Study of Historic Designed Gardens

Project Description

In 2011, the State Office of Historic Preservation awarded the City, through the Certified Local Government program, a grant to study historic gardens in Pasadena.  The project involved preparation of a Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF; a narrative document that describes the history and types of gardens in the city and the important practitioners of garden design), nomination of two historic districts and 7 individual properties for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and a historic resources survey of historic gardens in the City.

Pasadena has a rich history of garden design, from the early days of the Busch and Cravens gardens and Carmelita to the Arts & Crafts and Period Revival eras, to the modern era.  Many renowned landscape architects have worked in Pasadena including Olmsted Brothers; Florence Yoch and Lucile Council; Katherine Bashford; A.E. Hanson; Paul Theine; Beatrix Jones Farrand; Charles Gibbs Adams; Cook, Hall & Cornell; Thomas Church, Garrett Eckbo and Lawrence Halprin.  The importance of gardens to the city’s urban form is evident in today’s requirements for carefully designed open space in new development projects.

With a great deal of help from private property owners, this project identified and documented Pasadena’s rich garden history and nominated the most important gardens that remain in existence for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.  We explored all possible types of properties including residential, commercial/office, institutional, public parks and neighborhood subdivisions designed by landscape architects.  Because most historic gardens are in backyards of residential properties, we requested support from the owners of these properties to allow us to view and document their gardens and many property owners granted us access to their gardens.  The project was completed in November 2012 and the final documents related to the study are below: