Saturday, January 08, 2011


The history of American landscape architecture has centered on the life and work of Frederick Law Olmsted and his followers of English descent. Recent research has revealing a rich blending of traditions from a wide variety of countries including Germany, Holland, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan.

The Scandinavians also made significant contributions. This paper provides a basic understanding of garden design in the countries of Scandinavia and offers an overview of Scandinavian settlement patterns within North America. It chronicles the earliest known example of Scandinavian horticulture and design such as Printz Hall in Delaware and the explorations of Pehr Kalm [1716-1779].

The life and work of East Coart practitioners will also be reviewed, including Norwegian Niles Bierragaard Schubarth [1818-1869] of Rhode Island and Hans Heistad of Maine [1871-1945]. The contributions of Swede Anders Nils Pierson [1850-1925] of Cromwell, Connecticut, and John Emil Lager in Summit, New Jersey, are also considered. The life and work of Otto Holmdahl of Seattle, and Svea Lindquist and Helga Olson of Santa Cruz, California, will also be considered.

The greatest influence on American landscape architecture, however, came in Chicago where Swain Nelson [1828-1917] and his cousin, Olaf Benson designed the city’s west parks. Jens Jensen, a young Danish immigrant, [1860-1951] became one of the most significant landscape architects of the 20th century. Svend Lillesgaard [ - ] designed and managed Woodlawn Cemetery in the city. Per Samuel Pederson [1830-1903] created Rose Hill Nursery and provided virtually every tree on the streets of Chicago.

Through a review of the professional works of these individuals the Scandinavian design perspective will be compared and contrasted to that of other immigrant groups and its relevance to the development of the profession placed within context.


The history of the development of landscape architecture in the United States has often centered around the life and work of Frederick Law Olmsted and his followers, many of English descent. Recent research, however, has documented the contributions other ethnic groups, notably the Germans and Dutch, revealing a history of landscape architecture in this country that is not simply grounded in the “English landscape school” but rather a rich blending of traditions from a wide variety of countries including France, Italy, Spain, and Japan.

Among the ethnic groups who made significant contributions to the development of designed landscapes in America were the Scandinavians. Scandinavian place names can be found throughout the United States.

An understanding of the Scandinavian influence in this country must first begin with a basic understanding of garden design in the countries of Scandinavia, a name used to denote the four nations of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway. These vast landscapes have historically been sparsely inhabited by people who are lovers of nature and ruled by governments with a strong tradition of social engagement. It is not unreasonable, therefore, that Scandinavian immigrants to this country would bring with them this love of nature and an understanding of the place of parks and open space to influence social change.

An understanding of the Scandinavian influence on the development of landscape architecture in the United States must begin with knowledge of the natural and design landscapes of the countries of Scandinavia. Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, Denmark stretched as far as Norway and the south of Sweden. Sweden included a part of modern-day Finland, while Carelia, Finland’s most easterly region, shared a border with Russia. Therefore, it is not surprising that, at the same latitude, the gardens of Norway and Denmark have more characteristics in common, than do Norway and Finland.[1]

Southern Denmark maintained close ties with the European continent. As a result, the early garden traditions of Scandinavia had their inspiration in the gardens of Italy, Holland, England, and Germany. Koldinghaus, one of Denmark’s most important royal castles, was built by King Christian III and Queen Dorothea in 1562 according to the principles of the Italian Renaissance garden.[2] From these beginning the art of landscape gardening began to spread throughout the kingdom. Hans Raszmusson Block published in 1647 De horticultura danica, indicating that the garden was a long established part of Danish culture. Gardens as designed landscapes are most recent in Finland, being rediscovered in Norway, or both as in Sweden.

Although it is common to dismiss the countries of Scandinavia as a land of endless summer nights and brief winter days, they contain dramatically varied landscapes within their borders. Sweden presents many of the characteristics of the landscape elements that are common to Scandinavia as a whole. In the southern part of the country, the landscape are gently undulating and almost flat. In Denmark, agriculture has created a pattern of carefully cultivated plots of land. “The noble families who still inhabit the many fortified houses scattered principally across the region of Skäne are the custodians of the garden in its most refined state. These gardens, which date for the most part from the 1600s and 1700s, were laid out on formal lines within the area enclosed by the moat that surrounded the house, while the park or outer area drew its inspiration from the model of the English landscape garden.”[3]

Moving north and west through Scandinavia, the countryside becomes harsher, culminating in the spectacular grandeur of Norway where mountains plunging sheer into the sea alternate with dense coniferous woods. The Gulf Stream washes the western coastline and relieves the harsh climatic conditions.

In Norway recent studies show that, form medieval times, here as in other parts of Europe Cistercian monks had pioneered the tradition of the monastic garden, rich in fruit-bearing trees and aromatic herbs. Large gardens of more classic form were few in number and were subsequently destroyed. One exception is largly intact, Rosendal Barony, which still retains the design created by the Dutch gardeners engaged in 1660 by the first Lutheran bishop of Bergen.

Moving north and eastwards, a succession of woods, lakes and clearings, heralds the arrival of the Finnish countryside where water is such a dominant feature that many village bear names associated with its presence, such as Joki (river), Jarvi (lake), and Saari (island). Here the year is marked not so much by the passage of the months as by the change from winter to summer. The cold season has very few hours of light, and the complete covering of snow and ice alters our sensory perceptions; both earth and sky are of a whiteness that seems to stretch to infinity. It may seem absurd to say so, but the impression of limitless space and the immense silence is the same as that which we might experience in the desert or the African savannah. The summer season, while brief, is both warm and colorful. The sun remains on the horizon for many hours and within the Arctic circle it never sets. The length of the sun’s rays can make the water of the lakes seem almost white – sometimes with delicate shades of pink – and creates a special atmosphere which has been a source of inspiration for many artists. The light is tranquil and a little melancholy, so different from the exuberance of the Mediterranean world. Between these two seasons comes the magical moment of reawakening in late spring; the snow and ice melt and the countryside is once more delineated by water and somehow seems to shrink as the land takes repossession of its boundaries.

In this the most easterly of the Scandinavian countries, cut off yet further from the rest of the Continent by a language with no Indo-European roots, gardens in the usual sense of the term are an exception. Within the cloisters of the Greek Orthodox churches, the tradition of the walled garden (Hortus conclusus), arrived from Russia. There was no landed nobility desiring to vaunt its power by building gardens. In a country so marked by the presence of untamed nature, and by a farming tradition that embodies the struggle for survival, gardens were considered to be a useless luxury. In gardening terms, it may be more meaningful to speak of nature “managed” as a transitional step between the house and its surrounding countryside; or perhaps of the “temporary garden” – a reference to those brief moments of summer when bulbs and biennials explode into flower, only to close down again within the space of a few months. Even staples such as ivy and box cannot survive the climatic conditions here. Yew and privet take their place in the more protected areas, and farther north beech, fir and ash (Sorbus sp.) predominate before the tundra takes over. In the forest, where the sun’s rays barely penetrate, different types of birch alternate with the conifer and ash, while the undergrowth is rich in bilberries and raspberries growing amidst the moss which clings to smooth granite rocks. It is this landscape that shaped the immigrants, and the landscape designers among them, who came to America.
What is the history of landscape architectural education in Scandinavia?
Where did Scandinavians settle – Scandinavian place names.

