blended both formal and informal elements.
Chateau Fresno, which was started in 1892, provides further evidence of Ulrich's flamboyant style. "The 160-acre estate which was originally dry and without vegetation, was approached by a 140 foot-wide avenue of tree lanes, the center one being reserved for pleasure vehicles. The center lane, which is all that survives, was planted with fan palms and red gum and pink and white oleanders. The outer lanes were lined with white-plumed pampas grass and poplars. The gardens consisted of extensive lawns bordered by curving drives lined with different species of trees. One drive was planted with orange trees, another with Cedrus deodara, Sequoia gigantea, Monterey cypress, and the rare white-flowering eucalyptus. The planting of shrubs was done to create an illusion of blooming hillsides to counter the flatness of the site. Low roses were planted, with increasingly larger shrubs behind and finally tree roses with climbing ones trained up the eucalyptus."
Ulrich went from the Chicago World’s Fair to Brooklyn where in 1897 he served as general superintendent of the public parks of the city. Following this exposition, Ulrich also served as superintendent of the Trans Mississippi and International Exposition in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1898. In 1901 he served as superintendent of landscape and apparently was the landscape designer for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. Rudolph Ulrich died October 29, 1906 (by some reports October 15) in San Diego (by some reports Santiago), California.
Elsewhere in San Francisco, gartenarchitekt, Johannes Feuerstein, was a member of the Deutschen Gesellschaft für Gartenkunst. Born in 1892 in Dresden, Eric Walther [1892- ?] sought relief from the stifling political regime in Germany at the end of the 19th century and immigrated to America, settling almost immediately in California. Visiting Golden Gate Park, he was intrigued by the labeling of plants within the park and found work there in 1918 as a gardener with John McLaren. Is it not known if Walther had initial academic training in Germany before his arrival, but he apparently continued his studies at the California Academy of Sciences’ Botany department. In 1926, another German immigrant, Helene Jordon Strybing, a native of Romstadt, Germany, passed away leaving a portion of her estate to establish an arboretum in Golden Gate Park. Eric Walther was made the first director and with John McLaren prepared the first master plan.
In Oakland, California, Oscar Prager [1876-1960] served as Superintendent of Parks from 1907 until 1918. Born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1876, Prager was educated in Germany and Austria. His good friend, Architect Sergio Larrain Garcia-Moreno would say of Prager, "Prager was an Austrian noble, landscaper and city planner, untiing traveler with studies of art, architecture, and landscape in Italy. In Vienna he became familiar with modern architecture and the Jugendstil style which was emerging in Austria at the time, Zen Buddhism, and Eastern art. He applied this philosophy in the balance and harmonious relations of his gardens. " In 1903 Prager immigrated to the United States settling in Oakland. Four years later be became superintendent of parks in Oakland. There he designed Lake Park and Merrit Park. Hegemann and Peet mentioned Prager in their book American Vitruvius for two of his school plans: Sequois School and Laurel School. In Hegemann’s report by Christian C. Collins "what is known of his activity of director of parks is recorded in publications by Werner Hegemann, in the report on a City Plan for Municipalities of Oakland and Berkeley in 1915. A valuable suggestion of the elder Olmsted, Mulford Robinson, and Oscar Prager considering the park problem of the east bay cities. I had the good fortune of finding a good deal of the work already done . . .After him the landscape architect of the Oakland Park, Director Mr. Oscar Prager, has given much expert thought to the matter and has in papers and addresses put before the people the necessity of comprehensive park development."
Hegemann was particularly complementary of Prager’s work: "This idea of the appropriate development of creeks and streams have been rescued by the landscape architect of the Oakland Park director, Oscar Prager, and some new valuable studies about the possibility of the creeks have been developed, which have been presented in a practical way: maps and lectures of the Park’s proposal for Oakland and Berkeley."
In 1912, Prager returned to his native Germany to fight on the Russian front in the Ulanos Regiment. He was wounded and decorated as a war hero. During the recovery from his injury, he worked in translations due to his knowledge of English. At the end of the war he returned to the United States. Then despite the defense of his good friends A. S. MacDonald, Frederick A. Meyer, and J. M. Dolliver, he was deported because of supposed works in espionage.
From California, Prager went to Buenos Aires where he worked with Carlos Thays and Benito Carrasco. Prager may have known Carrasco from Benito’s travels to the United States during Prager’s tenure as park director in Oakland. For four years in lived in Argentina preparing a reforestation plan for Bariloche and designing the Centennial Park in Tucuman.
In 1925, the mayor of Santiago, Alberto MacKenna, contacted Prager. The director of the Santiago zoological garden was a German. Prager emigrated from California to Santiago, Chile, in 1927. The adaptation from California to the landscape of central Chile was an easy one for Prager. There until his death in 1960, he completed an enormous number of private gardens and public parks.
At San Marino, Henry Huntington's great white palace, the long-term head gardener was German horticulturist William Hertrich. The home was begun in 1907 and by 1913 the gardens were well on their way to completion. Once again the German horticultural exuberance and eclectic design also found in the work of Rudolph Ulrich and Franz Hosp was on display. There was a rose garden with "a seemingly endless arbor thickly covered with climbing roses, every kind of perennial, and a large, handsome, Japanese garden bought lock, stock, and barrel from a Los Angeles tea garden going out of business. Water lily ponds had hot water piped in by the ingenious Hertrich to keep the giant Victoria regia blooming into January, and canyon gardens running high up into the foothills of the Sierra Madre. Vast quantities of native California plants were employed, loosely grouped in swaths and swales. As far as cacti and palms went, there was no doubt that these were serious collections, not merely gardens. Today, the Huntington Botanical Gardens' collection is the largest and most impressive in the world.
In the gardens to the north of the house stands the magnificent allee of palms and other tropicals that frames the huge mountain view. Between the trees, many planted in full-grown, are splendid Italian figures from Padua. "Apart from this allee, and a small formal garden on the terraced level for Arabella, who liked formality, the gardens of ‘San Marino’ are queerly put together for a house that has the style and gravity of a Newport palace. Though the rose garden and the adjoining flower garden are formal in design, they are not part of the typical Beaux-Arts estate garden's measured progression into the landscape. Perhaps this is because there was no official landscape architect. The site planning was handled by Hunt, and the gardens were laid out mostly by Hertrich following the directions of Huntington himself, a passionate and tireless experimenter more interested in ‘effects’ than in the overall view. Hertrich describes how he and Huntington would walk around the grounds with each new piece of sculpture or garden ornament, making a place for it.
Contrasts abounded. Beyond the entrance gates, precious 18th-century English wrought iron from Beddington Park stretched a wide bright pink carpet of sand verbena, Abronia umbellata, and a California desert flower. If this odd pairing was a calculated gamble, it paid off, just as the sight of the elegant white house above the prickly desert garden succeeded, or Hunt's use of Mediterranean materials -- stucco with a tile roof --worked harmoniously with a design that was clearly French-derived. With intelligence, money, and a certain kind of stubborn vision, Henry Huntington stretched the limits of the California landscape. When he married Arabella, he had never been abroad, and on their honeymoon they visited the sights, including the famous gardens of the Ile de France. Henry wrote home to his head gardener, "I tell you, Hertrich, I have seen no place as nice as the ranch." For Huntington, ‘San Marino’ was what he called "The Dream Place," which he carried out in his own style with a surreal innovativeness we now can recognize as Californian.
When the Olmsted Brothers were commissioned for the early planning of the San Diego Exposition in 1915, John C. and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., as their father before them, called upon a German American for assistance. Paul Thiene [ - ] was retained as landscape superintendent for the exposition. Thiene set up a nursery for the project in 1915 and when the Brookline firm resigned in protest of Bertram Goodhue's relocation of the buildings in the middle of Balboa Park in San Diego, instead of at the edge, Thiene stayed on as landscape advisor.
Like Ulrich and Hosp, Thiene created what might be called imposed landscapes: "Great emphasis was placed on growing what was hard to grow, such as azaleas and camellias, rather than on what grew naturally, on making beautiful ‘garden pictures’ regardless of what lay outside the frame, in this case, the dry, alkaline hillsides, then considered ‘barren.’ In an imposing landscape in a dry climate, water has a special resonance which it has had at least since the days of water shortages at Versailles: it was the prerogative of the rich." Thiene was considered not a landscape architect but rather an entrepreneurial nurseryman who employed designers to carry out his projects. Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright's son, worked with him in the 1910s, and those gardens tended to be abstract and informal. Later gardens of the 1920s, like the Severances, were more elaborate and filled with historical detail.
Two of Thiene's most successful gardens were for Mrs. John L. Severance and her sister, Mrs. J.B. Cox in Pasadena, California. "Two beautiful and really mature gardens grow side by side," she writes "There were large oaks on the lawns, deep ravines filled with azaleas, tree-ferns and running streams - drifts of forget-me-nots, strelitzias and sapraxis-like bilbergias with their long pink drooping stems hung with green bells. Under the camellias grew carpets of cyclamen and violets. The Severance garden used water in every possible way, and was one of the most richly planted and beautiful gardens in Pasadena."

