Pebbles In The Pond: News & Musings by Landscape Architect Dick Bell

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A Well Managed Piece of Land June 10, 2010

From the blog ARCHITECTS + ARTISANS  June 4, 2010…

A Well-Managed Piece of Land
By Mike Welton

In the late 1880s, as George Vanderbilt was amassing nearly 228 square miles of land in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, he turned to Frederick Law Olmsted for counsel on what should be done with it. 

It was not in the best condition. He’d purchased about six hundred lots that varied in size from a half-acre to hundreds more. For at least a century, Scotch/Irish immigrants had felled the best trees for meager mountainside farms, burned down the forest for pasture, and allowed hogs to root the land up freely.

“When Olmsted had looked at all of that, he built two towers on the house site – one at the level of where the first floor library is now, and one back behind that,” said Bill Alexander, landscape and forest historian at Biltmore Estate. “He wanted to get Vanderbilt and Richard Morris Hunt up in the air so they could see what the views would look like.”

When asked what he wanted to do with the land, Vanderbilt replied that he thought he’d like to make a park of it, in a bucolic, European style.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AND TO SEE PHOTOS OF THE GARDENS.

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