While the Dutch, British, Spanish, and French, carved out settlements in the New World, so did the Swedes. Grounded in these cultural landscape traditions, Scandinavians became to immigrate in to the America colonies in the mid-17th century. The Delaware colony of 1638 established Fort Christina in honor of the Swedish child queen. Under the leadership of first governor, Peter Minuit, the settlers brought all kinds of grain for seed and tobacco planters. Canary and cremmin seed were tried and successful but were not sought after. Why these crops were tried is unknown but the constitute one of the earliest records of garden activitie on the shores of the Delaware. Van der donck wrote of the early years of the settlements: “But some time after, some of our people going thither found him still there (1638) and he had planted a garden, and the plants were growing in it.”[4]

Now firmly established in the hands of the Swedes, various expeditions were sent out from Sweden. By the time the fourth expedition arrived the Swedes were firmly established. Governor Printz now led the community and in 1643 he wrote to Chancellor Oxenstiern in Sweden: “It is a remarkably fine land, with all excellent qualities a man can desire on earth.” His enthusiasm did not wane, for in 1650 he wrote again: “[they] cultivate the land earnestly, not only with rye and with barley, but they also plant orchards, with splendid fruit trees and they get on mighty well.”[5]

Printz believed that Fort Christina had become sufficiently well established as a center of business and the trade with native Americans to begin the establishment of new settlements. The most important of these was away from the mainland on the broad river on the Island of Tinicum, the present Lazaretto station. There he built himself a “palace,” and from the brief accounts of this building is found the first recond of a garden in Delaware built for pleasure. Thomas Campanius Holm, grandson of John Campanius, one of the first ministers in the Swedish colony wrote:

“Governor Printz resides in the fort and gave it the name fo New Gottenburg. He also caused to be built there a mansion for himself and his family which was very handsome: there was likewise a fine orchard and a pleasure house and other conveniences. He called it Printz Hall. On this island the principal inhabitants had their dwellings and plantations.”[6]

According to the Historical and Biographical Encyclopedia of Delaware, Printz Hall was so substantially built that it lasted 175 years, and would with care have stood twice as many more, if it had not been accidentally burned to the ground in 1811.

Though New Sweden passed under Dutch control in 1655, the horticultural development of Delaware, the Swedes and their descendants were busily engaged in cultivating the soil and planting extensive orchards. Israel Acrelius, the Swedish historian, writes: “Vegetable gardens are kept for almost every house. There are generally cultivated beets, parsnips, onions, parsley, radish, Turkish beans, large beans, peppergrass, red pepper, lettuce, head lettuce, German lettuce and scurvy grass. Anything else is regarded as a rarity. Common herbs for domestic remedies are wormwood, rue, sage, thyme, chamomile, etc. . . .” It is likely that Swedish housewives cultivated a few flowers between the rows, particularly pot marigold.[7]

While William Penn disparaged the orchards of the Swedes in one of his letters, Acrelius says: “Orchards may be regarded as among the highest advantages of the country. But the fruit consists mostly all of three sorts, cherries, peaches, and apples. Pears are rare. Cherry trees are generally planted here and there around the houses and roads, away from the gardens . . .

“Peach-trees stand within an inclosure by themselves; growing even in the stoniest places without culture: the fruit is the most delicious the mouth can taste.” And here we come on the belief so widely spread in those days: “This fruit is regarded as indigenous, like maize and tobacco. . .

“Apple trees make the finest orchards, planted in straight rows with intervals of twelve or fifteen paces. The best kind is called Van der Veer, as a Hollander of that name introduced it. Another sort is the house apple, which is good for winter fruit.”

Acrelius gives us also the first record in Delaware of the planting of a tree for purely ornamental use. He says: “The buttonwood grows wild, but is planted before the doors of houses. . .Its greatest use is for shading houses from the great heat of the sun.”[8] He states also that pine trees were planted near houses for ornaments.

Printz influence was also felt in the settlements of New Jersey. Encouraging he cultivation of tobacco he turned his attention to care and propogation of wild grapes and the making of wine. He also kept silkworms with the intent of establishing manufacturing operations in the region. Strawberries, huckleberries, and cranberries hybridized by these early colonists was one of New Jersey’s contribution to modern horticulture.

Swedish interest in American plants and horticulture received a tremendous boost in 1748, when Pehr Kalm [1716-1779] was sent by the Royal Academy of Sweden to explore America botanically. Kalm was born in Angermanland, Sweden, and attended college in Finland before moving to Uppsala University in Sweden in 1740. Here Kalm studied under the great scientist Carl Linnaeus [1707-1778] who became his friend and mentor. Linneaus was responsible for developing the system of classification of plants using Latin binomials.

During the 18th century students and colleagues of Linneaus kept a steady stream of specimens flowing back to the Uppsala. As one of Linneaus’ best students, Kalm was selected in 1747 to travel to North America to collect seeds of plants that might prove useful for agriculture and industry.

Kalm arrived in Pennsylvania in 1748 and made his base of operations the Swedish ex-patriate communities in southern New Jersey, where he served a pastor of a local church and married in 1750. He made trips as far north as Quebec and as far west a Niagara Falls. Kalm’s journal of his travels was published in Stockholm as En Resa til Norra America in three volumes between 1753 and 1761. Kalm was especially interested in the laurels of America, and a few years after his return to Sweden Linneaus gave him an enduring memorial by naming that genus Kalmia. Kalm himself named the checkerberry or wintergreen, so common in acid Eastern woodlands, Gaultheria procumbens, for Dr. Jean Francois Gauthier, royal physician of Quebec, an enthusiastic botanist who enjoyed taking the young naturalist on trips through his province.

Arriving in much smaller numbers than other ethnic groups such as the English, Africans, Scotch-Irish, Germans, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Dutch, and French, by 1775, Swedish and Finnish immigrants totaled 0.2% of the American population.[9] With the arrival of the new nation and the dawn of a new century, economic stability in America led to the development of designed parks, gardens, and cemeteries in the country.

The 19th century began an influx of landscape gardeners, foresters, and horticulturalists who would have an impact on the designed landscapes of America. Scandinavians like native born Americans were often educated in another field like art, forestry, botany or horticulture and in turn adapted their education and acquire knowledge through practice, unlike to some degree the German Americans who had professional training at such schools at the Gartenlehranstalt which was founded in 1823. The first European landscape architecture program was established in Norway in 1919. The first Swedish training program in landscape architecture, for example, was started in 1933 in Alnarp with Sven A. Hermelin [1900-1984] as professor.[10]

In Rhode Island Niles Bierragaard Schubarth [1818-1889] left a substantial legacy of design. Born in Drǿbak, Norway (a small town south of Oslo), on 24 May 1818, Niles Bierragaard Schubarth[11], named for his Danish maternal grandfather, was the paternal grandson of a German immigrant who had settled in nearby Kongsberg. His father died when he was ten, and through the patronage of a prosperous villager and his wife, Schubarth found work at fourteen in a local store and counting house.

The Romantic writings of James Fenimore Cooper aroused in Schubarth a strong desire to experience the United States first hand, and he immigrated at the age of twenty-two to western New York, the setting for much of that author’s early writing. His Norwegian patron then characterized him as possessing “…a high mind and a good heart.” He found work in 1840 with a Rochester civil engineering firm engaged in the first expansion of the Erie Canal. Although untutored, Schubarth demonstrated a special aptitude for drawing and was placed in charge of delineating surveys and plans for the canal. When financial difficulties shut down canal construction in 1842, Schubarth, described as “…an ingenious and accomplished draftsman, and as a useful member in any office or company of engineers,” moved to Providence, Rhode Island, then in need of civil engineers. He remained in Providence for the rest of his life.

Schubarth’s first professional activity in Providence was in collaboration with Stephen Atwater [1816-1855][12] in the office of the bustling, rapidly-growing, and culturally-ambitious city’s only established engineering firm. Active by the 1820s under Benoni Lockwood [1777-1852] and continued by his son, Moses B. Lockwood [1815-1872], the firm had devolved by 1844 to Samuel B. Cushing [1811-1873]. The relationship between Cushing,Atwater and Schubarth remains unknown; they occupied the same quarters in 1844, but by 1845 the new firm had moved to separate quarters.

The new firm burst onto Providence’s landscape scene. Within two years after its appearance, Atwater & Schubarth had garnered all three of the 1840s open-space landscape-design commissions in Providence: two public commissions in 1845, the Cove Basin and the new section of North Burial Ground, and, the following year, the original section of the privately subscribed Swan Point Cemetery. In addition to these landscaped open spaces, the firm became heavily involved in surveying and platting undeveloped land into house lots for the rapidly expanding Providence metropolitan area. William E. Haines joined the firm between mid-1848 and early 1849; the collaboration was known briefly as Atwater, Schubarth & Haines before Atwater’s departure by April of 1849. By 1854, Schubarth and Haines too had gone their separate ways, both practicing independently in Providence.