Yet another landscape architect whose work was overshadowed by the Olmsteds in the Far West was Edward Otto Schwagerl [1842-1910]. Schwagerl was born in Würzburg, Bavaria, on January 14, 1842. He was raised from infancy in Paris. There through excursions to art museums and public parks and squares he developed an appreciation for art that supplemented his formal education from private tutors. At the age of twelve, he came alone to New York City and was adopted by a family there. Schwagerl found employment in a series of department stores while in the city. After studies at Tilton Seminary in Tilton, New Hampshire, he returned to France in 1865. Schwagerl had for a time considered a career in the ministry but while in France he worked for a time in the office of Mons Mulat, the architect creating the plan for the Exposition Universelle in 1867. After a year, he returned to the United States to work in the office of Jacob Weidenmann in Hartford, Connecticut. Here he remained for eighteen months.
During the next decade he was itinerant. He worked for a time in Omaha and later St. Louis. During his time in St. Louis, he prepared a master plan for St. Louis University in 1872. Schwagerl then made his way to Philadelphia for a time during which he prepared the plans for cemeteries in Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio, through his own firm Schwagerl and Company. Following the Ohio work he settled in Cleveland. While there, he received the commission in 1879 to design Riverview Cemetery [1879-1881] near Portland, Oregon, from Henry Failing, a prominent Portland banker and real estate developer. His plan incorporated many of the same features that had made "rural cemeteries" popular in the East and which were reflected in his own plans for Riverside Cemetery in Cleveland and Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo [c. 1883]. Schwagerl’s plan for the cemetery was implemented but his design of a chapel and receiving vault structure was never realized. A proposal to design City Park (now Washington Park) failed to materialize and Schwagerl returned to Cleveland.
Wright Park dates from 1886, when Charles B. Wright donated the land to Tacoma, Washington, for a park. Schwagerl’s design created "a classic Victorian scene, the kind of landscape usually reserved for estates. It called for tree-lined walks, a pair of lakes, formal statuary, rose garden, and a wading pool, all complemented by a mix of choice trees and shrubs. Today, the trees have matured, and this park has one of the two finest collections of deciduous trees in the state." He also apparently had a hand in the design of Point Defiance Park as well. His scheme for Wright Park is partly extant. He also received a commission to design Point Defiance Park [1890-92, altered] and initiated planning for an unexecuted, but comprehensive, parks and boulevard system. Though his plan for Point Defiance was later modified according to a plan by Hare and Hare of Kansas City in 1902, portions of his design were executed and survived until the 1920’s. Political considerations ended his tenure in Tacoma after two years. His friend Eben R. Roberts was hired to continue his work.
In 1880, the nearby City of Seattle adopted its first home-rule charter. The city’s population had expanded from 3,533 in 1880 to nearly 40,000 in 18__. The new charter provided for creation of a Board of Park Commissioners. A park fund was established consisting of the proceeds from the sale of bonds issued for that purpose; gifts; appropriations made by the city council; and ten percent of the gross receipts from all fines, penalties, and licenses. The new park board consisted of five paid commissioners ($500 per year for each) appointed by the mayor and serving five-year terms. Although the Board had all management responsibilities for the parks including the authority to appoint a superintendent and to negotiate for property, the city council retained the right to purchase property. In May 1892, the board appointed Schwagerl, to be the second superintendent of parks. In the first two years of his tenure, he would "put the finishing touches on Kinnear Park [1892-94], completing plantings, walks, a nod adding pavilions and other amenities. He redesigned and supervised construction of Denny Park [1894-95, later destroyed]. During the four years he held the office, Schwagerl developed the first comprehensive plan for Seattle’s parks. "Several early Seattle maps show this park as a formal space, with symmetrical walks and plantings. The Park Commissioner’s Report for 1884-1904 describes Denny Park in this way: the west side of the park has been completely developed along formal lines with prettily conceived walks, mounds and sloping lawns, ornamented with clusters of trees, shrubbery and flowering plants which thrive . . ."
Schwagerl’s vision extended beyond the design of specific parks. In his 1892 Report of the Board of Park Commissioners he wrote:
"Thousands who throng the great parks of the cities and towns the world over on every Sunday and holiday are no longer compelled to seek demoralizing sports and pastimes. Parks are full of Nature’s innocent and holy inspirations, and in them are whispers of peace and joy. Parks are the breathing lungs and beating hearts of great cities; the multitudes, their circulating blood rushing hither and thither, performing the functions of life and usefulness, and when the lungs are freshened and purified, they reinvigorate the whole system through the pulsating beats of these life-centers, where rich and poor mingle to inhale the unalloyed God-given perfumes to body, mind, and soul."
To accomplish this goal, Schwagerl began preparing a comprehensive plan for Seattle parks. He visited the beaches of Elliott Bay, Salmon Bay, Union Bay, Smith’s Cove, and Puget Sound. He tramped the shores of Lake Washington and explored the city’s creeks and rivers. He visited the uplands, too, looking for views. He spent days at the city’s private parks, noting their amenities and observing how Seattleites made use of them. He looked, too, for remnants of the original forest, noting where old growth survived the logger’s ax. Once he had studied the city, he put together a plan that called for four major parks connected by scenic boulevards.
Each of the parks was to be built around a natural feature with exceptional scenic value. On the southwest, Schwagerl’s plan set aside "a peninsula jutting out into Lake Washington." Seattleites would later know this property as Seward Park. Up the lakeshore to the north, Schwagerl suggested setting aside Sand Point as open space. Across town, on the northwest corner of the young city, Schwagerl’s plan set aside West Point. The property was the site of Fort Lawton for years, and is now Discovery Park. The fourth park proposed was located in southwest Seattle, at Alki Point.
And there was more. Seattle’s parks should include what Schwagerl called "attenuate parks" – strips of land "…skirting possibly a shore with its driveway, fringed by a forest, a wood or a cliff." To connect the parks, Schwagerl proposed a system of boulevards, which were to be entirely different than typical city arterials. He saw them as " . . .avenues so built and planted with trees and grass plats as to convey to those walking on them the impression of being in a park." Just where these boulevards might be located was not clear. Still, he did make some suggestions, threading boulevards near lakes and creeks and to scenic viewpoints throughout the city. His proposed boulevards linked the already popular private parks on Lake Washington – Leshi, Madison, and Madrona – with the large southeast peninsular park that later became Seward Park. On Puget Sound he suggested the same: two major parks with a boulevard jutting inland to connect with Woodland Park, Ravenna, and the new University of Washington grounds.
Not content with just parks and boulevards, Schwagerl also thought Seattle should have a Japanese garden, a "fructeum" where fruit-bearing trees and shrubs would be displayed, and a botanical garden. What he proposed was a garden so grand it would surpass Shaw’s Garden, a 70-acre showplace resplendent with formal gardens, greenhouses, gazebos, statuary, and other ornaments. It is now the prestigious Missouri Botanical Garden. To advance his cause, he brought to Seattle M. de Vilmorin, minister of horticulture and agriculture of France, and an internationally recognized expert. Vilmorin declared the Sand Point "an ideal spot to establish a horticultural park." Clearly, Seattle had potential. What remained to be seen is if the city also had the will to build a world-class garden.
At the same time Schwagerl was planning Seattle’s parks, he was also thinking about the plant material that would transform these open spaces into lovely gardens. Since he would need a place to grow the plants until they were used in the parks, he built a nursery on land that is now part of Volunteer Park. By 1893, he had stocked the nursery with more than 117,000 plants, according to the Report of Park Commissioners for 1893.
The plant material Schwagerl assembled was exceptional. He sought out the best that horticulture had to offer, ordering plants from the great hybridizers of the day. He added plants valued for their foliage, form, flowers, and fragrance. He sent for marginally hardy plants, tested them to see if any would survive Seattle’s winters. He even ordered exotics, including cacti and tropicals, for summer flower displays. At a time when native plants had yet to be accepted, Schwagerl recognized their merit and acquired many of different species. In just a short time, Schwagerl assembled nearly 200 different kinds of trees, 375 assorted shrubs, four-dozen different perennials, three dozen tender tropicals, plus assorted ornamental grasses and vines. For some of these plants, Seattle parks may have been the point of introduction to the region.
Schwagerl’s plan for parks, boulevards, and gardens was well received. Seattle’s mayor, J.T. Roland, praised it, but there was a hitch. Nobody thought that the voters would pay for it. Still, civic leaders promised to see what they could do. They had their work cut out for them. In a city rushing to grow up, leisurely strolls along park-like avenues were not a priority. Nor was saving old-growth, preserving scenery, or maintaining the amenities later Seattleites would call "quality of life." None of them were priorities. At least, not yet.
The timing for Schwagerl’s plan could not have been worse. It had been just three years since a devastating fire in Seattle. In just a few months, the depression of 1893 would create a further obstacle for the work. Within months, Schwagerl’s plan was dead, but not forgotten. He left Seattle parks in 1895.
Four years later, Seattle adopted a new home-rule charter and redefined the Board of Park Commissioners as a Park Committee with five unpaid appointees who reported annually to the council. The management responsibilities of the parks, including the authority to obtain new properties were vested with the City Council. Schwagerl’s position was eliminated and its responsibilities assumed by the new superintendent of streets, sewers, and parks, one of the three members of the Board of Public Works
During his tenure, Schwagerl also joined the chorus of voices lobbying for the creation of Mount Rainier National Park. "One Tacoma citizen referred to the mountain as ‘our joint inheritance,’ Seattle’s superintendent of parks, Edward O. Schwagerl, asserted, ‘It is not foreign to the mission of the city’s park commission to be informed of some of the facts relative to the United States reservation created and designated as the ‘Pacific Coast Park Reserve.’ Schwagerl urged the park commission to petition the Secretary of Interior to take steps to protect the area from vandalism.
Schwagerl’s plan may have guided Assistant City Engineer George F. Cotterill, who organized volunteers to construct 25 miles of bicycle paths. Although Schwagerl’s plan was substantially complete in 1903, the Board of Park Commissions chose to hire the Olmsted Brothers, a more prestigious firm, when they sought an official plan for the city. The Olmsted Brothers substantially utilized Schwagerl’s bicycle routes in their 1903 citywide plan for a system of parks and boulevards. Though Seattle justifiably prides itself on its legacy of Olmsted Parks, it was the framework, established thirteen years earlier by Edward Otto Schwagerl, that established the framework for their plan. R. H. Thomson, long-time city engineer, in fact pronounced the Olmsted’s plan "almost identical" to Schwagerl’s. Schwagerl’s design for Kinnear Park was highly praised by the Olmsted Brothers and consequently the least changed of his designs. The park structures designed by Schwagerl have not survived over the years.
In a turn of events, three years later the Hunter Tract Improvement Company chose Schwagerl to work with George F. Cotterill of the civil engineering firm of Cotterill and Whitworth and the Sawyer Brothers, another civil engineering firm, to plan the Mount Baker Park Addition to the city [1906-07] over the Olmsted Brothers. This subdivision of 200-acres was the largest to be incorporated into the Olmsted plan. Mount Baker Park Addition was also the first in the city to incorporate extensive parks into its design. It also allowed Schwagerl a final opportunity to design a public park – Mount Baker Park. His plan also included Grand Boulevard which runs west from Mount Baker Park to Rainier Avenue and Hunter Boulevard which is uninterrupted by cross streets along its entire three-block length. Edward Otto Schwagerl passed away on January 27, 1910, as Seattle’s most important pioneer landscape architect.
When the Olmsted Brothers were commissioned to prepare a park and boulevard master plan for Portland, Oregon, in 1903, they met with the City’s park superintendent, Herman Lowitz. Lowitz was third in a line of Germans to lead the Portland parks department. The first park superintendent was a Mr. Scheydecker, who had assumed that position in 1900. C. M. Myers who died in 1901 followed Scheydecker. Arthur Monteith and then Emanuel Tillman Mische followed Myers from Madison, Wisconsin. Mische had worked for years for the Olmsted firm and for a time served as superintendent of parks in Madison, Wisconsin. A second generation German and graduate of the landscape design program at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, Mische had originally been recommended by the Olmsteds to oversee implementation of their 1903 Plan. He held the position from 1908 until 1914.
While in private practice in Tacoma from 1895 to 1897 and in Seattle thereafter, Schwagerl designed a number of real estate subdivisions. University Heights Addition in Seattle [1899] was representative of the time and University Place near Tacoma was his largest effort at 1,200 acres. Schwagerl also apparently completed a number of residential garden designs as well, though none has been identified.
As landscape architects like Anton Pilat and Jacob Wiedenmann had created gardens on the East Coast, others like Paul Thiene and Edward Schwagerl would complete the influence of German-Americans on the built landscape of America from coast to coast.
Frederick Law Olmsted 1822-1903] is generally acknowledged as the most influential landscape architect in American history. Throughout the country, pastoral landscapes and parks are often referred to as "Olmstedian," as if every major landscape in the country was either the direct product of his hand or in large measure a product of his influence. It is ironic, therefore, that Olmsted’s personal development was so greatly influenced by the philosophies of German writers and that during his career he repeatedly depended upon German landscape gardeners for the implementation (and perhaps the design) of so many of his projects.
Between 1796 and 1840, at least seven English-language editions were published of a book entitled Solitude Considered, by an 18th-century Swiss physician, Johann Georg von Zimmerman. Zimmerman put forth the notion that natural scenery has a positive impact on the mind. When separated from his family and suffering a deep melancholy, Zimmerman found relief only by taking walks in a garden laid out in the naturalistic manner. He concluded that scenes of serenity "always convey tranquility to the heart" and advised his readers to seek solitude in nature, where they could "forget all the pains and troubles of a wounded heart."
Olmsted read the book as early as 1831 and read it again in 1845. Charles Beveridge contends that Zimmerman's ideas formed one of the cornerstones of Olmsted's theory of landscape design. Indeed Olmsted said the book "will rank next to the Bible and Prayer book in my library - I think it is one of the best books ever written."
Olmsted was not the only one influenced by Zimmerman's writings. The book found favor with many transcendentalists such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Zimmerman's book was subtitled The Promiscuous Effect of a Total Seclusion from Society Upon the Mind and Heart. Henry David Thoreau later wrote, echoing Zimmerman, "There can be no very black melancholy to him who lives in the midst of nature and has his senses still."
One of Olmsted's competitors in the Central Park competition was Wilhelm Benque [1814-1895], a native of Ludwigslust in Mecklenburg. Benque had trained at a Prussian nursery near Potsdam and then served as estate gardener for the Schlossgarten in Ludwigslust. In 1848, in response to political upheaval in Germany he came to New York. Here he remained for sixteen years. During this time he printed the plates for Audubon's Birds of America, apparently developed a business relationship with Olmsted, and produced plans for estate gardens in the city. In 1862, Benque returned to Germany where he won fame for his design of the Bremen Bürgerpark.
Zimmermann’s book was not the only to influence Olmsted. In his library he kept acopy of Christian Cayus Hirschfeld’s Theorie der Gartenkunst (1779-1785). Hirschfeld was "the first person worldwide to articulate and substantiate the need for a public park." According to Franziska Kirschner, a comparison of Hischfeld’s Theorie der Gartenkunst and Olmsted’s The Public Park and the Enlargement of Towns (1870) shows that Olmsted’s publication follows Hirschfeld’s in the use of argumentation, phrasing, and style. Almost 100 years after Hirschfeld, Olmsted would say of the Voksparks that it was "to provide the best practicable means of healthful recreation for the inhabitants of the city. Olmsted followed Hirschfeld’s suggestion of the separation of trail uses by creating "a system of independent ways …"1st for carriages, 2nd, for horsemen wishing to gallop, 3rd, for footmen; and 4th, for common street traffic requiring the cross the Park." This system of trails is considered in American garden history to be an invention of Olmsted, but the same idea had been expressed by Hirschfeld in the 18th century and implemented by von Sckell in the Englisch Garden in Munich a few years later.
Other books in the Olmsted library included: Schiller’s Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Natur (1797), Ludwig von Skell’s Beitrage zur bildenden Gartenkunst (1818), Pucker’s Andeutungen uber Landschaftsgartnerei verbunden mit der Beschreibung ihrer praktischen Anwendung in Park zu Muskau (1834) and Tour in England, Ireland, and France (1832). Also Eduard Petzold’s Der Park zu Muskau, Fur Freunde der Landschaftsgartnerei (1856), Die Landschafts-Gartnerei, Ein Handbuch fur Gartner, Architekten, Gutsbesitzer und Fruende der Gartenkunst (1862), Theodore Nietner’s Gartnerisches Skizzenbuch. and Gustav Meyer’s Lehrbuch der Schonen Gartenkunst (1862). The writings were so influential to the Olmsted office, that both Henry Sargent Codman [1864-1893] and Charles Eliot [1859-1897] both felt German garden theory should be compulsory reading for the landscape professional in America.
Untrained in architecture, landscape design, or horticulture, Olmsted not only looked to the Germans for philosophical inspiration but design and technical knowledge as well. The design of the Mall in Central Park found its inspiration in the Tuileries in Paris, but also Les Bastions in Geneva, Unter den Linden in Berlin, and the Wasserglacis and the Prater in Vienna. The parkway, which Olmsted and Vaux designed for Prospect Park, also drew its inspiration from both Hausmann’s 400-foot-wide Avenue of the Empress leading to the Bois de Boulogne in Paris and the spacious Linden Avenue leading to the Tiergarten in Berlin.
In addition to design precedents, Olmsted also sought out advice from German professionals living in the United States. One such individual was Anton Pilat. Pilat [1820-1870] was born in St. Agatha, Austria, June 27, 1820. Pilat was educated in horticulture at the University of Vienna, and, while there, worked for the University's botanical gardens. He also was commissioned to design a park for Prince Mitternach. He remained attached to the imperial botanical gardens at Schönbrunn from 1843 until 1853 when he came to the United States to become chief gardener on Thomas Metcalf’s estate near Augusta, Georgia. Ignatz and his brother, Carl Franz, came to the United States in 1848, landing in Savannah, Georgia. He held the post with Metcalf until 1856 when he returned to Vienna as director of the botanical gardens. After a short stay in Austria he returned to New York in 1857 when he was appointed chief landscape gardener in Central Park. At the time of the Central Park competition, Pilat was engaged in a botanical survey of the Central Park site. As the individual most knowledgeable about the plant material of the competition site, it was logical that Olmsted would have asked Pilat to assist him in the execution of the park design.
Samuel Parsons writing of the history of Central Park said:
"The original designers, if I may judge from Mr. Vaux, and certainly Mr. Olmsted's knowledge of plants was no more profound, would not in the beginning have enabled them to work out the details of the plantings. The plant expert was Ignatz Anton Pilat, an Austrian, a landscape gardener of excellent training and ability, the value of whose services has been largely overlooked. He must have had a great deal to do with the successful plantings of places like the Ramble. The paths, lawns, grottoes, caves, and all such incidents were probably constructed under the supervision of Olmsted and Vaux, but the single specimens of trees could only have been selected and arranged with the help of a plant expert who was also a landscape gardener, like Ignatz Pilat."
Pilat was no doubt more than the plantsman of Central Park. As Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s career expanded in the years following the design competition, it was Pilat who maintained the vision of the original Greensward plan. He was Olmsted and Vaux’s right-hand man. Even after Vaux and Olmsted’s resignation from Central Park in May 1863, Pilat continued to consult Vaux and Olmsted informally on the work under his guidance. In a letter to Olmsted on March 12, 1865, Vaux told Olmsted that during the interim Pilat had seen to it that their plan had been faithfully carried out during the two years since their resignation. On July 31, 1865, Vaux wrote to Pilat "if our design has been virtually carried out, it is your persistent adhesion to its letter, and to its spirit . . .that has ensured the result under circumstances of peculiar embarrassment." Olmsted and Vaux so appreciated Pilat’s safeguarding of their Central Park design during the period of 1863-65, when they were no longer the landscape architects of the park board, that they presented him with a letter of thanks and $500. Even after Vaux and Olmsted’s resignation from Central Park in May 1863, Pilat continued to consult Vaux and Olmsted informally on the work under his guidance.
Despite Pilat's credentials, Olmsted's 1860 report on the park referred to him as "general foreman in charge of grubbing and nursery work." In her booklet, The Men Who Made Central Park, M.M. Graff argues: "Surely better use could have been made of a landscape gardener to princes, a recent director of a renowned botanical garden, than menial work at starvation wages. Samuel Parsons, Jr., later made a timeless observation: 'All the troubles of the New York Park Department have arisen from failure to understand the value of expert advice.' Horticulture is a profession in which no unqualified person ever hesitates to meddle. Olmsted was no exception. Central Park still suffers from the effects of his ignorance of the nature and habits of plant material."
This tendency to claim all of the credit for projects that were clearly collaborative efforts was one of Olmsted’s great character flaws. Even his partner Calvert Vaux felt the sting of Olmsted’s poor behavior. When Olmsted and Vaux resigned their positions with Central Park in 1863, "articles that appeared in the Evening Post and the Times praised the departing Olmsted for the historic design at Vaux’s expense. In a letter to Olmsted,Vaux aired his irritation. Vaux complained that Olmsted’s more public visibility as architect in chief as well as ‘partial statements that have appeared from time to time in the public prints’ had led people to forget his place in the park’s creation. Vaux felt that he had grounds for true concern, especially since their mutual friend E. L. Goodkin had written one of the recent articles. Confessing to a nagging impression that Olmsted himself regarded his role as superior to his own, Vaux asked his friend to "frankly communicate your personal feelings in this matter so that I may be able in the future to do your views the fullest justice, and at the same time be at liberty – as I never yet have been – to express my own."
