As many preservationists grapple with saving historic landscapes threatened by development, climate change, or neglect, preservation through documentation is a wise strategy. Baseline documentation is useful for maintenance and interpretive needs, and this academic record can outlast the landscape itself. This talk by Chris Stevens will demystify the documentation process and share its benefits and opportunities.
The Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) mission is to record historic landscapes in the United States and its territories through measured drawings and interpretive drawings, written histories, and large-format photographs - preservation through documentation. The National Park Service (NPS) oversees the daily operation of HALS and formulates policies, sets standards, and drafts procedural guidelines in consultation with the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). The Library of Congress preserves the documentation for posterity and makes it available to the general public. Together with the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), this collection is among the largest and most heavily used in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.
This special lunchtime talk is free. Registration is limited to 100 people.
Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village HALS CA-42-11 (Stephen Schafer, photographer, August 2009). Library of Congress.
About our Speaker
Chris Stevens is currently the acting Chief of the National Park Service Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) and has been the Landscape Architect for the HALS Program since 2008. HALS is a small program with a big impact, and Chris is grateful to collaborate with the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and many professionals and volunteers all over the country to expand the HALS Collection at the Library of Congress. Chris first joined the National Park Service in 2000, after obtaining his MLA and Certificate in Historic Preservation from the University of Virginia School of Architecture. Chris worked as a historical landscape architect for the NPS Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation from 2000-2006. There he prepared Cultural Landscape Reports and Inventories and served as a cultural landscape adviser for many Northeast Region parks. From 2006-2008, Chris served as the Cultural Landscape Inventory (CLI) Coordinator for the National Capital Region in Washington, DC.
Eden editor Steven Keylon will give a presentation on the prolific landscape architect Tommy Tomson, also known as the “landscape architect to the stars." Born with the name Golden Sands in Zanesville, Ohio, Tomson arrived in Hollywood in the 1920s. There, he was noticed for his handsome looks and was invited for a screen test and studio contract. Instead, he chose a completely different career path, converting into a self-taught landscape architect.
Keylon takes us on a tour of the highlights of Tomson's long career, from the stately estates for 1930s and 40s film stars, his forty years at Santa Anita, and other iconic prewar work including the Pan-Pacific Auditorium, and Union Station. After the war, Tomson turned his focus from residential work to large-scale projects. In 1946, he designed the master-planned community of Palm Desert. This was followed by designs including factories, hospitals, and resorts, including the high desert community of Apple Valley.
The photo shows film star Joan Bennett strolling through the Tomson-designed garden of her Wallace Neff estate in Holmby Hills. Photo courtesy Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives
Steven Keylon, the editor of the CGLHS journal Eden, is a landscape historian who lives in Palm Springs, California, and writes and lectures about Southern California's landscapes. Steven is the author of The Modern Architecture of Hugh Michael Kaptur and The Design of Herbert W. Burns and articles on
In conjunction with the North American Japanese Garden Association, this talk will reveal the history of select Japanese gardens in California.
More details will be announced soon.
CGLHS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization
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