Schubarth’s professional activity included designing Romantic publicly accessible open space, pragmatic division of undeveloped land into house-lots, designing buildings, and real-estate speculation. The North Burial Ground and Swan Point commissions led to similar undulating, curvilinear cemeteries at River Bend in Westerly, Rhode Island, and Oak Grove in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, both in 1852; Elm Grove in Mystic, Connecticut, in 1853; and Juniper Hill in Bristol, Rhode Island in 1859. He may also have designed Mount Hope Cemetery (1850) in North Attleborough, Massachusetts. His advertisement in the 1860 Providence Directory, proclaiming “N.B. Schubarth’s New Method OF LAYING OUT RURAL CEMETERIES, combining the Geometrical with THE NATURAL STYLE,” seems oddly hollow today, for no new cemetery commissions followed. Indeed, beginning in 1859, when Butler Hospital for the Insane, abutting Swan Point to the south, obtained the services of Horace W. S. Cleveland to design a therapeutic setting for its patients’ recovery, Schubarth was passed over for major public-works landscaping in the metropolitan area. He was, however, a founding member in 1883 of Providence’s important, if not always influential, Public Park Association, an early exponent of sensible and attractive land-use planning. His stock in trade was surveying and platting house lots, which began in the mid-1840s, continued into the mid-1880s in Providence and the adjacent cities of Cranston and Warwick. Schubarth’s architectural commissions include the Arnold Block [1854] in Providence, the Oriental Mill in Providence [1860] and the Willamantic Linen Thread Mill in Connecticut [1864], the Jefferson Street Baptist Church [1867], and several houses, including two for himself [1873 and 1874]. He began to speculate in real estate in 1851 and by the mid-1850s was playing the multiple roles of surveyor, designer, and investor in several of the areas he platted.

Schubarth’s career and position in American landscape design perhaps begs more questions than it answers. Cooper’s lure to the vanishing frontier of the United States suggests a strong Romantic impulse, visible in his early cemetery designs. His decision to move to Providence to fill a need for civil engineers shows his practical side, even more fully revealed in his house-lot platting, where maximum return on investment (for others as well as for himself) drove the design. His venture into architecture, self-ratified in his own advertising by 1867, in some ways combines a romantic willingness for new challenges with practical need. His apparent lack of professional training did not hinder his brief, intense, early involvement in public, æsthetic-driven designs but ultimately must have inhibited his involvement with larger-scale projects in the late nineteenth century. Constantly buying and selling real estate as well as moving his own office and household, he ultimately seems to have achieved the restlessness more characteristic of his adopted country than his native land.

Schubarth died at his home (the ninth he occupied during his forty-six years in Providence) on 31 July 1889. His remains were laid to rest on a knoll just inside the original entrance to Swan Point Cemetery, which he had designed more than forty years earlier.

Norwegians, Swedes, and Danes (in that order by total immigrants) arrived in great numbers following the Civil War. A shortage of farm land and exploding populations forced many from their homelands. Norway was second to only Ireland in loss of its 19th century population to America as economic depressions there and in Sweden in the 1880s accelerated the flow of new residents to the United States. Scandinavians, many of them lumbermen, farmers, and miners settled primarily in the upper Midwest. Many later went to the Pacific coast in search of jobs and land. “This is just like Norway!” wrote on Norwegian of Washington’s Puget Sound.[13] In 1890, Scandinavians comprised significant percentage of the populations, in excess of fifteen percent, of many counties in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and the Seattle region, with significant populations in portions of Utah, Montana, Iowa, and Nebraska. Smaller populations existed throughout the inter-mountain West, and along the East Coast.

Born October 25, 1861, in Upsala, Sweden, John Emil Lager [1861-1937] was educated in public schools of his home town before the Countess of Posa, noting his early interest in botany, sent him to the University is Upsala to study botany and ornamental horticulture. The Countess had extensive gardens and conducted horticultural experiments on her property, did much to advance Lager’s career. Following his studies, Lager traveled to England where we worked for the nursery of Mr. Ware on the outskirts of London. By some reports, he also worked for a time in Kew Gardens. He then spent four years in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. In 1886 he emigrated to America where he found work with a florist who had a retail store in New York City and greenhouses in Connecticut. Shortly afterwards, he entered the employment of Pitcher and Manda, Short Hills, New Jersey, where he worked for a few years. When the firm decided to develop orchid culture on a large scale he was sent to Colombia, S.A., to collect for them.
Lager's obsession with orchids eventually blossomed into his own commercial venture when, in 1896, he founded an orchid business with a Mr. Hurrell in Summit, New Jersey. It was an ideal partnership: Lager collected orchids in South America while Hurrell stayed in Summit to run the business and raise the orchids. In New Jersey, John E. Lager’s greenhouse operation, Lager and Hurrell, specialized in the growing of orchids, many collected during hunting expedition in South America.[14] Lager served as a trustee of the American Orchid Society. After Lager's death in 1937, his son, John Lager, Jr., managed the firm.
Anders Nils Pierson of Haslöv, Skåne, Sweden, came to Connecticut in 1870 and established a substantial nursery and greenhouse operation covering over one million square feet of space. He eventually earned the title of “Rose King of America” for the number of varieties he developed.[15]

Another Scandinavian-American landscape architect active on the East Coast during the 19th century was Hans Olaus Halvorsen Thomassen Heistad [1871-1945]. Heistad was born in Brevik, Telemark, Norway, on March 11, 1871 and educated in Norway and Denmark. He immigrated to the United States in 1905 and became a citizen in 1909.[16] He was introduced to Maine in 1910 through the Olmsted Brothers. Working at the Bar Harbor Estate of Joseph Pulitzer, Heistad built a series of relationships that lead to designs for numerous summer residences in Camden and Rockport.[17]

One of Heistad’s most significant landscapes was the Weatherend Estate in Rockport, for the Gribbel family of Philadelphia.[18] Begun in 1903, Heistad designed the naturalistic landscape for the 9,000 acre home in 1913, skillfully responding to both the architecture and the rugged coastal setting. Originally part of a nineteen acre estate, the property today comprises about four and a half acres. The home sits on a narrow peninsula in Penobscot Bay from which there are long views of the ocean to the southeast, Islesboro Island to the northeast, and North Haven and Vinalhaven islands to the east.

Heistad transformed the barren, rocky site by building a substantial masonry seawall which he then backfilled with tons of topsoil. A series of terraced gardens enclosed by stone walls, buffer the plantings from constant winds. Exposed stone ledge figured prominently in the design, as did rough-cut lawns. Stone “teeth” edge a perimeter walk along the shore. The concrete walk with wooden bridges follows the natural topography of the site and moves in and out of sight behind rock outcrops. A rustic pavilion with sod roof emerges from the ledge.

A talented carpenter, Heistad also designed the signature furniture of Weatherend. The crisp white of his furniture created focal points in the landscape and provided an element of formality. Heistad’s furniture was curved to reflect the curving stone walls of the site. An arbor’s arch recalls that on a window of the home.

Although the overall design of the property is naturalistic, historic photos indicate that the property also had formal flower plantings. The narrow base at the edge of the stone walls were planted with a single horizontal plant, though historic photos indicate that flowers border the rock ledges.

In addition to Weatherend, the Gribbel family also owned Beech Hill which rises 500 feet above Weatherend. In 1915, Heistad built a sod-roofed stone hut, Beech Nut, for the Gribbel’s afternoon teas and picnics. Beech Nut was inspired by the design of bytter, traditional Norwegian mountain cottages. While in the traditional bytter designs had wooden walls with stone foundation and fireplaces, Heistad’s structure on Beech Hill is built entirely of stone. Archways frame views to the ocean, surrounding fields, and Chickawaukee Pond.

The trip from Weatherend to the top of Beech Hills was about five miles. By horse and carriage the journey took about an hour and a half. To mark the entrance to Beech Hill, Heistad built a timber gateway with stone piers and wing walls with arches similar to those at the hut. It is not known if Heistad designed the approach road to Beech Nut. The stunning drive which meanders through meadows and blueberry fields offer unfolding views of Penobscot Bay, Chickawaukee Pond, and bay islands.

