National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

National Register of Historic Places Program:
National Landscape Architecture Month

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

 

The National Register of Historic Places is pleased to promote awareness of and appreciation for historic places important in landscape architecture.

This site showcases:
Highlighted Properties / Previous Highlights / Publications / National Park Units / National organizations

What is landscape architecture?

Landscape architecture is defined by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) as “…the profession which applies artistic and scientific principles to the research, planning, design and management of both natural and built environments. Practitioners of this profession apply creative and technical skills and scientific, cultural and political knowledge in the planned arrangement of natural and constructed elements on the land with a concern for the stewardship and conservation of natural, constructed and human resources. The resulting environments shall serve useful, aesthetic, safe and enjoyable purposes.” Beginning in the 19th century, landscape architecture came into its own. Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., is often considered in the United States the Father of Landscape Architecture, with his design for Central Park in New York City in 1858.  There were those before him, but Olmsted’s work, coming at a time when the industrial cities were growing and urban landscapes were thought beneficial to an expanding cosmopolitan population, really set the stage for those who would follow in his footsteps.

National Register Landscape Initiative

The National Park Service has initiated a study of the nomination of landscapes to the National Register of Historic Places.  The effort is called the “National Register Landscape Initiative” (NRLI). The first task of the NRLI will be an examination of current practices and existing guidance, with the end goal of establishing best practice guidance and increasing the attention paid to landscapes in nominations. Read more .

Showcase of Landscape Architecture photographs
National Register coordinators were invited to submit images of designed landscapes listed in the National Register that they think are among the best in their state.


Highlighted Properties (recent listings)

[Photo]
Halprin Open Space Sequence
Photograph courtesy of Oregon State Historic Preservation Officet

Halprin Open Space Sequence, Portland, Oregon

Constructed between 1966 and 1970 as a vital part of the South Auditorium Urban Renewal District, the Halprin Open Space Sequence is nationally significant under Criterion C for Landscape Architecture. Specifically, it is a masterwork by transformative landscape architect Lawrence Halprin. This work is one of the largest, most complex, comprehensive and sophisticated expressions of Halprin 's concepts for public plazas.

Hakone Historic District, Saratoga, California
The period of significance for the property is 1917-1941, during which the three main gardens and all contributing buildings and structures were built. Hakone was designed and built by talented Japanese designers and craftsmen, and during the late 1930s and early 1940s, a second generation of Japanese talent modified and added to the gardens. Hakone is unique in California and is a significant designed landscape that contains multiple contributing buildings and structures that embody high artistic values.

[Photo]Hakone Historic District
Photo courtesy of the California State Historic Preservation Office

Omaha Park and Boulevard System, Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha was one of the earliest Midwestern cities to develop and implement a complete park and boulevard plan. The System began in the late nineteenth century and was substantially complete by 1918.

. See all properties listed for Landscape Architecture since 2013

 


Properties Landcapes Highlighted in Previous National Landscape Architecture Months

Robert M. Hanes House, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

In 1937, Hanes commissioned New York landscape architect Ellen Shipman to design the rear garden for the residence. House and Garden magazine labeled her the “dean of American women architects.” Shipman designed a variety of garden types, but the best of her designs were characterized by domesticality, intimacy, romantic seclusion, and lush flowerbeds. The garden at the Robert M. Hanes House reflects Shipman’s design aesthetic by exhibiting many of the features she typically employed: an axial layout with a short vista, small lawns, a terrace, near symmetry, multiple levels, well-defined paths, walls, pools in a variety of shapes, a garden house, and a secluded seating area.

Mount Airy Forest, Cincinnati, Ohio
Conceived as the nation’s first urban reforestation project, the park has developed over the years—especially during the Depression and post-World War II period- into a park with a variety of areas, spaces and structures designed to accommodate recreational, social, and educational activities. Today it continues to offer a large expanse of protected land within the city limits where the public can enjoy the richness and diversity of nature.

