Thursday, January 01, 2009

PIONEERS OF AMERICAN LANDSCAPE DESIGN:William Edward Vortriede (1861-1940). By Kurt Culbertson ©2009
William Vortriede was born in Germany, October 24, 1861, a son of Edward and Paulina (Berger) Vortriede. Mr. Vortriede received his education in the schools of Germany and at an early age decided to take up gardening as a trade.[1] In 1886, Vortriede, immigrated to the United States and went direct to Toledo, Ohio, where he worked for his uncle for four years.[2] Vortriede then came to San Diego where he worked for Coronado Beach for four years.[3] From San Diego, Vortriede moved to Stockton, where he was employed at the state hospital for thirteen years.[4] In 1895 he was married to Christina Jergensen.[5] The couple had two children Paulina and Edward.
In June 1904, Vortriede was put in charge of the school grounds of Stockton.[6] He later spent four years as landscape gardener for George West & Sons and then two years for Dr. Samuel Langdon orchard operation.[7] During this period of time Vortriede wrote of the revival of the geometric style of landscape gardening.[8] In 1911 he was made state gardener at the capitol grounds in Sacramento.[9] The site under Vortriede’s care was thirty acres in size.[10] In this position, Vortriede wrote on the importance of roadway trees.[11] In 1915, Vortriede offered to design the grounds of all state academic institutions. The first of these was the Los Angeles Normal School.[12] It is not know how long Vortriede remained as state gardener but he was apparently still in this position through 1930.[13] Vortriede died in Sacramento on May 28, 1940.[14]
Vortriede was a Republican. His hobby is the study and cultivation of plants and flowers." Vortriede’s spineflower, Systenotheca vortriedei, collected in the San Lucia Mountains, is named for him. [15]

[1] Reed, Walter G., History of Sacramento, California, Los Angeles: Historic Record Company, 1923, p. 732.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Sacramento Biographies, William Vortriede,
[4] Ibid.
[5] 1900 United States Census of Stockton California, e.d. 115, p. 8.
[7] 1910 United States Census of Merce, California, e.d. 100, p. 14A.
[8] “The Revival of Geometric Landscape Gardening,” Park and Cemetery and Landscape Gardening, Chicago, Vol. XII, No. 9, November 1902.
[9] Roster of State, County, and City Officials, Sacramento, 1913, p. 17.
[10] “Expert Advice,” Western Journal of Education, San Francisco, November 1914, Vol. XX, No. 11, p. 17.
[11] “Roadside Trees, The Monthly Bulletin, California Commission of Horticulture, Oct. 1912, Vol. 1, No. 11, p. 852-855
[12] “Vortreide to Plan Grounds” Sacramento Bee, April 12, 1915, p. 5.
[13] Storer, Tracy I., “Range Extensions by the Western Robin in California,” The Condor, November 1926, Vol. XXVIII, p. 264., see also 1930 United States Census of Sacramento, ed. 34-71, p. 12A.
[14] California Death Index 1940-1997.
[15] Eastwood, Alice, “Some Alpine Castillejos of the High Sierra of California,” The American Midland Naturalist, University of Notre Dame, 1943.


Blogger Laura said...

Kurt, Do you know anything about the biography of Theodor Findeisen? Do you know when he was born? I have an old document, a declaration of intent for citizenship of the US issued in Ohio in 1848 for Theophile Findeisen, and I wonder if these are the same men.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great information, Thanks. One comment though...The correct term is Visitor Center, wth no "s" on the end of Visitor. Otherwise, tons of useful information.

7:51 AM  

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