Heistad was not the only Scandinavian working in Maine during the first decades of the 20th century. From 1922 to 1926, Jens Jensen designed and constructed a spectacular garden for Edsel Ford in Seal Harbor, called Skylands. Ford’s site comprised seventy-four acres on a wooded hillside 334 feet above sea level. “It is far from the prairies of the west to the rocky coast of Maine, to a different landscape with its different beauty – a new world for the prairie mind to understand and to learn to love.”[19]

When Jensen began work, constructed had already begun on Ford’s home. Duncan Candler, a New York City, architect, designed the home in the Beaux Arts style and called for clear, orderly outdoor spaces arranged around a main sight line. Candler constructed two large granite terraces. The Italian gardens Candler proposed for the terraces were never built. Jensen treated the formal terraces with simple panels or grass and informal groupings of trees.

Jensen created an informal terrace on the slope with a massive twenty-five foot granite retaining wall. Below the terrace was a naturalistic garden with curving path, a “mountain meadow,” of heather of shrubby St. Johns-wort, and one of Jensens’ signature council rings surrounding by yews, a granite waterfall and pool, and extensive rockwork including boulders arrange to mimic a stream. Jensen proposed pine needle paths.

Jensens’ mountain meadow at Skyland was one of the most heavily planted of his gardens. Here he utilized almost exclusively trees, shrubs, and groundcovers native to the United States. Maine natives including lambkill, partridgeberry, ferns, blueberry, winterberry, dogwood, alder, sumac, viburnum, and shad predominate. Native hemlock screen the garden from the service area and laundry yard and as a backdrop to the massive stone wall. Mountain ash, red maples, sugar maples, and a rock elm provide fall color.

Candler’s plan had called for a cicular turnaround in the driveway carved into the granite bedrock. Candler did not propose an aesthetic treatment of the resulting rock ledge. Jensen enlisted mountain ash, pitch pine, with-rod viburnum, and shad to soften the granite face. Jensen’s plant selection throughout the garden did not entirely include native plant material. In some locations Siberian iris, harebells, and delphiniums were utilized, as well as, Savin juniper and Smilax. Despite these exceptions, Jensens’ work in Skyland, as well as, his other projects reflect an understanding of and emphasis upon native communities.

The Danish botanist Eugenius Warming published the English translation of his book Plantesamfund, entitled The Oecology of Plants, in 1909.[20] Warming, whose writings described the importance of plant communities, was perhaps the most preeminent founder of the science of ecology. His writings undoubtedly influenced the thinking of Jensen, and other landscape architects who sought to evolve a naturalistic approach to landscape design in the United States.

Whether Jens Jensen and Hans Heistad met each other during this time is unknown. Although Jensen was eleven years, Heistad’s senior both had been educated in Denmark. Jensen’s had by this time achieved national stature, and Heistad is likely to have least known him by reputation. As Bar Harbor is only seventy-eight miles from Heistad’s home in Rockport it is difficult to imagine that the younger landscape architect was not aware of Jensen’s work.

In addition to Weatherend and Beech Nut, Hans Heistad also constructed the garden of his own three-quarter-acre homesite on Amsbury Hill in Rockport.[21] He added estate-like features to the property including specimen trees, rock gardens, shrub borders, a lily pond, a perimeter walk, and a driveway which encircled the house. A skilled laborer, Heistad also helped install Fletcher Steele’s design for the Camden Library Amphitheater, and the Rockport Harbor Improvement project, both in 1931.

From 1935 to 1942, Heistad served as staff landscape architect for the Camden Hills State Park.[22] Heistad’s focus on naturalistic design made him the perfect choice to design the parks’ Lower Sagamore area, fifty acres on the ocean side of Route One. Hans oversaw the Civilian Conservation Corp crews cleared brush, graded the site and constructed roads and parking areas. In addition to building two miles of hiking trails and rustic footbridges, they also planted 7,000 native trees and shrubs. Heistad also supervised the construction of a variety of stone features including the entrance gate, toll house, fireplaces with seats and tables, picnic shelters, dams, steps along the hillside trails, and massive stone benches in the woods. His proposed stone amphitheater for 700 to 800 visitors was never built.

In the northern part of Sagamore, Heistad also improved a stream. At the upper end a native flower garden and small rock terraces surrounding a large birch tree were constructed. Farther downstream was shaped a large pool with a stone dam, followed by a series of waterfalls, smaller pools, and rustic footbridges.

Heistad’s naturalistic design of the state park was but one example of how Scandinavian design influences found their way into the rustic style of America park design. Heistad died in Walterville, Kennebec, Maine, on February 22, 1945.

Chicago’s first Swedish community emerged in 1846, when immigrants destined for the Swedish religious colony in Bishop Hill, Illinois, decided to settle instead in Chicago. From this beginning the settlement grew to be the largest in the United States. In 1848, only 40 Swedes lived in Chicago. The population grew slowly reaching 816 people in 1860 and 6,154 in 1870. Many of these immigrants were young, Protestant, and literate from the rural south of Sweden. During the 1870’s the Swedish population in the city doubled, outnumbered only by the German, Irish, and British immigrant groups. These early Swedish settlers established three distinct ethnic enclaves. The largest emerged north of the Chicago River on the Near North Side and became known as Swede Town; a second, on the South Side in Douglas and Armour Square was smaller; and the third grew in Lawndale on the West Side. Smaller settlements emerged in West Town and the New West Side.

This Swedish community of Chicago saw the emergence of two men as prominent practitioners in the new field of landscape architecture. One of these was Swain Nelson [1828- ]. Nelson was born om Fjelkestad, Sweden, on January 30th, on the estate of Christinelund (sp) about fifteen miles from Åraslöf. His father was superintendent of the estate. Nelson had been injured as a young man as the demanding work of agriculture was a challenge for him. At the suggestion of a family friend, Mr. Hoppman, he entered the field of horticulture as an apprentice on the large estate of Vanås. He apparently did not like the head gardener and did not feel that he taught him a great deal. At that time he considered going to Germany to study his new field, making arrangements for instruction in the German language.

In the Spring of 1852, Nelson, now 23, immigrated to America with members of his Parish church. The travelers sailed first to Göteborg and then to New York. The passenger then traveled by packet canal boat to Defiance, Ohio. Also making the journey was Nelson’s cousin, Olaf Benson.

Two years after arriving in Defiance, his childhood sweetheart, Sophie Hoppman, came to America to become his wife. After brief jobs in farming and in a cigar store, Nelson found employment in the Spring of 1854 improving the grounds around the house of a banker in Defiance. His career as a landscape gardener had begun. How Nelson made the transformation from a Swedish farm worker to a landscape gardeners is unknown. Perhaps his brief time as an apprentice at Vanås was more influential than Nelson admitted. More likely he simply had a gift for design and like many other practitioners during the period was self taught.

That summer Nelson and his young wife moved to Chicago. Upon his arrival he walked into the drug store of Mr. F. A. Bryan. In a conversation with the owner, Nelson mentioned that he was a gardener looking for work. Bryan was building a new home in the city and invited Nelson to visit the site. Visiting the property the next day, Nelson offered to double dig the entire ground. Bryan agreed and quickly became fascinated with the work. After the initial cultivation, Nelson laid out walks, planted ornamental trees and shrubs, and seeded his ground. This was his first project in Chicago. At Bryan’s urging, Swain Nelson printed business cards announcing his efforts as a “Landscape Gardener.” Numerous small jobs followed, so much so that when Nelson’s childhood sweetheart, Sophie Hoppman, arrived in New York on the way to Chicago, he could not afford the time away from work to bring her to Chicago. Instead Nelson sent his cousin, Olaf Benson, to gather Sophie and two girl friends.

The couple was married on July 17, 1857, shortly after the young girl’s arrival in the Windy City. The younger Benson boarded with the young couple while he attended high school. After high school, Benson volunteered for the army during the civil war. Upon his return to Chicago he too was married and shortly after became Nelson’s business partner.

One day Nelson was walking and looking for work he found a pile of bricks in one enclosure of twenty acres. The owner of the property was southern gentleman named James Waller. Nelson solicited Waller to prepare a plan for his home grounds.

