Ohio Landscape Inventory

The Ohio Historic Landscape Survey was created to identify and record Ohio's significant designed historic landscapes, work toward developing a greater appreciation of these landscapes in the context of Ohio's cultural heritage, and determine which ones are important and worthy of preservation.

The idea of implementing the Ohio Historic Landscapes Survey began in 1984 when the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) contacted the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) about developing a statewide inventory of landscapes as part of a national effort to begin systematically identifying significant designed landscapes, particularly the works of Frederick Law Olmsted and his successors.

The emphasis on recording Olmsted's works was initially spearheaded by the National Association of Olmsted Parks. This effort coincided with legislation introduced in Congress by Ohio Representative John Seiberling that would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to begin documenting Olmsted's works. Partially in response to Mr. Seiberling's proposed legislation, the Ohio Chapter of the ASLA, through the efforts of Professor Noel Dorsey, furnished SHPO with a list of over 200 historic landscapes in Ohio that may have been designed by Olmsted and his successors. This list became the basis of the newly formed Ohio Historic Landscapes Survey.

Rather than limit the survey exclusively to the works of Olmsted, the ASLA and SHPO decided to expand the survey to include the works of all landscape designers, both professional and amateur. SHPO and the Ohio Chapter of the ASLA have begun to coordinate efforts with individuals and organizations across the state in completing the landscapes inventory.

Recording a Historic Landscape

The recording of a historic landscape includes a description and history of the property with dates of design; names of owners, landscape architects, designers, gardeners, and administrators; identification of construction technologies, methods, and plant materials; landscape style; existing and previous uses with the dates of use identified; and the acreage of the original tract and any subsequent additions or reductions. Additional information may be important including the use of local, unusual, or exotic plant materials; the innovative use of new construction materials or technologies; and the relationship between the property and others that may be nearby that were designed by the same individual or firm or owned by the same family or organization. Although a landscape need not retain all the characteristic features of its primary design, it should retain enough of the essential features to make its historic character clearly recognizable.

Selected References

Keller, J. Timothy and Genevieve P.
How to Evaluate and Nominate Designed Historic Landscapes, National Register Bulletin 18. Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of the Interior, 1987 (available through the U.S. Government Printing Office).

Meier, Lauren, American Society of Landscape Architects, and Chittenden, Betsy, comp.
Preserving Historic Landscapes, An Annotated Bibliography. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1990.

Morrow, Baker H.
A Dictionary of Landscape Architecture. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987.

Newton, Norman T.
Design on the Land: The Development of Landscape Architecture. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of the University of Massachusetts Press, 1971.

Tishler, William, ed.
American Landscape Architecture: Designers and Places. Washington, D.C.: The Preservation Press, National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1989. Special acknowledgment in the preparation of this information is given to Genevieve and Timothy Keller, How to Evaluate and Nominate Designed Historic Landscapes. National Register of Bulletin 18.

Types of Historic Designed Landscapes

  • residential grounds and gardens
  • botanical gardens and arboretums
  • churchyards and cemeteries
  • public spaces (courthouse squares, city squares and town greens)
  • institutional grounds (college campuses, state hospitals)
  • streetscapes (plantings and furnishings)
  • subdivisions and planned communities
  • commercial and industrial parks and properties
  • parks
  • recreational grounds (resorts, golf courses, bowling greens, racetracks)
  • parkways, scenic drives, and trails
  • memorials