Landscape Architecture, as Applied to the Wants of the West; with an Essay on Forest Planting on the Great Plains (1873)

An early and influential treatise on the role of landscape architecture in nineteenth-century America


An important force in nineteenth-century American landscape architecture, H.W.S. Cleveland (1814–1900) has long been overshadowed by Frederick Law Olmsted, with whom he worked briefly at Prospect Park. Cleveland's "organic" design approach was first expressed in 1855 at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts, where he and Robert Morris Copeland developed a landscape aesthetic based chiefly on the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Landscape Architecture, as Applied to the Wants of the West, published in 1873, summarizes Cleveland's organic approach and its application at all scales of design and planning. The book is especially significant as the first attempt to define and develop a comprehensive scope for the new profession of landscape architecture in its formative period.

A new introduction to the text provides a historical backdrop to Cleveland's concern that ill-considered layouts for communities along the rapidly developing rail lines of the Midwest and Great Plains would negatively affect what he saw as the future of American civilization. Daniel J. Nadenicek and Lance M. Neckar explicate Cleveland's text, analyzing his innovative approach to design and planning and its influence on the profession. They also examine the intriguing, rarely studied Essay on Forest Planting on the Great Plains, the second part of the original book, discussing the pragmatic and philosophical forces that inspired its writing. The introduction provides an overview of Cleveland's career, from his formative Unitarian roots in Lancaster, Massachusetts, through his designs for Highland Park in Illinois, the South Parks system in Chicago, and, in his later years, the Minneapolis park system.

Published in association with Library of American Landscape History: http://lalh.org/

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