“I asked for a sheet of paper. I sat down to a table and drew rough pencil sketched the way I would lay out the grounds. The place where the pile of bricks lay was a little elevation about 50 ft. from the road back of this elevation was a ravine a depression about 4 feet and beyond this ravine was the ground rising 3 or 4 feet higher. I placed the house on the drawing about 200 feet further on the {blank space] from the brick pile on the highest part of the ground. I drew a graceful drive from the road over the ravine to the location of the house and beyond the house to the barn and green houses. He took the plan and looked at it then he remarked to some gentle man in the office, here is a man with only ordinary education he is conveying to my mind with his pencil sketch a plan that he could not have explained to me by any amount of talking, he proposes to change the location of my house 200 ft. further from the road on a higher ground and he is right. Mr. Waller told me to mark out the drive on the ground also mark the location for the house and barn, he approved of the plan and gave me his work making drives and planting trees, it was a good work, and I made good profit from it. I also made good friends with a family.”[23] In an example of chain migration, Nelson secured a position for another Swedish immigrant as gardener of Mr. Waller’s estate.

Another friend of James Waller, Mr. Thomas B. Bryan, was planning to create a cemetery on the land adjacent to Waller. Nelson became by laying out a place for an entry and office on the property and staking the centerline for a main road into the property which was covered with small oaks. “I started to work out the whole ground in fifty feet squares and marked out the roads. I had already made on the plan and also the one I suggested to make and submitted to him the plan which he approved of, then he told me to mark the road on the ground and he would come out and look at it, and make a bid for the construction of the same which was accepted. I also found gravel on the ground and I proposed to cover the roads with gravel which he accepted. This together with other work gave me occupation between 2 & 3 years in the hardest times on account of the expectation of war.”

After the closing of the civil war the pace of business quickened considerable for Swain Nelson. An advertisement to prepare plans for Union and Lincoln Park in Chicago caught Nelson’s eye. He chose to submit only on Union Park but after his plan was reviewed by the Park committee of Alderman he was also invited to submit as plan for Lincoln Park as well. Though time for the submittal was short the committee was so impressed with Nelson’s work that they extended the time for his submittal. Olaf Benson had just returned from the war and was immediately pressed into service. Nelson sent him to take measurements and record observations of the property. Rushed in his efforts, Nelson did not expect his plans to be accepted. To his surprise he was awarded both contracts at a fee of $200.00.

In addition to the contract for preparing the plans for the parks, Nelson’s bid to construct the improvements was also accepted. With this work in hand, Benson, whose knowledge of English was much better than his cousin’s, became Nelson business partner. The two built a home for Benson on the grounds of the converted cemetery, as Benson would serve as the first superintendent of Lincoln Park. By the third year of construction, the team had excavated the lakes, distributed the material from the excavations and made roads. Encouraged by alderman Iver (sp) Larsen, the principal promoter of the Park, Nelson had borrowed heavily to complete the work.

At the end of the third year, the high picket fence surrounded the grounds was taken down and the public admitted to Lincoln Park, the first public park in Chicago. Crowds of visitors arrived by carriages and on foot. Chicago papers published extravagant praise of the Park and from that time on Lincoln Park was always filled with people on Sundays.

Charged with maintaining and improving the park, Nelson recruited Mr. Falk and Peter Hoffman from Sweden. Falk relieved Benson as charge of the teamsters. Hoffman took charge of building the Pavilion in the park.

As a result of the enormous success of Lincoln Park, the people of Chicago voted overwhelming in favor of taxes to expand Lincoln Park and to create new parks in the newly formed West and South park districts.

The Great Fire of 1871, delayed implementation of park taxes and improvements for a time. In the interim, Nelson and Benson planted large forest trees within the park and large elms on Ashland Avenue for Sam Walker, who owned most of the land which fronted on the avenue. Walker eventually went bankrupt owing Nelson and Benson $17,000. As a result they ended up as landowners along the boulevard.

The West Park Commissioners then advertised for bids to excavate lakes in Douglas Park. Once again Nelson was the low bidder. With new work in Douglas Park, Nelson’s uncle Johnson was recruited from Sweden to be park superintendent. Johnson and his wife lived on the park grounds as Benson did in Lincoln Park. Nelson, Benson, and Johnson, continued to make improvements to the park including the planting of large forest trees. Nelson’s contract with the West Park District until 1878 when the appointment of a new Park Commissioner occurred. For some reason, the commissioner ceased to collect park taxes and Nelson’s contract came to an end.

Nelson continued park work until 1893. During this period he also completed significant works in Elmhurst, Illinois, for Mr. Lathrope, L.B. Bryan’s brother-in-law, Mr. Hagew (sp), Seth Hodham, and Rockwood Brothers. At this time he purchase 40 acres in Glen View, Illinois, on which he created a nursery.

Swain Nelson died on January 18, 1917. His work at Graceland Cemetery was continued by landscape architect, Ossian C. Simonds, who is generally credited with this work. The work of the two Swedish landscape gardeners, Nelson and Benson, in Lincoln, Union, and Douglas Parks would be refined and modified over the years by a variety of now more well-known landscape architects such as William LeBaron Jenney, Jens Jensen, and Frederick Law Olmsted, yet it was their early work that established the foundation of the wonderful Chicago Park System.

An early employee of the firm of Nelson and Benson was Jens Jensen, a young Danish immigrant who would go on to become of the great landscape architects of the 20th century. Danes in Chicago often lived in mixed Scandinavian communities and intermarried with Norwegians and Swedes. The earliest Danish community in Chicago was around Randolph and LaSalle Streets in the 1860s. Around 1870, some Danes established a South Side enclave around 37th and State Street that persisted until the 1920s, but the main axis of Danish and Norwegian settlement crossed the Chicago River and moved northwest along Milwaukee Avenue during the 1870s. By 1880, two-thirds of the city’s 6,000 Danes lived in Milwaukee Avenue neighborhoods. A new, heavily Norwegian and Danish neighborhood also began to take shape east of Humboldt Park.

After coming to the United States in 1884 at the age of twenty-four, Jens Jensen worked for a short time in Florida and Iowa before settling into a street-sweeping job for the Chicago West Parks District in 1886. The Jensens moved into the tight-knit Scandinavian community around Humboldt Park. Jensen searched for other work during the off-season periods to supplement his meager income as a laborer in the parks in order to provide for his young family. During the winters, he found nursery work with Swain Nelson. Through his work with Nelson at the nursery, Jensen was able to further his horticultural skills and sharpen his knowledge of the plants that grew well around the Chicago region.

Over the years, Jensen would take weekend trips into the countryside, traveling the rail lines to their outermost limits. He began a lifelong study of the landscape and plants of the Chicago region. “He took comfort in American plants similar to ones that he remembered from Denmark: the blackberries, hawthorns, and wild roses of thickets and borders. He also found similarities in physiography , for here were sand hills (dunes) and vast plains. And, in the prairie, Jensen saw great similarities to the sea that had fascinated him as a young boy. Like the sea, the prairies had “the distinct power of drawing one out, of arousing one’s curiousity to investigate what is beyond the horizon.” Yet Jensen noted that “the prairies give a far more secure feeling than the sea. The prairies are inhabited; they are human.”

Gradually, Jensen’s attraction toward the native plant communities of the region began to influence his work with the parks. Up to this time, he had undoubtedly been involved with the manicured flower beds and other formal plantins typical of the early park designs In Chicago’s West Parks. In 1888, however, Jensen claims to have created what he called “the American Garden” in a corner of Union Park. The only documentation of this garden is from an undated plan signed by “James” Jensen. Exactly how Jensen moved from street sweeper to garden designer is unclear from existing park records. It is likely that he gradually assumed more responsibility for plantings and was allowed to tinker with this corner of Union Park. Up until 1885, when the animal house in Lincoln Park was opened, the seventeen-acre Union Park had held the zoological garden and was one of the city’s major attractions. After the bears, eagles, and monkeys were moved, the popularity of Union Park dwindled. Jensen’s creation of the American Garden may have been an effort to spark a new interest in the park.

Jensen would go on to design Humboldt Park, Columbus Park, and the Garfield Park Conservatory. Jensen died in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin, on October 1, 1951.