Perhaps some sense of the importance of German thought to the development of Central Park can be found in the fact that there are only two busts installed within the park: one of Humboldt, the other of Schiller. Andrew Jackson Downing would say of Humboldt: "The only writer who has ever attempted to account for this striking distinction of national taste in gardening. […..], is Humboldt. In his last great work – Cosmos – he has devoted some pages to the consideration of the study of nature, and the descriptions of natural scenery, - a portion of the work in the highest degree interesting to every man of taste, as well as every lover of nature.
After his departure from Central Park, Vaux continued to work with Pilat on other commissions. Vaux continued his private practice with the assistance of German draftsman, Julius Munckwitz, who had assisted him with his Central Park work, and Pilat who helped with "laying out several country places of small size." Although apparently nothing came of the visit, in 1865 Vaux and Pilat visited Cedarmere, the home of William Cullen Bryant in the spring of 1865.
In addition to his work with Vaux, Pilat prepared a plan for Mount Morris Square, now Marcus Garvey Park, which was implemented from 1867 to 1871. The park itself dates back to the Commissioner’s Plan for Manhattan of 1811, which called for a square between Sixth and Seventh Avenues and West 117th and 121st Streets. The prospect of breaking through the rocky Mount Morris led the City to build the new square in that location instead. On December 1, 1840, Mount Morris Square opened. Pilat’s scheme remained largely intact until the 1930s.
In 1870 the City of New York created its first Department of Public Parks. Ignatz Pilat was named the department’s chief landscape architect. That year, Pilat and William Grant re-landscaped a public open space that had existed since 1686 and which was formally opened as a public park in 1847. Pilat and Grant’s design for Madison Square contained formal and pastoral elements, interspersing well-defined walkways with open lawns.
Pilat was more that merely Olmsted’s assistant during his career. In addition to his professional work, he wrote a book on botany that was published in Vienna, and a small book on landscape gardening published in Linz, Austria, as well. His role with the City of New York Department of Public Parks and the Imperial Gardens at Schönbrunn, as well as his writing, demonstrate his leadership role in the profession during the period.
Pilat was not the only German to contribute to the creation of Central Park. The veteran gardener, Wilhelm L. Fischer of Württemberg was his assistant. Fischer had received his training on private estates in Germany. Before immigrating to the United States, he worked in the gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society and under Joseph Paxton at Chatsworth, the famous estate of the Duke of Devonshire. When Calvert Vaux again became supervising architect of Central Park in November 1881, he and Fischer wrote Olmsted frequently regarding the progress of affairs on the park. In addition to Fischer’s assistance on Central Park, Olmsted would later bring him to Boston to supervise the planting of Franklin Park.
W. Müller, a Hessian, was head architect at Central Park. A Bavarian, Beringer, was in charge of irrigation and drainage for the park. A. Pieper of Hanover was assistant to the chief engineer of the work. A. Torges of Brunswick was principal surveyor of the southern division and the Hannoverian Wonneberg took charge of the northern division. H. Krause of Saxony and Spangenberg, a Hessian, the head draftsman. In large measure the execution of Olmsted’s plans were in the hands of Germans. Ironically, the first monument erected in Central Park in 1862 was a bronze bust of the German poet Schiller.
Vaux, perhaps more than Olmsted saw the potential to launch a major practice in park design based upon the success of the Central Park work. In forming the firm he had in mind, he hired Ignatz Pilat, Edward C. Miller, "and half a dozen others" who could be hired "in a proper professional way if we are lucky without engaging to pay them annual salaries." Indeed they valued Pilat so much that in 1867, Pilat was invited by Olmsted and Vaux to aid "in the preparation for some detailed planting plans for the Brooklyn Park [Prospect Park]." This would be Pilat's last major work. He died of tuberculosis in 1870.
In 1874, Olmsted suggested a business arrangement with Jacob Weidenmann [1829-1893], a Swiss immigrant who had gained some fame with the book Beautifying Country Homes. Jacob Weidenmann was born in Winterthur, Switzerland, on August 22, 1829. He apprenticed briefly with an architect in Geneva before further training in architecture in Munich. He had come to the United States as a young man. After a short return home to Switzerland and work as an engineer and architect in Panama and Peru, he came to New York in 1856. Here he entered into the practice of landscape architecture with Eugene Baumann. In Hartford he designed Cedar Hill Cemetery and perhaps came in contact with Adolph Strauch during this period. In 1861 he became superintendent of parks in the city’s parks. During a seven-year tenure he worked on Bushnell Park, named for the clergyman who had inspired it. It was begun shortly after New York had begun Central Park. During his tenure he met Frederick Law Olmsted and supervised the execution of his early improvements at the Hartford Retreat.
In the winter of 1860, Dr. John S. Butler, superintendent of the grounds of the facility for the treatment of the insane, retained Olmsted and Vaux to prepare a plan for the asylum grounds. At their suggestion he hired Weidenmann to carry out their plan. The work that Weidenmann undertook was apparently extensive and involved "draining a low-lying section of the 39-acre meadowland, thinning trees that crowded each other and interfered with views, laying out of a perimeter drive that would be accessible to the public along two sides of the property, constructing a system of separate drives for the use of the retreat’s 200 patients, and creating a new main gate that resembled the unpretentious entrances to Central Park. Weidenmann began working in June 1861 and completed construction by 1863, much to Butler’s liking. ‘As the genius of the sculptor brings out the graceful statue from the shapeless block,’ he remarked, ‘so here has the same artistic power produced from the small meadow a combination of beautiful effects, whose existence was unknown, and of which we may well be proud.’ Butler was especially pleased by how popular the place had become with the citizens of Hartford, who were granted access to the grounds every afternoon. The pleasure people found here, Butler thought, represented a significant step toward reducing the general fear and ignorance that prevailed in the community concerning the mentally ill. In this way, the informal recreational landscape became a catalyst that encouraged in the public mind the enlightened attitude toward insanity that Butler and other reformers espoused."
Soon after moving to New York City in 1870, Weidenmann published: Beautifying Country Homes: A Handbook of Landscape Gardening. In 1874, Weidenmann entered into a business agreement with Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted respected Weidenmann. Weidenmann worshipped Olmsted. Consequently, the business arrangement favored Olmsted. Olmsted got fifty percent of the fee for any project in which he assisted. By the agreement, Olmsted's name would always be listed above Weidenmann.
In July, 1874, Henry B. Hyde, the founder of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, approached Olmsted with a request to create a landscape plan for the property he had just acquired in West Islip, Long Island. "Although Olmsted seems to have visited the site, he soon turned the work over the Weidenmann, who since Vaux and Olmsted had gone their separate ways, had been assisting Olmsted on a part-time basis with ongoing parks in Buffalo and elsewhere. On August 21, Weidenmann made the first of many visits to Masquetux, the name Hyde gave his 29-acre country estate. A few days later, Weidenmann went there with Vaux, whom Hyde had engaged as the architect for his new dwelling
Together Olmsted and Weidenmann completed a number of projects including the Schuylkill Reservoir in Philadelphia, Congress Park in Saratoga, New York [ 1875], the Hot Springs Reservation in Arkansas, and the grounds of the state capitol at Des Moines. Gas lighting in Congress Park and the pavilions by Calvert Vaux served for festive evening events. Music from the bandstand on the artificial island in the park’s artificial lake drew crowds from as far away as Newport. "When three or four bands from the large hotels combined as one to make music in Congress Park, "the scene in the evening" writes Ticknor’s 1877 Guide, on the occasion of one of the grand concerts, "is remarkably brilliant." Olmsted so trusted Weidenmann that in 1881 he urged him to take the position as superintendent of Central Park, a position that eventually went to a political appointee.
Weidenmann, like Adolph Strauch in Cincinnati, was a pioneer in the movement to eliminate enclosures from cemeteries and to restrict monuments, thus maintaining the whole in a park-like form. In 1881, Weidenmann wrote several articles, which argued for the modern cemetery and in 1882 published Modern Cemeteries. He intended to compile and publish illustrations of his designs in a volume for which he prepared many plates. The work was never finished, but some plates are on file in the New York Public Library.
Though he is often referred to merely as Olmsted’s associate, Weidenmann was clearly a man with his own point of view. Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer, wrote: "For the next ten years Garden and Forest did its intelligent and literate best to educate the public to the value of landscape architecture. Within its chosen limits, it covered a wide range of topics, justifying the statement with which the Century greeted its first issue, that it would forward education in landscape architecture – so far as it could be forwarded in writing. Even before the appearance of the first issue, however, Weidenmann objected that Sargent, rather than start a magazine, ought to start a school that would train a body of qualified landscape architects and in due course freeze pretenders out of the profession. His point was well taken: aspiring professionals needed much more than a magazine to educate them; and the public interest in matters relating to landscape architecture was too small to sustain a magazine."
In 1888, Olmsted provided a deposition for Weidenmann who was suing a Chicago cemetery company, who had employed him but refused to pay his bill. "When I am employed professionally," Olmsted wrote, "I do not serve under the direction of anyone. My business is to give advice in the form . . .of drawings and plans . . .and to see them executed. That was Mr. Weidenmann’s position in all the work of designing and planning . . .as far as I know." At the time of his death on February 6, 1893, Weidenmann was designing Pope Park in Hartford.
In addition to his work with Pilat at Central Park and his business association with Jacob Weidenmann, Olmsted sought further assistance from German-Americans. At the World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago, Olmsted "lured from California" Rudolph Ulrich [1841-1906], the German gardener, to serve as superintendent of landscape. Frederick Law Olmsted, encouraged his own son, Fred, to spend time with Ulrich to improve his German. Due to his own infirmity; Frederick Law Olmsted relied heavily on Ulrich for implementation of his plan for the Exposition. Olmsted felt, however, that Ulrich was too concerned with work that others could oversee instead of confining himself to the operations that he alone was competent to do. He "exhorted him to keep landscape in mind; Olmsted voiced . . . his uneasiness about the architectural aspects of the fair: the architects intended to make the White City whiter by far than he would choose to have it. The blue lake, the bright sky, the hot sunlight, the white buildings, and the sparkling water – the ensemble would be overpowering. All the relief possible would be wanted of the dark green foliage, in which red and yellow should be seen only in glints. Ulrich was to strive for expanses of fine turf, to minimize decorative planting and set out only what could be maintained perfectly, and to subordinate what there was of it firmly and deliberately to foliage, which was the landscape element that would redeem the White City from its own overwhelming whiteness. While it was clear from this communication that Olmsted was clearly outlining the concept for the design, he left the implementation of the planting and detailed plant selection to Ulrich.
Frederick Law Olmsted may not have been a skilled plants man, but he was an able administrator with an eye for talent. In addition to Pilat, Fischer, Weidenmann, and Ulrich, Karl Shutze, the forester at the Biltmore Estate project, was a German-American as well. The National Cash Register Company employed F.A. Friedenberger in Dayton, Ohio. It is possible that Friedenberger came to Dayton in conjunction with Olmsted's work for the company. In situation after situation, Olmsted turned to German immigrants to execute his works and to provide the horticultural knowledge he lacked.
In a letter to George Kessler from Frederick Law Olmsted, the senior landscape architect advised the younger professional "aim to free yourself of German associations, not because they are not excellent but because you have been too much confined in your education to them and they are likely to cramp your capabilities and limit your influence and opportunities. Remember that in America the German demand for landscape gardening is likely to be but a small part of all that is to be had and you don't want to be wed to it or give the impression that you are. Your writing shows that your English is much affected by German idioms and your English vocabulary not as copious as desirable. " It is quite likely that other German-American landscape architects encountered a similar reaction to both their professional training and the influence of their native language. It may well be that individuals like Pilat, Wiedenmann, and Ulrich who possessed the professional training that Frederick Law Olmsted lacked, assumed roles secondary to Olmsted’s on many projects because they were hindered in dealing with clients in many cities by weak English language skills.
Frederick Law Olmsted's tendency to slight his German associates extended to his circle of followers as well. The views of Warren Manning, one of Olmsted's colleagues, may have been reflected in Manning's description of landscape plans exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition. In his report on the work of the Germans, Manning mentions numerous German designers including W. Wendt of Berlin, Hector G. Eck of Dresden, T. Moehl, Ed Hope, Rudophe Kierske, Carl Oxrt, F. von Holt of Denver, Colorado, who exhibited plans of public grounds in Denver, Colorado, N.J. Rose, F. X. Hessinger, F. X. Berthold Frosch, who exhibited plans of a public park of Pittsburgh which was designed under the direction of E.M. Bigelow. From his description, it appears that Manning did not consider German-Americans to be American landscape architects but rather more closely aligned with their German contemporaries.
After the death of Frederick Law Olmsted, the pattern of relying on German-Americans to implement their plans would continue with Olmsted’s sons and successors at the firm of Olmsted Brothers. When the Olmsted Brothers were commissioned to prepare a parks and boulevard plan for Portland, Oregon, in 1903, they retained Emil Mische to implement the plan. F. A. Fruedenberger worked with the firm in Dayton, Ohio, around 1906 as well. Twelve years later when they were retained to conduct the early planning of the San Diego Exposition in 1915, John C. and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., as their father before them, called upon another German-American, Paul Thienne, for assistance. Both Frederick Law Olmsted and his sons maintained a pattern of calling upon German-Americans for assistance throughout their careers.
As the nation approached the turn of the 19th century, German immigration began to decline dramatically. "While they had numbered at least one-third of the total number of immigrants in the ten-year periods ending in 1860 and 1870, and had numbered one-fourth of the arrivals in the decades ending in 1880 and 1890, by 1900 only one out of seven of the immigrants had come from Germany. There were only 505,152 German citizens who came into the United States between 1890 and 1900 compared to 1,452,970 who had arrived in the period of 1881-1890.
"There are several reasons that may be advanced for this decline. The causes within Germany would include the rapid industrial development of the country, the Bismarckian legislation that provided the German worker with the world’s first system of social protection, a growing identification with the reunited Fatherland, and peace within and without her borders. In America, on the other hand, there was little to attract the German as in 1893, the public lands were exhausted, and the labor market in the cities was not promising. Besides these physical factors there was a changing attitude on the part of the American people, who were beginning to become more and more of a distinct nationality with their own national traits, and who no longer had the favorable attitude towards the new arrivals."
In that year, two visions of America’s future were opened to the public: one, the World’ Columbian Exposition in Chicago with Frederick Law Olmsted as the principal landscape architect and the other, the Kansas City park system designed by George Edward Kessler. The World Columbian Exposition is generally considered the project that launched the City Beautiful Movement in The United States. Yet Kessler’s park system was as bold if not bolder than Olmsted’s work.
In the years between 1892, when the World Columbian Exposition and the Kansas City Park and Boulevard System were opened and the outbreak of the First World War, American landscape architects and horticulturists maintained a healthy dialogue with their German colleagues despite their cultural and aesthetic differences. Garden and Forest magazine as early as 1892, contained a column entitled "Notes from Baden-Baden," written by Max Leichtlin, a regular contributor to the magazine. The magazine also included regular reviews of German books on landscape architecture and horticulture, the obituaries of prominent German landscape personalities, and travel reports of both Americans in Germany and Germans in America. Weiner Illustriete Garten-Zeitung reported of Wilhelm Muhle's tour of North and South America in its August-September 1899 issue and offered a report on the Missouri Botanical Garden in January 1900. The ties between the two professional communities were so great that in 1892 it was reported that next to England, America was the largest importer of German-grown flower seeds.
It is clear from these writings that Americans valued the views of their German colleagues, drawing both technical knowledge, particularly in the fields of horticulture and forestry, and artistic inspiration. For example, an 1896 Garden and Forest article entitled "A German View of the Value of the Forest" discussed the spiritual and ethical values that Germans found in their forests. It quoted E.M. Arndt who exclaimed, "Now, in many lands, the ax which is laid against the tree is laid against the people itself." In a similar spirit, W. von Riehl, was quoted: "By destroying the contrast between field and forest you will take from the German people its principle of life. Man does not live by bread alone. Even if we should need wood no more, we should need the woods. Even if we should no longer require the dried products of the forest to warm our bodies, we should still require the living forest to warm our souls." Garden and Forest stated, "The truth of these words grows ever clearer with the rapid development of our industrial life. Already in our great factory towns, there live millions of people who exhaust themselves during the week in crowded, and often unwholesome, workrooms, and on Sundays and holidays seek indispensable recuperation for mind and body in the fresh green forest."
German park designs were held in high regard by American landscape architects. Garden and Forest called the Tiergarten [zoo] in Berlin designed by Peter Joseph Lenné, "probably the finest public pleasure ground in all Europe." Americans were particularly moved by the work of Prince Hermann Ludwig Heinrich Fürst von Pückler-Muskau at Muskau. Charles Eliot wrote of Pückler's work: "The significance, for us Americans, of this work at Muskau is very obvious...half of our continent presents verdurous scenery of many differing types, from the rocky Pine-woods of Quebec to the Palmetto-thickets of Florida. Throughout this varied region there is a woeful tendency to reduce to one conventional form all such too meager portions of the original landscape as are preserved in private country-seats and public parks. What shall a rich man or a club of citizens, an enlightened town or a pleasure resort, do for some quiet lake shore of New England, some long valley of the Alleghenies, some forest-bordered prairie of Louisiana, what Puckler did for his valley of the Neisse? He preserved everything that was distinctive. He destroyed neither his farm nor his mill nor his alum works; for he understood to the general effect a characteristic element only second in importance to the quality of the natural scene itself. Our countrymen are beginning to manifest an appreciation of landscape painting; let them show the genuineness of their appreciation by preserving and enhancing the beauty of the actual landscape in which their lives are passed."
German designs, however, were not always received without question by the American press. In 1889, Garden and Forest magazine stated: "The great public parks in German cities are undoubtedly the most artistic, in scheme and execution, which have been laid out in recent years. It is a double surprise, therefore, to find from time to time, in German horticultural journals, signs of bad taste exhibiting themselves in directions that have no parallel, we believe, in other countries. For example, one of the chief horticultural journals of Germany has recently devoted many pages to the praise of artificially constructed ruins, and has given illustrations to show how they may best be constructed. Most travelers believe, we fancy, that these artificial ruins are creations of the earlier years of our century, when sentimentalism ran riot in Germany, and expressed itself in a thousand other ludicrous ways."
German views on garden art in America were mixed as well. In an 1894 address, a visiting member of the Prussian Horticultural Society praised American parks and gardens but attributed their success not to what Garden and Forest considered "that instinctive love of beauty and of nature which is especially strong in the Anglo-Saxon race, but rather, in the rigorous observance of the Sabbath which in many places deprives the American populace on Sundays of all forms of enjoyment except those which are practicable out-of-doors."
Though he gave no specific examples, the German visitor also praised the development of American horticulture and even found a kind word for that "wandering of the imagination which is shown in mosaic floral designs, too often covering turf with bizarre imitations of the most strikingly prosaic kinds." The speaker explained that although he had a kind word for such mosaics they would not be found in good taste in Germany.
Garden and Forest countered that, "So far as our experience extends, some of the parks of Chicago are more conspicuous offenders in the way of mosaic decoration than any others, although excellent taste is shown in some parts of the same city, as, for instance, in the graceful, naturalistic planting of flowers and flowering shrubs along many portions of the Drexel Boulevard. It may distress our German friends to learn that we have heard the glaring park defacements of some western cities explained by the preponderance of the German element in their population."
American garden books during the last half of the 19th century and first quarter of the 20th century were filled with German references. In 1918, Samuel Parson, published a translation of Prince Pückler-Muskau's Hints on Landscape Gardening. Henry Hubbard and Theodora Kimball's An Introduction to the Study of Landscape Design makes reference to twenty-one German books and publications on the subject. Charles Mulford Robinson often cited German examples and Charles Eliot wrote of his travels to Dresden, Reigenberg, and Berlin. Marie Luise Gothein's A History of Garden Art remains to this day one of the most important writings on the subject. Clearly, American landscape architects were knowledgeable of the current state of the profession in Germany as revealed through their writings.