Chiricahua National Monument Historic Designed Landscape, Cochise County, Arizona
Located within the Chiricahua National Monument, the Chiricahua National Monument Historic Designed Landscape consists of approximately 10,000 acres of stunning wilderness. Administered by the National Park Service, this scenic wilderness is 120 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona, and located in the northwest portion of the Chiricahua Mountain range in southeastern Arizona. The Chiricahua National Monument is best known for the rock pinnacles for which the monument was created to protect. Rising sometimes hundreds of feet into the air, many of these pinnacles are balancing on a small base, seemingly ready to topple over at any time.

[Photo]
Cummer Gardens
Photo bysfpitmanvia Flickr and Creative Commons

Cummer Gardens, Jacksonville, Florida
The Cummer Gardens, located on the grounds of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens on the western shore of the St. James River, in the historic Riverside neighborhood of Jacksonville, encompass 1.45 acres between the west bank of the river and the art museum. The gardens are unique in Florida and the southeast, representing the history of American landscape design in the first four decades of the 20th century. The gardens have direct ties to four leading American landscape designers and firms--Michigan based Ossian Simonds, Philadelphia’s Thomas Meehan & Sons, Ellen Biddle Shipman of New York, and the renowned Olmsted Brothers firm of Massachusetts.

 

[Photo]Rock Creek Church Yard and Cemetery
Photo by danieljdougherty via Flickr and Creative Commons

Rock Creek Church Yard and Cemetery, Washington, DC
Rock Creek Church Yard and Cemetery contributes, significantly-to the cultural heritage and visual beauty of the District of Columbia. Covering 85 acres, the cemetery is sited on high ground, its undulating terrain falling away to the north from the main gate. The cemetery is the site of many memorials of distinguished aesthetic quality including not only the Adams Memorial (Grief) by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaidens and architect Stanford White of McKim, Mead and White but also the Frederick Keep Monument (Journey of Life) by James Earle Fraser.

 

[Photo]
Jacques Marchais Center of Tibetan Art
Photo by Kathy Howe
Courtesy of the New York State Historic Preservation Office

Jacques Marchais Center of Tibetan Art, Staten Island, New York
The Jacques Marchais Center of Tibetan Art, located in Staten Island, New York, at 338/336 Lighthouse Avenue, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on May 29, 2009 for its association with Jacques Marchais (1887-1948), a pioneer collector and respected expert on Tibetan art. Marchais was an extraordinary American woman who created an institution to serve as a bridge between the west and the rich artistic and cultural traditions of Tibet and the Himalayan region.

Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Fort Worth, Texas
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden, located southwest of downtown Fort Worth, Texas, encompasses 109 acres of slightly rolling terrain originally marked by native stands of deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves seasonally).  Listed in the National Register of Historic Places for national significance in the area of Landscape Architecture, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden is an excellent example of a designed landscape and as one of the first multiple rose gardens established in the southern half of the United States. 

North Inlet Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Larimer County, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park offers many scenic trails for the enrichment of the visitor. The North Inlet Trail, located on the west side of the Rocky Mountain National Park, offers visitors a grand view of lakes, forest and mountains while offering campsites along the way.

[Photo]Hallet Peak from Lake Haiyaho Trail
Photo by Elderhiker via flickr used through creative commons license

Lake Haiyaha Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Larimer County, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park offers many scenic trails for the enrichment of the visitor. The North Inlet Trail, located on the west side of the Rocky Mountain National Park, offers visitors a grand view of lakes, forest and mountains while offering campsites along the way.

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) 75th Anniversary
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established on March 19, 1933, by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a New Deal program to aid young men from unemployed families during the Great Depression. Executive Order 6106 took effect in April 1933, ten days after President Roosevelt’s address to Congress. The organization established was technically called “Emergency Conservation Work.” The phrase Roosevelt used in his speech to Congress, however, the Civilian Conservation Corps, was more frequently used and is the name by which the organization is referred to today.

Skyline Drive, Virginia
Skyline Drive is the only public road that travels the length of the National Park Service's Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, measuring 105 miles of roadway. The drive runs the entire length of the northern and southern crests of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal Program, Skyline Drive is a testament to the expanding movement for conservation, public outdoor recreation, and regional planning that gained momentum in the 1920s and became the hallmark of Federal policy in the 1930s.