Nelson, Benson, and Jensen were not the only Scandinavians to influence the development of Chicago parks. Per Samuel Pederson [1830-1903] was born on June 15th in Vä, Skåne, Sweden. He arrived in the United States in 1850 moving west to Chicago four years later. There he started a nursery northwest of the city, eventually acquiring over 500 acres of land. Peterson developed an innovative technique for transplanting large trees to the parks and boulevards of Chicago. One of the most significant efforts of his company, Rose Hill Nursery, was the transplanting of trees to Jackson Park in 1893 for the World’s Columbian Exposition. By this time virtually every tree on the streets of Chicago were from Rose Hill Nursery. Peterson was active in Swedish-American civic and religious groups. The King of Sweden knighted him for his accomplishments.

Several years after his death in Chicago on January 19, 1903, his family donated 160 acres of land to the city for a tuberculosis sanitarium. In the 1970s 46-acres of the site became a nature preserve and another 24 acres Peterson Park in memory of his accomplishments.

Svend Peter Jacob Lollesgaard [1861- ], was born on October 14, 1861, in Verle, Denmark. Immigrating initially to the United States in 1872 at the age of 12, Lollesgaard returned to Denmark to pursue his education. He immigrated on November 16, 1883.[24] He became a naturalized citizen on December 18, 1893.[25] He became a full member of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1904. Lollesgaard designed Evergreen Cemetery in Chicago in 1910.[26] He scheme envisioned on flush monuments, with the cemetery conceived as a park. A similar scheme was developed for Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois, which opened in 1912.[27] Lollesgaard maintained offices at 156 Washington Street in the city. In 1910, he was living in Joliet, Illinois.[28] By 1921, Lollesgaard was living in Riverside, Illinois.[29] The Scandinavians whose careers overlapped in the city, Nelson, Benson, Peterson, Jensen, and Lollesgaard, played a major role in shaping the landscape of Chicago.

Other Scandinavians landscape gardeners were active in the Midwest. In 1895, Swedes Elof P. Holm [1872-1941][30] and Olaf J. Olson [1874 - ][31] immigrated to the United States in 1880.[32] They established a nursery in Rochester, Minnesota. Neil Neilsen [1867-1941] immigrated from Denmark to the United States in 1891.[33] His first job was in the horticultural department of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.[34] Nielsen move to St. Paul to work for a leading horticulturalist and then to Mankato in 1901 where he took over the greenhouse operation that Herman Lorentz had founded in 1877. His enterprise evolved to be the largest supplier of plant material in southern Minnesota.
Other Scandinavians practiced their profession in the Midwest. A native of Warmeland, Sweden, N. N. Carlson of Topeka, Kansas, served as an estate gardener for many years.[35] A landscape painter, Swede Fabian Brydolf (also listed at Brydolph) [1819-1897],[36] a native of Ostergöhand, Sweden, was similarly an estate gardener in Des Moines, Iowa.[37] Brydolf immigrated to the United States in 1841, settling first in Cleveland.[38]

Another Swede who initially settled in Chicago wasa Anton Lindahl [abt. 1869-].[39] Lindahl immigrated in 1891 and lived for a time in Elsah, Illinois.[40] Lindahl served as a landscape gardener, eventually assuming the position of city forester in Kirkwood, Missouri.[41] Lindahl immigrated in 1891.

In addition to their significant contribution in the Midwest, Scandinavians were also active on the West Coast. Johannes Reimers was born in Norway on Dec. 31, 1856.[42] Reimers immigrated in 1885.He appears to have settled in California when quite young. He was an established painter and pastelist[43] at the time of his wedding in Oakland in 1883. Born in Bergen, Norway on Feb. 2, 1859, and after arriving in California in 1880, Marie Arentz wed Reimers in Oakland three years later.Also a writer he published a novel set in Norway entitled Unto the Heights of Simplicity.[44] While a resident of San Francisco in 1907-19, he studied at the Institute of Art. His art work was exhibited in the Golden Gate Park Museum, 1915 and San Francisco Academy of Art, 1916-. His works are in the collection of the Oakland Art Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. Displaying a wide range of interest, Reimers was an active participant in the Ruskin Club of the University of California[45] and maintaining a friendship with the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.As well as an artist, he was also landscape architect for the San Joaquin Division of the Santa Fe Railway. While it is not known what stations were within Reimers responsibility, the line ran from Los Angeles through Bakersfield to Stockton and on to the San Francisco bay area at Richmond. Living in Stockton at the time, he delivered a paper on railway gardening at the Pacific States Floral Congress in 1901.[46] He laid out the planting of Fresno’s Roeding Park, after the property was donated to the city in 1903.[47] The park was seventy-five acres at the time.[48] Apparently Reimers split time between Stockton and Berkeley. In 1905, he purchased lots 2, 3, and 4, Block 5, from The Berkeley Development Company in Hopkins Terrace.[49] In 1906, Reimers also designed Hobart Park in Fresno on Q Street between Divisadero and Merced Streets.[50] The commissioners of Mooney Park, a 100 acre tract of valley oaks, in Tulares retained Reimers in December 1910.[51] By 1910, Marie and Johannes had three children, Emma, Alita, and Henry E.[52] Reimers also designed the garden for the headquarters of Roeding’s California Nursery Company in the Old Adobe Building in Niles, California.[53] Reimers was a good friend of writer, Jack London,[54] who often stayed with him when visiting Stockton.[55] On May 4, 1095, London spoke to the Critic Club at Reimers’ home in Stockton.[56] In the summer of 1906, Reimers supervised the planting of trees, vines, and shrubs, and a pyracantha hedge at the Wolf House[57] at what is now the Jack London Ranch State Historic Park.[58] Reimers also wrote one of the earliest reviews of London’s Call of the Wild.Divorced from Marie, he was living in San Leandro by 1930.[59] Marie was living in Berkeley.[60] A self-taught artist, she began painting at age 69 while a resident of Berkeley. She exhibited locally with the Berkeley League of Fine Arts in 1929 and in 1930 sent 14 of her watercolors to Paris for exhibition. She was a resident of Berkeley until her death on Jan. 17, 1946. Reimers died of pneumonia in San Leandro on Aug. 22, 1953.
Svea Victoria Lindquist was born in Göteborg, Sweden in 1881. She was from an affluent family and attended private school where she met Helga Ottila Olson. Svea studied landscape gardening and apprenticed in gardens in Göteborg, Helsinki, and England from 1894-1912. In 1916 she came to the United States for a visit and stayed to take a position as governess. By 1921 she was in Maine working as governess for the Robert Law family. Helga's family manufactured shoes in Göteborg. She also studied landscape gardening in Europe. In the early 1900s, Helga came to the United States, to visit a brother who raised strawberries on Bainbridge Island near Seattle and decided to stay. By 1925 the ladies had reunited and were living in California, in the San Francisco peninsula. They had became gardening consultants for wealthy clients who owned estates in the San Mateo area. In the 1930's they established "The Rock Garden Nursery" in San Mateo. They exhibited at the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in 1939-1940 where they earned a Certificate of Merit. In 1943 Svea and Helga moved to Santa Cruz County, where their friends, the Laws, were living at Lawridge Farm and breeding polo ponies. They settled into the Landreth Errington house on the Lawridge Farm with life tenancy granted by Robert Law. In 1948, they met Roy and Francis Rydell who were in the area looking for a caretaker's job. The ladies asked the Laws if they could use another set of hands. The Laws agreed and the Rydells settled into the guest house "Cowslip" where they stayed for a year and a half until 1952-53. Svea and Helga introduced Roy to their gardening clientele on the peninsula where they were still engaged as gardening consultants. Roy, then a stuggling young artist, became a landscape architect through the efforts and training of these two ladies. Svea and Helga lived and gardened at the "Little Farm House." Helga passed away on March 31, 1971.[61] Svea died on April 16, 1973.[62]

Annel Roi Rydell was engaged as the landscape architect for the former Pacific Garden Mall and other notable places in Santa Cruz including: Abbott Square beside the Octagon Museum, Plaza Branciforte on Soquel Avenue, the Town Clock Plaza, the Communication Building at University of California Santa Cruz, Deer Park Center, Santa Cruz City Hall Annex, and the Alfred Hitchcock estate. He died on October 26, 2000.[63]