Just as Germans had interpreted the picturesque garden in Europe in a more classical way than their English counterparts, similar differences were found in the United States. Olmsted believed that "the informal picturesque approach to organizing the landscape was the ideal antidote to the highly artificial American city. European palace gardens like Versailles were artificial – symmetrical, rational, geometric, and heavily architectural – and thus an unsuitable model."
It is not surprising; therefore, that Olmsted and his followers, including Charles Sargent, Editor of Garden and Forest, found the German approach to landscape design inappropriate. While Olmsted sought a contrast to urban living by creating "an overall composition of smoothness, harmony, serenity, and order," the Germans held closely to images of the old country and in many cases sought to re-create the urban lifestyle they had loved in the fatherland. It was said that when a German emigrates, Goethe and Schiller emigrate with him."
It must be remembered that the colonists had fought a war of revolution against England, and a desire to express independence from the monarchy and a new democratic spirit was strong. The Germans who emigrated came voluntarily without the need or desire for conscious separation from the old ways. Neoclassical design often put forth by German American landscape architects and gardeners became the predominate alternative to the picturesque through the 19th century.
The contrast in approaches to park design is notable in several ways. First, the Germans did not adhere to the controlled use of plant materials encouraged by the proponents of the picturesque. "From the start, Chicago specialized in allegorical planting which conveyed political and picturesque messages. Flowerbeds were shaped like stars, baskets, cornucopias, and pyramids." Not surprisingly, the German landscape gardener Kanst of Chicago earned notoriety among pleasure ground theorists for such displays as "The Globe," as had Victor Siegel at Columbia Gardens and Nussbaumer in St. Paul. In San Francisco, newspapers in the 1890s "billed intricate floral works as the latest attraction and proposed floral maps of the United States or California."
The German approach to park design also made much more liberal use of architecture. "Sargent and Olmsted adamantly denounced architectural features that made a park confused and fussy, like a garden or a rural cemetery. Sargent acknowledged the pleasures of throngs of men and women meeting in a holiday mood on some spacious urban plaza, but he argued that there was no excuse for a vacillating compromise between a pastoral park and an urban square."
This contrasting approach could be seen in Wilhelm Benque’s entry in the Central Park competition. Benque’s scheme "proposed a series of four open squares with promenades and formal planting separated from each other by three blocks of buildings, including great boarding houses, schools, block-sized bazaars divided into sales rooms, libraries, opera houses, theatres, and first-class hotels." It is not surprising that the music concourse in Golden Gate Park, "a grand corso 160 feet in width and making a complete circuit of the coliseum," permitting a double stream of carriages to move in opposite directions without interruption" was a gift of the sugar magnate, civic leader, and German immigrant, Claus Spreckels. Nussbaumer displayed the skill to not only manage the park department of St. Paul and to design the landscape of the city’s parks but also many of the bridges and park structures as well. While the proponents of the picturesque pleasure ground sought to reject urban living, the Germans embraced it.
The two approaches also differed in their approach to ornamentation and statuary. While the German communities in San Francisco, Chicago, and St. Louis all erected statues of Schiller, "The American Park and Outdoor Art Association was wholly against what it called effigies in the parks: "There should be no place in them . . . for granite pantalooned remembrances of dead musicians and soldiers and statesmen. If we cannot teach people to realize that they should keep their effigies of statesmen where they belong, then let us hide them in thickets . . . We should put nothing in our parks which suggests unrest or anything disagreeable, or that will frighten children, but we should put in objects that will suggest woods, trees, water, and nature."