[Photo]Will Rogers Park Gardens and Arboretum
Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society, photograph by JoAnne Vervinck

Will Rogers Park Gardens and Arboretum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Named after Oklahoma' famous native son, Will Rogers, the Will Rogers Park Gardens and Arboretum are significant for landscape design and as a part of Oklahoma City's park system plan. The park was originally planned in 1909, then constructed in the 1930s by the CCC and WPA.

Riverview Park, Hannibal, Missouri
Riverview Park is a 465 acre park along the Mississippi River in the city of Hannibal. The park opened in 1909 thanks to the philanthropy of Wilson Pettibone who wished to preserve the naturalness of the land, and avoid traces of artificiality. Riverview Park is a mature arboretum and is a good example of of the prairie style of landscape design.

Lincoln Park Lily Pool, Chicago , IL
This 3-acre Lily Pool is an exquisite hidden garden in Chicago 's Lincoln Park that symbolically celebrates the natural and pre-history of the Midwest .

Manitoga (Russel Wright Home & Studio), Garrison, New York
A founding member of the American Society of Industrial Designers, Wright was well-known as the designer of the “American Modern” style in domestic decorative arts (furniture, fabrics, glassware, and tableware) and as the inventor of the still popular sectional sofa.

Publications

Building the National Parks: Historic Landscape Design and Construction

Several titles in the National Register of Historic Places bulletin series provide guidance on the identification, evaluation and documentation of a variety of historic landscapes--from parks and parkways to gardens and cemeteries to agricultural districts and institutional campuses--for listing in the National Register.

Historic Residential Suburbs
Designed Historic Landscapes
Rural Historic Landscapes
Historic Battlefields
Historic Cemeteries
Traditional Cultural Properties

Discover Historic Contexts featuring aspects of Landscape Architecture and History such as Historic Park Landscapes in National and State Parks MPS, Modernism in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design, and Art in Bartholomew County, 1942-1965 MPS, Historic Designed Landscapes of Syracuse MPS and many others by searching the National Register Information System database.

National Register of Historic Places on Flickr: Landscape Architecture properties: The National Register is on Flickr, this subset of photographs are of landscape architecture properties.

National Register of Historic Places listing for landscape architecture:
Good examples of landscape architecture can be found on our sample nomination page.

Publications not in the National Register Program:

Wilderness by Design: Landscape Architecture and the National Park Service

Rustic Architecture: 1916-1942

Bryce Canyon National Park: Bryce Canyon Lodge District and Historic National Park Service Housing District

Presenting Nature: The Historic Landscape Design of the National Park Service

Building the National Parks: Historic Landscape Design and Construction

National Park Service Program Links:

Virtually visit the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park and the associated Conservation Study Institute, and other National Parks with historic Landscape Architecture significance.

Travel to places that feature historic landscapes in the Discover our Shared Heritage Online Travel Itineraries.

Investigate collections of Teaching with Historic Places classroom-ready lesson plans featuring landscape design, urbanization, conservationism, the role of public parks in U.S. history and celebrating National Park Week and Earth Day.

Guidance for making educated decisions and protecting cultural landscapes—both designed landscapes such as gardens and parks to working vernacular historic landscapes such as farms and industrial sites--from the NPS Historic Landscapes Initiative.

Like its sister programs, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) produces written and graphic records of interest to educators, land managers, and preservation planners documenting the variety of American landscapes.

Parkitecture in Western National Parks

The Park Historic Structures and Cultural Landscapes Programs provide direction and demonstrate high quality preservation practices regarding cultural landscapes—ranging from carriage roads to battlefields, designed gardens to vernacular homesteads, and industrial complexes to summer estates-- in the National Park System.

Through grants and technical assistance, the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) promotes the preservation of historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil.

Skyline Drive: in the Shenandoah National Park

National Organizations:

American Society of Landscape Architects
Alliance Historic Landscape Preservation
Library of American Landscape History
National Association for Olmsted Parks
The Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University
The Garden Conservancy

Photo Credit:
Landscape Architecture Month banner photograph of Cummer Gardens by Keristars via Flickr

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