Otto Emil Holmdahl (1883-1967) was born on June 1, 1883 in Falkenberg, Sweden.[64] He studied both naval architecture and landscape design at Chalmers University in Göteborg. On October 15, 1907, Holmdahl arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia aboard the ship Chippowa, settling in Seattle.[65] In emigration papers from Vancouver listed Holmdahl as a ship builder.[66] In 1918, he registered to serve in the United States military during World War I.[67] At the time he was gardener to William Howarth at 3330 Grand in Everett, Washington.[68] On August 7, 1919, he became a naturalized United States citizen.[69] Holmdahl traveled back to Sweden on numerous occasions. August 30, 1923, about the Neuiw Amsterdam from Southhampton after a trip to Sweden.[70] August 15, 1926 from Southhampton aboard the Caronia.[71] September 1, 1929, from Göteborg, aboard the Kungsholm.[72] On September 6, 1930, Holmdahl arrived in New York aboard the Drottningholm from Göteborg, Sweden.[73] As one of the first landscape architects practicing in the region, Holmdahl was an early advocate of the use of native plant materials and found inspiration in the ecology of the region. Around 1925, he laid out the grounds for James Garfield Eddy home on Lake Washington in Medina.[74] The Eddy estate was entered on the National Register in 1980. A garden for Dr. M.C. Lyle on Puget Sound was developed in 1928.[75] In 1930 Holmdahl completed the design of the Robert P. Greer garden in Seattle.[76] That same year he designed the garden of Lawrence Colman at 9343 Fauntleroy Way in the Fauntleroy neighborhood in Seattle.[77] He also designed the grounds of the William Boeing, Jr. home. The rockery at the south entry of the Seattle Arboretum at Arboretum Drive and Lake Washington Boulevard was apparently designed by Holmdahl around 1938.[78] In 1954, Holmdahl consulted on the grounds of Prentice Bloedel on Bainbridge Island. Thomas Church, Richard Haag, Noble Hoggson, and Fujitaro Kubota also contributed to the garden, now known as the Bloedel Reserve.[79] For Elizabeth Ayer’s new home at 47 The Highlands in Seattle, Holmdahl designed a garden in 1956. He may have designed the cast concrete rockery of the Davis Residence in Crescent Beach in Normandy Park.[80] Holmdahls’ work became synonymous with the great estates of the “gold coast” of Lake Washington, many of these with Arthur L. Loveless (1873-1971).[81] Holmdahl also apparently designed the courtyard of Loveless’studio building.[82] Holmdahl was one of 26 landscape architects who met in January 25, 1946 to form the Washington Society of Landscape Architects. He was identified at this meeting as the nursery liason representative of the group.[83] In 1930 Holmdahl and his wife, Andrey, were living in Seattle.[84] Holmdahl designed the grounds of the Washington State Library in Olympia [1954-1959] and Aberdeen Community Hospital in Aberdeen in 1959. On December 20, 1957, he was named to the Municipal Arts Commission of Seattle.[85] With architect Paul Thiry, he served as landscape architect for the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962.[86] That year, Holmdahl was a judge of the Seattle Rhododendron Society.[87] During the course of his career, Otto designed parks in Bremerton, Ellensburg, Aberdeen, and other cities in Washington and Oregon. His work is also seen in Washington Park in Seattle. Holmdahl died in Seattle on March 2, 1967.[88] Although, Scandinavian-Americans made significant contributions to the development of the profession of landscape architecture during the United States, particularly during the last half of the 19th century, it is less clear what contribution they may have made on the development of modernism in landscape design. During the early years of the 20th century, for example, there are numerous citations of German design and planning publications by writers in the United States. There are few such citations of works by Danish, Finnish, Swedish, or Norwegian writers. Perhaps this is because the the small Scandinavian-American population and its concentration did not lead to widespread adoption of design ideas. While many Americans of English descent, such as Frederick Law Olmsted and Charles Eliot, read German, fewer knew the Scandinavian languages, thus making publications inaccessible. Similarly the “grand tour” of Europe for young Americans often did not involve visits to the Scandinavian countries. Americans of
Scandinavian design did begin to gain prominence in 1922 when Finn Eliel Saarinen[89] received a second place award for the entry in the Chicago Tribune building competition in Chicago. Immigrating to Chicago in 1923, Saarinen prepared an urban design plan for the Chicago lakefront which proposed a boulevard which paralleled the lake and linked the adjoining parks. The boulevard was terminated at either end by a plaza. Returning from summer vacation in Finland, Saarinen began to teach at the University of Michigan in the Fall of 1923. One of his students was the son of George Booth, later the founder of Cranbrook. In 1924, he prepared a scheme for the Detroit Riverfront. Saarinen’s plan for Detroit reflected the work of Swedish architect, Ragnar Östberg [1866-1945] for the Stockholm City Hall, and Danish architect Martin Nyrop’s [1849-1925] Copenhagen City Hall.

It is not known in Jens Jensen, Svend Lollesgaard, and other Danish-Americans knew of their counterpart in Denmark, Carl Theodore Sǿrenson [1893- 1979].[90] Sørensen, who completed over two thousand projects. A prolific writer, Sørensen did not publish in English nor were any of his projects built outside of Denmark. Nonetheless he is considered one of the twentieth-centuries first modernist landscape architects.

In 1931, Swedish sculptor, Carl Milles, took up residence in Bloomfield Hills, and joined the sculpture faculty at Cranbrook.[91] From his arrival until his return to Sweden in 1951 and subsequent death in 1955, the sculpture department at Cranbrook would be associated with Milles. His work on large scale commissions for public spaces in America and frequent exhibitions earned him a substantial reputation in this country.

Many of his sculptural pieces were of such scale that they might be considered works of landscape architecture in their own right. The Peace Memorial for St. Paul, Minnesota, the Aloe Plaza fountain, Meeting of the Waters, in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Fountain of the Faith, Falls Church, Virginia, are of particular interest.
Scandinavian-American landscape gardeners and landscape architects in the first century of the country’s development, were not present in the numbers of their English and German counterparts. Professional gardening societies did not seem to emerge within the Scandinavian-American community as they did within those of the Germans and other ethnic groups. Nor can it be argued that a clearly Scandinavian landscape style capture the imagination of the American public as did Japanese design. Nonetheless, important practitioners did exist. Their impact upon the communities and regions within which they practiced was significant. Second generation Scandinavian-American landscape architects such as Garrett Eckbo and Roy Rydell of Scandinavian descent would also contribute to the development of the profession in America. Other Americans of Scandinavian descent, such as Tom Oslund of Minneapolis, continue to contribute to the evolution of the profession, ever mindful of their heritage. Oslund, for example, would say of his work: “I’m Norwegian with a Viking spirit inside—I need to have a lot of light.”[92]
As with many ethnic groups, Scandinavians gradually assimilated into the American melting pot. By 1920 on North Dakota’s entire population was over ten percent Scandinavian. By 1980, only a few counties in Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, were more than ten percent Scandinavian, with pockets of large Scandinavian populations in Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Utah. Over time the distinct contribution of Scandinavian landscape gardeners and horticulturalists merged into a grander pattern of American landscape architecture. It is time we recognize that the heritage of landscape architecture in this country finds its origins in the contributions of many immigrant contributions, including English, Italian, German, Japanese and others. Not the least of that of the Swedes, Danes, Finns, and Norwegians that would their way to America.

[1] Bűhler, Karl-Dietrich, The Scandinavian Garden, London: Frances Lincoln Limited, 2000, Introduction.
[2] A Guide To
[3] Ibid.
[4] Lockwood, Alice G. B., Gardens of Colony and State, The Garden Club of America: 2000, 183.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid, 186.
[9] Garrett, Wilbur E., Editor, Historical Atlas of the United States, Washington, D. C.: The National Geographic Society, p. 37.
[10] Treib, Mark, Modern Landscape Architecture: A Critical Review, Boston, MIT Press, 1994, p. 133.
[11] Public Park Association of Providence. “Niles Bierragaard Schubarth.” Parks of Providence and Other Cities. Providence, 1896. pp. 111-114.

[12] Jordy, William H., and Monkhouse, Christopher P. “Atwater, Stephen.” Buildings on Paper: Rhode Island Architectural Drawings, 1825-1945. Providence, 1982. pp. 207-208.