By the turn of the century, park designers and advocates became as focused on the function of the park as its form. A new form of park emerged in American cities by the turn of the 20th century. Park users often referred to this new model as the "play ground" as opposed to the "pleasure garden." "Galen Crantz called this recreational landscape the ‘reform park,’ since it grew out of two ideas of the Progressive reformers---their agitation for children’s playgrounds and their belief that recreational needs were best served at the neighborhood level. Pulaski Park in Chicago aptly demonstrates this change in the history of American parks.
"Usually only a block or two in size, a typical neighborhood park and its field house resembled its surrounding commercial buildings, factories, and apartments, Field houses, a new building type, usually included meeting rooms, a gymnasium, and showers. Playing fields surrounded the building. Such parks also had outdoor play equipment (particularly slides and swings) and sandboxes for toddlers. Swimming and wading pools became common. Large neighborhood parks might also include handball, tennis, and basketball courts."
"The transcendentalism that lay behind the creation of the great nineteenth-century pleasure grounds was to yield to turn-of-the-century progressivism in the urban parks of the early 1900s. "The presiding spirits of the pleasure ground – landscape architects like Olmsted and gardeners like Chicago’s Jens Jensen – gave way to reform park organizers, park leaders, play directors, and efficiency-minded experts in recreation."
Two key elements in this transformation were two movements deeply rooted in the German culture in America - the playground movement and the Kindergarten. In St. Louis, German immigrants re-created the turnvereine, or gymnastics clubs, of the homeland. The Turner, as they were called, were organized in Germany in 1811 to promote physical education and learning. Following the teachings of Friedrich Jahn, turnvereine were formed in all the major centers of German immigration including St. Louis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati. The Turnverein philosophy in turn influenced the American public school system. In Chicago, for example, the idea of teachers conducting several daily exercise periods began a permanent part of the curriculum. It was this initiative that lead in large measure to the playground movement in America. "There was a Boston schoolyard devoted to play in 1868, a playground in the athletic fields of Chicago’s Washington Park by 1876, and in 1885 Dr. Marie Zakrzewska started a children’s sand garden in Boston after seeing one in Berlin."
The kindergarten, a German model of education, also became an integral part of American culture. Introduced by disciples of the German pedagogue Freidrich Froebel [1782-1852] into the St. Louis school system in 1873 and demonstrated in the Women’s Building at the 1876 Centennial Exposition, the innovation spread rapidly. By the turn of the 19th century, there were 25,394 kindergärten in the United States. Schlereth wrote, "The kindergarten movement (and its variants) combined German idealism and some early behavioral studies of child development. Froebel advocated a model maternal teacher whose pedagogy should be passive and protective, not directive and interfering."
While a key intent of the reform park was initially to give children a place for play and athletics other than the street, this eventually broadened to include a general range of activities for young and old. Parks were no longer mere pleasure grounds. They were for activities as well as landscape beauty. Here too was a distinctly German influence. "German immigrants had set up turnvereins in the early nineteenth century, and the YMCA integrated the gymnasium into the culture at large in the decade from 1886 to 1896: park departments merely adopted the already existing form."
This transition was perhaps most evident in the focus of the two great fairs of the period. While the World Columbian Exposition of Frederick Law Olmsted marked the beginning of the City Beautiful Movement, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis by George Kessler focused on the City Practical and featured a playground by Dr. Zakrzewski and model playground equipment. By the time that Jane Addams, Jacob Riis, and Lillian Wald founded the Playground Association of America in 1906 the gymnasium and kindergarten had been a major feature in St. Louis, Cincinnati, and other cities with major German populations for over thirty years.
Clearly the transition from the picturesque pleasure ground to the reform park was driven by the changing needs of the city, but in large measure it may also have been a distinction between the cultural attitudes of Puritanical New England and the German view of relaxation. This can be clearly seen in one of the most German of American cities, St. Louis. "The Germans brought their ideas of entertainment to St. Louis. The city had many public parks and gardens, supported chiefly by the Germans. Statues of German writers and statesmen were put in the parks. The gardens had trees and beautiful flowers, but they were also important for social events. Orchestras, bands, and singing societies gave concerts, and plays were held in the gardens. The owners of private parks often served beer, wine, and sausages.
"On Sundays the gardens teemed with people. The Germans wanted to celebrate their one day off in public gatherings. Sunday afternoon was a time of plays, music, and sharing food and drink. These Sunday activities brought the Germans into bitter disputes with some of the other residents of the city who did not approve of beer drinking and the German style of relaxing. Many Americans believed that Sunday should be a quiet day spent in worship and reflection."
An incident in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in 1908 points to these differing points of view. Over several successive summer Sundays, the park police arrested several dozen East Side immigrants who had taken the nickel ride to the park from Manhattan. The rules they were accused of breaking were satirized in the following except, "The Prospect Park Commandments, " from the Brooklyn Daily Times:
Thou shalt not play with a ball.
Thou shalt not walk on forbidden grass.
Thou shalt not bring thy luncheon nor even bags of fruit.
[Was the East Side the German area of Manhattan at this time?]
The pleasure ground was the invention of Puritan New England. "To refresh the city dweller by providing rural scenery made sense to the middle- and upper-class gentry who supported pleasure parks and who sat on their governing commissions. To these individuals—who also favored other middle landscapes, such as chautauquas, and college campuses—the pleasure park provided the appropriate environment for promenading and contemplating. Promoters of parks saw the pleasure garden as an environment for sedate family fun: croquet on the meadows, boating on the lagoons, carriage rides on the paths. The prohibitions were many: no gambling, no dancing, no soliciting, no raucous music, no alcohol, and no activities at night."
But this was not the recreation envisioned by the Germans who had a different version of civic life.
"Unlike the pleasure garden, which had no facilities for dancing, a field house gymnasium converted into a neighborhood ballroom. Grounds could be rented for community festivals, family reunions, and holiday parties." Park boards were increasingly renamed Park and Recreation departments as the reform park supplanted the pleasure ground as a model for American parks. It is not surprising that the growth of the reform park movement in large measure paralleled the greatest period of German immigration to America.

The growing movement toward professionalism in landscape architecture led to the founding on January 4, 1899, of the American Society of Landscape Architects. The group was founded by Nathan F. Barrett, Miss Beatrix Jones (later Farrand), Daniel W. Langston, Charles N. Lowrie, Warren H. Manning, John Charles Olmsted, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. Samuel Parsons, Jr., George F. Pentecost, Jr. Ossian C. Simonds, and Downing Vaux. Barrett, Jones, Parsons, Pentecost, Lowrie, and Vaux were from New York. The Olmsted brothers and Manning were from Boston. Langston was a southerner and Simonds from Chicago. Of the founders, none was German-American. When George Kessler, now nationally known for his Kansas City work, applied for membership, he received the following response on August 21, 1899:
"Such men as - - -[Kessler does not indicate who the other(s) were] and yourself have not been invited to join the Society because your duties are principally those of superintending park work as an executive and not as a designer. We do not think the best results in design are likely to follow the combination of the two functions." Curiously other superintendents such as Theodore Wirth and Frederick Nussbaumer never became members of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Wirth became a founding member of the Association of Park Superintendents, the forerunner of the National Parks and Recreation Association. Nussbaumer would later be a national officer in that organization. Perhaps the Germans, excluded by the American Society of Landscape Architects, found another professional organization as a venue for their professional discussions.
The outbreak of World War I led to Kessler's employment with the U.S. Housing Corporation in charge of the Rock Island district and projects in Moline, East Moline, and Rock Island, Illinois. Kessler was also employed by the Camp Planning Division to prepare master plans for cantonments in Lawton, Oklahoma (Camp Doniphan); San Antonio (Camp Travis), Little Rock (Camp Pike), and Deming, New Mexico.
His work with other landscape architects during this period changed his relationship with his peers. He was selected to membership in the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1919 ( twenty years after the organization’s founding) and was elected vice-president of the organization in 1922. To his credit, his lifelong friend Samuel Parsons championed his membership.
While membership in the American Society of Landscape Architects may have not been readily open to many German Americans during the early decades of the 20th century, some such as George Kessler and Richard Rothe[188?-19?, ] maintained membership in the Deutschen Gesellschaft für Gartenkunst, the principal German landscape architectural society during the last half of the 19th and early years of the 20th century. In Galveston, the Hill Country of Texas, Indianapolis, and Hermann, Missouri, German gardeners established their own vereins as a point of professional interaction. For German-Americans their connections, both personal and professional, to Germany lasted well into the early decades of the 20th century.
"The German immigrants who came to America believed they could preserve what they valued in their own culture with the freedom allowed in the New World. They were fiercely loyal to the American ideals of freedom, democracy, and equality. However, they believed they could be good Americans and still use the German language and practice their customs in school, church, and community."
That belief was severely tested with the outbreak of World War I and the subsequent period of Prohibition. Prior to 1914, most Germans had been either indifferent or hostile to the German government, but when war broke out with England, they became fiercely loyal to the fatherland, buying German war bonds and supporting the German Red Cross. This mood shifted dramatically in 1917, when after the repeated sinking of American merchant and passenger ships by German submarines, the United States declared war with Germany.
Public opinion shifted immediately. While German-Americans saw themselves as part of German culture, their political allegiance was with the United States. Americans of German decent, such as John J. Pershing, rushed to serve in the armed forces. German-Americans bought U.S. war bonds. German language newspapers declared their loyalty to the United States. Nonetheless, pressure against the German language and culture in the United States was enormous. The teaching of German in public schools was virtually ended. In 1914, twenty-five percent of St. Louis schoolchildren were enrolled in German classes. By 1922 that number had dropped to one percent. German language church services were disrupted and pastors threatened. German newspapers ceased publications. Even the frankfurter became known as the hot dog!
Repression of German culture was mandated at the highest level of government. In his book Lost Chicago; David Lowe described the kind of repression commonly inflicted upon German-Americans by the administration of president Woodrow Wilson:
"There were two great cities that never fully recovered from World War I: Vienna and Chicago. With some 500,000 Germans in its population of two and a half million, it was, according to one official report, 'the sixth largest German city in the world.' Wilson's own statements against 'hyphenated Americans' were soon echoed by his spy-hunting attorney general, A. Mitchell Palmer, who was capable of saying: "around sangerfests and sangerbunds and organizations of that kind...the young Germans who come to America are taught to remember, first, the fatherland, and second, America.' Suddenly, singing Schubert became incompatible with patriotism, German clubs and music societies were closed, the German language forbidden in the Chicago public schools, and German newspapers placed under censorship. "
Such repression undoubtedly occurred in countless American cities during the First World War and similarly repeated itself during the Second World War as well. The frequent contributions of German-American landscape architects to the professional journals of Germany, rather than the United States, during the period, may have been a direct result of this censorship and repression.
"The elimination of German and the universal use of English at all such gatherings [is] essential to the development of a true patriotic sentiment among all people."
"Before World War I Missouri had twenty-eight newspapers and twelve monthly publications printed in German. Church services were held in German throughout the state, and German schools taught the language to children and grandchildren of the German immigrants. It was common for the children of second or third generations to speak German at home and learn English as a second language in school. Many schools conducted what is now called bilingual education, with morning classes taught in German and afternoon classes in English." A similar situation existed in other cities with major German populations like Chicago, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis. In San Antonio, King William Street for a time was renamed Pershing Avenue. In Milwaukee, the Whitefish Bay Resort of the Pabst Brewing Company closed in 1914.
The German culture in America was dealt a blow from which it never fully recovered by the events of World War I. But perhaps even more damaging was the impact of the Prohibition movement. Coming just on the heels of the war, the National Prohibition Act of 1920 made it illegal to produce or consume alcoholic beverages in the United States. The proponents of the act argued that they were preserving the religious nature of Sunday from "foreign-born saloon keepers and brewers," a direct slap at the Germans. The same attitudinal differences found between English and Germans over the use of parks was now manifest in national law. The large wine-growing and -producing region of Missouri was wiped out. The beer and wine gardens of St. Louis, Milwaukee, and other great cities were closed. Perhaps more importantly, the German social organizations such as the Turnvereine that brought playgrounds and pageants to the parks of America lost a great deal of their financial funding during this period and never fully recovered.
The passage of time also weakened the visible evidence of German culture in the United States. As German immigration slowed at the end of the 19th century, fewer and fewer German-Americans were first generation immigrants to America. The patterns of the old country began to fade. By 1930, the WPA Guide to Wisconsin described Milwaukee: "the suburban, rather than metropolitan face that the city presents: the low buildings of the downtown area where only a few rise higher than 300 feet, the acres of field and forest in one of the country’s outstanding park systems, the free sweep of Lincoln Memorial Drive along the lake, the neat cottages in the German and Polish neighborhoods, the pastoral look of lawns and gardens in even the less prosperous districts . . .Assimilation of the German elements has accompanied the decline of German immigration to the city. Milwaukee no longer seems a city transplanted from the Rhine to the banks of the Milwaukee River; the German theater has disappeared with the beer gardens; ‘Milwaukee German’ is heard less and less frequently." Today though the impact of the Germans on the American landscape remains significant it is less evident with each succeeding generation.