[13] Garrett, Historical Atlas of the United States, p. 53.
[14] See
[15] Hillbrand, Percie V., The Swedes in America, Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1967, 41-42.
[16] 1930 United States Census of Rockport, Maine, Enumeration District 4, Sheet4B.
[17] Igleheart, Elizabeth, “The Design Legacy of Hans Heistad,” Maine Olmsted Alliance for Parks & Landscapes Newsletter, Fall 1991.
[18] Mattor, Theresa, and Teegarden, Lucie, Maine Landscape, Camden: Down East Books, 2009, p. 156.
[19] Jensen, Jens, Siftings, Chicago: Ralph Fletcher Seymour, 1939, p. 76-77, see also Jane Roy Brown, “Skylands – A Jens Jensen Landscape in Maine,” p. 20.
[20] Warming, E. (1895) Plantesamfund - Grundtræk af den økologiske Plantegeografi. P.G. Philipsens Forlag, Kjøbenhavn. 335 pp.

[21] Maine Landscape, p. 163.
[22] Griffin, Pamela, Camden Hills State Park Landscape Report, c. 1997, see also Griffin, Pamela, “National and State Parks: A Brief Overview of Design Development,” Maine Olmsted Alliance for Parks & Landscapes Journal, Winter 2001, pp. 1 and 3-6.
[23] “Autobiography of Swain Nelson” a typescript resides in the Gyllenhaal Family Tree Project Archives and the Academy of the New Church Archives, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, see:

[24] 1900 United States Federal Census for Chicago, Illinois, Enumeration District 772, Sheet 13.
[25] United States Passport Application, November 20, 1913.
[28] 1910 United States Federal Census for Joliet, Illinois, Enumeration District 180, Sheet 1A.
[29] United States Passport Application, November 10, 1921.
[30] 1900 Census of the United States for St. Paul, Minnesota, Enumeration District 88, p. 10. See also 1930 Census of the United States for St. Paul, Minnesota, Enumeration District 62-83, p. 12A.
[31] 1930 Census of the United States for St. Paul, Minnesota, Enumeration District, 62-74, p. 7B.
[32] 1910 Census of the United States for St. Paul, Minnesota, Enumeration District 95, p. 11B, see also 1920 Census of the United States for St. Paul, Minnesota, Enumeration District 88, p. 13B. Olson became a naturalized citizen in 1896.
[33] 1910 Census of the United States, Enumeration District 22, Sheet 9201. See also Minnesota Death Index, 1908-1922. Neilsen died on July 14, 1941.
[34] See a brief biographical sketch of Nielsen at
[35] Connelley, William Elsey, A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, Vol. 4, p. 1764.
[36] 1880 United States Census of Burlington, Iowa, Enumeration District 117, p. 41.
[37] Antrobus, Augustine M. History of Des Moines County, Iowa, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1915, p. 188, see also, Portrait and Biographical Album of Des Moines, Chicago: Acme Publishing Company, 1888.
[38] The 1860 and 1880 Census of Burlington, Iowa, lists Brydolf as an artist/painter.
[39] 1920 United States Federal Census of Kirkwood, Missouri, Enumeration District 113, Sheet 3B.
[40]1900 Census of the United States for Elsah, Illinois, Enumeration District 53, p. 2.
[41] 1930 United States Federal Census of Kirkwood, Missouri, Enumeration District 95-3, Sheet 14A, see also Historic Kirkwood Landmarks brochure, City of Kirkwood, Missouri.
[42] California Death Index, 1940-1977.
[43] “Plans Program,” Oakland Tribune, September 12, 1917, and “Frolich to Tell of Clay Modelling,” October 14, 1917, p. 39.
[44] Reimers, Johannes, Unto the Heights of Simplicity, Boston: L. C. Page and Company, 1900.
[45] “Ruskin Club” Oakland Tribune, January 31, 1908, p. 7, and February 8, 1908, p. 2.
[46] Reimers, Johannes, “Railway Gardening in California,” Proceedings Pacific States Floral Congress, San Francisco, 1901, p. 75.
[47] Rehart, Catherine Morison, The Valley’s Legends and Legacies III, Fresno: Quill Driver Books, 1999, p. 25.
[48] “Roeding Park” Fresno Bee, April 2, 1953, p. 2.
[49] “Official Records,” Oakland Tribune, November 9, 1095, p. 15.
[50] Powell, John Edward, “Hobart Park, Historic Resources Inventory Nomination,” City of Fresno, August 31, 1994, and Rehart, Catherine Morison, The Valley’s Legends and Legacies III, Fresno: Quill Driver Books, 1999, p. 299.
[51] Small, Kathleen Edwards, History of Tulares County, Chicago: S. J. Clark and Company, 1926, p. 281.
[52] 1910 United States Census of Stockton, California, e.d. 136, p. 1B.
[53] “Another View of the Old Adobe in Niles”, The Daily Review, Hayward, CA, August 4, 1974, p. 12.
[54] “California Artists Honor Jack London,” Oakland Tribune, March 26, 1920, p. 18.
[55] London, Charmain, The Book of Jack London, New York: The Century Company, 1921, ch. XXV, p. 16.
[56] “London’s Anarchic Talk,” Oakland Tribune, March 4, 1905, p. 12.
[57] Cultural Resources of the Jack London State Historic Park, 1987 , p. 63.
[58] Utah State University Archives, The Jack London Papers, Box 16, Pottawattamie County Historical Society, Reimers to Charmain London, Nov. 4, 1927, and Feb. 6, 1947.
[59] 1930 United States Census of San Leandro, e.d 1-240, p. 3B.
[60] 1930 United States Census of Berkeley California, e.d. I-320, p. 13A.
[61] California Death Index, 1940-1997.
[62] California Death Index 1940-1997.
[63] Social Security Death Index indicated that Annel Roy Rydell was born on September 17, 1915. See also 1930 United States Federal Census of Huntington Park, California, Enumeration District 19-1336, p. 1A. The census data indicates that Rydell was born in Minneapolis and Norwegian-American parents. Born in Minneapolis, MN on Sept. 17, 1915. "Roy" Rydell studied at the Minneapolis Art Institute before moving to Los Angeles in 1929. He further studied there at the Chouinard Art School and USC followed by work at UC Berkeley and at Ecole de la Grand-Chaumière in Paris.
[64] Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S. 1895-1956.
[65] Ibid.
[66] Ibid.
[67] World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
[68] Ibid.
[69] U.S. Naturalization Records, 1795-1972.
[70] New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957.
[71] Ibid.
[72] Ibid.
[73] Ibid.
[74] , see also , see also “Born of Trees: A Timberman’s Estate is Revived To Reflect Its Colonial Bones,” Seattle Times, November 3, 2002.
[75] , see also “Georgian Colonial: This Classic Design Fits A Contemporary Family, Seattle Times, July 18, 1992.
[76] ,!239209!0#focus , see also “A Seattle Garden on the Estate of Mrs. Robert P. Greer,” House and Garden, December 1936.
[81] Oschner, Jeffrey Karl, ed., Shaping Seattle Architecture, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
[82] “Bone of Tree”, Seattle Times, Nov. 3, 2002
[84] 1930 United States Census of Seattle, Washington, E.D. 17-91, p. 25B.
[85] “Art Commission Member Named,” Seattle Times, December 20, 1957.
[86] The Weeders Guide, The Palladium Times, Oswego, New York, July 23, 1962.
[88] “Otto Holmdahl, Landscaper,” Seattle Times, March 5, 1967.

[89] De Long, David G., “Eliel Saarinen and the Cranbrook Tradition in Architecture and Urban Design,” Design in America, The Cranbrook Vision 1925-1950, Detroit: The Founders Society of the Detroit Institute of Arts, 1983, p. 47.
[90] Andersson, Sven-Ingvar and Høyer, Steen, C.Th Sørensen, Landscape Modernist, Copenhagen, The Danish Architectural Press, 2001, p.
[91] Marter, Joan, “Sculpture and Painting,” Ibid, p. 185.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saved as a favorite, I love your blog!

My site: Asphalt Driveways MN

3:21 PM  
Blogger Gagana Vaijayati said...

Thanks for the informative article.This is one of the best tips in my life. I have in quite some time.Nicely written and great info.I really cannot thank you enough for sharing.

Herbalife in Chennai
Wellnesscoaches in Chennai
Weight Loss in Chennai
Weight Gain in Chennai

9:23 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home