This research has shown that German-American landscape architects were practicing in the United States in large numbers from the earliest years of colonization through the onslaught of the First World War. They were among the earliest practitioners of the profession in this country. More importantly, unlike native Americans like Frederick Law Olmsted, they brought professional training and apprenticeships gained in the great gardens of Europe. It is small wonder that men like Frederick Law Olmsted looked to German-Americans and the great German horticultural heritage for technical knowledge.
Ironically, the tradition of lifetime devotion to one garden may have handicapped the German-Americans. Men like Adolf Strauch and Ferdinand Mangold spent an entire lifetime working on one park or garden. This was no doubt a carryover from the German tradition of Hofgärtner, or house gardeners. There are numerous examples of German gardeners in American garden literature who are referred to as the gardener of an English landowner. The ability of some German-Americans to function as design consultants may have been limited by their lack of English language skills.
The picture of German-Americans as designers is only beginning to emerge. Men such as George Ellwanger and George Engelmann were clearly in the forefront of horticultural research and the nursery industry in this country. Others, such as Adolph Strauch, Maximillian Kern, Theodore Wirth, Frederick Nussbaumer, and George Kessler produced park, garden, and cemetery designs of exceptional quality. The differing cultural traditions and folkways between Americans of English decent and of German descent contributed to differences in approaches to landscape design and to the use of parks and open space.
Clearly the greatest contribution of German American landscape architects was in those cities with the greatest concentration of German-Americans, such as Cincinnati, Chicago, San Antonio, and St. Louis. There they could speak or write in their native tongue. German-Americans apparently helped each other to advance their careers. For example, many of George Kessler's most significant clients, such as August Meyer in Kansas City, Robert Speer in Denver, and August Busch in St. Louis, were German-Americans. It is curious that in cities with major German-American populations, German-American landscape architects seemed to follow each other in a particular post. One can only speculate if John Lang, for example, helped to bring Reinhold Schuetze to Denver or if Jacob Weidenmann helped to secure a position for his fellow countryman, Theodore Wirth, in Hartford.
Evidence of a formal national association of these German-American landscape architects is yet to be found. There is documentation, however, that the German architects of St. Louis did in fact have at least an informal association that bypassed the American Institute of Architects to link with German society and publications. Gartenverien associations were known to exist in Indianapolis, Galveston, and the Hill country of Texas. Harvey Alspach, Franz Hosp, George Kessler, Johannes Reimer, Maximillian Kern, and Anton Reinisch were known to have maintained at least informal communication through their work for the railroads.
The contributions of German-Americans have been lost for a variety of reasons. The relatively small volume of publication by German-Americans of projects and design ideas in American periodicals was one factor. The inability of many Americans to read and interpret what was written was responsible for the lack of general knowledge of the work of this large group of Germans. Samuel Parsons, Charles Eliot, and Frederick Law Olmsted apparently had the ability to study the writings of Peter Joseph Lenné and Baron Fürst von Pückler-Muskau in the original German, but obviously others did not have their skills. Most importantly, acculturation has had its effect. The United States has become homogenized as a culture, losing contact with and appreciation for the multicultural nature of our evolution. German-American landscape architects of course, were not alone in not being given their proper recognition. Future research will undoubtedly bring to light the work of other ethnic groups including the Belgian-American landscape architects such as Andre Parmentier and Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans, and the Swedes Swain Nelson and Olaf Bensen.
The impact of the First World War and Prohibition cannot be ignored. The anti-German sentiments of World War I may explain why some German-American landscape architects such as Theodore Wirth, either never sought membership in the American Society of Landscape Architects, or others, such as George Kessler, joined the organization very late in their careers.
Clearly, the influence of such great designers as George Kessler and Adolf Strauch, and more than 100 significant German-American landscape practitioners on the American landscape picture should be appreciated. Over time the contributions of other ethnic immigrant groups such as the Dutch, Italians, Spanish, and Japanese and the garden traditions they brought to the New World will also be recognized. It is time the contributions of these German-American landscape architects and gardeners be recognized. We must heed the words of George Ellwanger and "accord the Germans sufficient credit for what they have accomplished."

Shelton, Louise, Beautiful Gardens in America. 1915. New York: Scribner's, rev. ed. 1924.

67 Dreer, Henry A. Dreer's Garden Calendar for 1879, Philadelphia, PA. 1879-1903.
67 See Punch , Walter T. Keeping Eden, A History of Gardening in America, pg. 36, 100.
68 Maule, Wm. Henry, Maule's Seed Catalogue for 1887, Philadelphia, PA. 1887-1904.
69 "Exposition Trees Have Been Bought," The Buffalo Times, October 3, 1889, pg. 6, col.
72 Ibid, pg.
84 Biographical Dictionary of Botanists Represented in the Hunt Institute Portrait Collection, Hunt Botanical Library, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. G.K. Hall and Company, 70 Lincoln Street, Boston MA., 1972.
88 Conversation with Mac Griswold, 1991.
102 Biographical Dictionary of Botanists Represented in the Hunt Institute Portrait Collection, pg. 216;
114 Loughlin, Caroline, and Anderson, Catherine, Forest Park, The Junior League of St. Louis and the University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 1986, pg. 16, 18,25.

Shuyler, David, The New Urban Landscape: The Redefinition of City Form in Nineteenth-Century America, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1986. pg. 100, 108, 146,
Kalfus, Melvin, Frederick Law Olmsted, The Passion of a Public Artist, pg. 37.
124 Wilhelm, Hubert G. H., Organized German Settlement and Its Effects On the Frontier of South-Central Texas, Arno Press, New York, 1980, pg. 179.
136 Conversation with Malcolm Cairns, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, 1992.
137 Garden and Forest, New York: The Garden and Forest Publishing Company, November 25, 1896, No. 497, pg. 479 [This same article also mentions Poehlman Brothers of Morton Grove, Illinois.]
138 Bechtel
Ibid, pg. 59.
148 Bailey, L.H. Cyclopedia of American Horticulture, New York: The MacMillan Company, 1906, pg. 1493.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

how can I get my hands on a copy of Weidenmann's "Modern Cemeteries"?

8:36 AM  
Anonymous John Habich said...

Mr. Cuthbert:
Any suggestions on sources for more information about Hans and Louis Ehlers? We have just purchased L.A. Ehlers former property of Marienruh. Thanks.
John Habich:

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I am investigating on the people involved in the creation of this wonderful community where I have lived all of the 66 years of my life.

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Anonymous Frank Jenkins said...

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9:32 PM  
Blogger Ervin said...

German horticulturalist based in San Francisco, California. George Hansen
collected extensively in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, publishing papers
on the plants of that region and in particular a book on orchid hybrids. Born in
Hildesheim, Hanover, his grandfather J.G.K. Oberdieck was a renowned
pomologist and was rewarded for his service to the Prussian Government
with a university place for whichever of his grandchildren took an interest in
horticulture. George was chosen and he attended the Royal College of
Pomology in Potsdam. Following this course he moved to England (1885-
1887) and began to work for F. Sander and Company in their orchid house,
as well as producing illustrations for Reichenbachia, a collection of orchid
plates and descriptions.
In 1887 Hansen arrived in San Francisco and gained employment in the
nursery of Hans Plath, before he was named foreman of the University of
California Foothill Experiment Station at Jackson. During the seven years he
spent there, Hansen collected extensively in the surrounding Sierra Nevada
(Amador, Calaveras and Alpine counties) and sent sets of his specimens
around the world. His correspondents isolated some 30 new species within
his material and subsequently several species now bear his name, such as
Poa hanseni Scribner, Solanum hanseni Greene and Senecio hanseni
Greene. At the same time he undertook the majority of the wort< for The
Orchid Hybrids (1895-1897) and was also involved in making illustra tions of
oak species for E.L. Greene's book on this genus in the western United
In 1896 Hansen sustained an injury to his spine which forced him to abandon
his position at the Foothill Station and he moved to Berkeley. For the final
twelve years of his life he was scarcely able to leave the confines of his
property, but passed the time working on his impressive garden. Hansen's
other publications include Flora of the Sequoia gigantean region (1896), "The
lilies of the Sierra Nevada" (1899) and 'The Reaiforesting of the Sierra
Nevada" (1901).
W.L. Jepson, 1916, "The Botanical Explorers of California Ill: George
Hansen", Madrono, 1: 183-184.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Ervin said...

German horticulturalist based in San Francisco, California. George Hansen
collected extensively in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, publishing papers
on the plants of that region and in particular a book on orchid hybrids. Born in
Hildesheim, Hanover, his grandfather J.G.K. Oberdieck was a renowned
pomologist and was rewarded for his service to the Prussian Government
with a university place for whichever of his grandchildren took an interest in
horticulture. George was chosen and he attended the Royal College of
Pomology in Potsdam. Following this course he moved to England (1885-
1887) and began to work for F. Sander and Company in their orchid house,
as well as producing illustrations for Reichenbachia, a collection of orchid
plates and descriptions.
In 1887 Hansen arrived in San Francisco and gained employment in the
nursery of Hans Plath, before he was named foreman of the University of
California Foothill Experiment Station at Jackson. During the seven years he
spent there, Hansen collected extensively in the surrounding Sierra Nevada
(Amador, Calaveras and Alpine counties) and sent sets of his specimens
around the world. His correspondents isolated some 30 new species within
his material and subsequently several species now bear his name, such as
Poa hanseni Scribner, Solanum hanseni Greene and Senecio hanseni
Greene. At the same time he undertook the majority of the wort< for The
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