Return to the Garden Restoration Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Posted by Bigutehort 4-Wisconsin (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 8, 04 at 11:47

I am looking for any information I can gather regarding the typical German immigrant business owner family urban homestead either from the 1880-1910 era or the earlier 20th century (before 1930), I am looking for such insights as plants, planting styles, or thoughts that would tend to mold garden structure for an upper-midwest German immigrant family. I am particularly interested in the simplest issues as in shrubbery (and consequently the maintenance)and any preferrence for perrenials or annuals and what plants. Please email me at; bigute-hort@prodigy.net with any details, including any referrences you may have. Your help is greatly appreciated. We are reconditioning an historic German urban Homestead landscape


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

As this is a public forum that all posters here learn from, share, and contribute to, Bigutehort, it is customary to post information rather than ask that it be sent to your priovate e-mail address. The give and take is what makes the forum.
Ginger


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

I'm sorry, I have no information to post. I had a question to ask, but, if I read this reply correctly, it is improper to ask questions, only to post information. What a strange forum. I can see that it was a mistake thinking I could ask for help from a forum as exclusive as this one. I won't bother you again.


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

You missed the point. You ask a question, you receive answer(s), you comment, refine your questions, receive more information, etc. A conversation is started, posters chime in, many heads are better than one, etc. This is all squashed if posters only reply to an e-mail address.

Also, there is a feature whereby you can be notified via your e-mail of answers to your posts that appear here. I see you have found this feature. Good.

Regards,
Ginger


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Here is a site that may get you started http://academic.csuohio.edu/clevelandhistory/culturalgardens/Gardens/Germany/GermanPhotoIndex.htm. The garden shown is probably grander than the one you are working on but there are links to other sources that may be of interest. It is unlikely that an ornamental garden would have been high on the list of priorities for most immigrants but fruit trees and vegetables from home would have been popular I am sure.


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

It would help us to give you a possible answer if we knew what "style' the house is. Queen Anne? Victorian? Farmhouse, etc? How much land surrounds the house? Generally, craftsmanship is upper most in the German mind. It may be that there were minimal foundation plantings around the house with garden beds and vegetable growing taking place in their alloted spaces so the lines of the house could be seen. Also, the types of housing of the same age in the neighborhood may have influenced what was planted. If the neighborhood was Victorian then figuring out the plantings for that era should be easy. One thing that is overlooked in garden restoration of that age is the enclosed area for hanging clothes to dry. It was improper to "air your dirty laundry" for public view. These enclosures were either of lattice construction or arbovitae hedges. The former provided a wonderful spot for growing climbing roses.
Hopefully you will check back in with more details re house design and land sq. footage.


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

I can see where this went wrong now that I have read the original question and gingers response over again. We seem to regard the Internet as state of the art communication when sometimes smoke signals were clearer. When ginger suggests that replies (information) to questions be posted here rather than sent via an exclusive e-mail this is mis-read as to mean the total opposite of what she intended.
To be fair the original poster does not offer up much to work on and there would be more value in this thread if there was a response to Nandinas input and a further exploration of the aims of this project an exploration which, after all is what this forum is all about.


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Unfortunately, the poster seems to have taken her ball and bat and gone home. She should be receiving these posts, however. I don't see how she can ignore INK and Nandina's good offerings. Maybe she is communicating with them via e-mail . . .


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

I guess an apology is apparently in order. I entered into the forum to pose a very straightforward and simple question and presumed the information, which is very explicit and complete about the details to which I was posing the question, have been responded to with more questions about details and history that have little or nothing to do with my question. Therefor, it would behoove the group to ignore and get past my posts. The history about myself is very complex...I am a male, have been involved in historic preservation for over 30 years, am a retired landscaper, and a volunteer for very many horticulturally related groups. The answer I was looking for quite simply was "What would a German Merchants family in a small Midwestern community whose brick 2 1/2 story home was located in a merchants neighborhood and was a corner house at what would have been a quiet residential intersection at the time on a typical small downtown residential lot have landscaped and gardened like at the turn of the century (1900). I was hoping someone could reference some history or diary to answer this question. This was just a shot at a general question I thought might generate an answer from this group. I was unaware that this was not an appropriate forum for this question because my intent was for an answer, not a discussion. My apologies!


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Ginger,
No, I have not received any communication from Bigutehort. Hopefully this person will continue the conversation here on the Forum. All over the country there are volunteers working to save and restore historical properties important to their particular community. This is a labor of love. So much so that HGTV devotes a whole program to the subject, although it deals more with the structure than the garden restoration. Wish they would dwell more on the gardens.

I sense that lurking out there are a number of interested readers who have some valuable contributions to make in the field of garden restoration. Don't be shy!

Let me end with a story for Bigutehort. Several years ago I was invited to a small luncheon gathering to meet an English horticulturist who is the Queen's head gardener. He was deeply into a garden restoration project of an old castle owned by the Crown. He detailed the archeological work they were doing to locate old garden paths, garden beds, etc. Very interesting. Then, he suddenly said that he knew more about the ghosts that haunted the grounds than the old gardens. "We see them all the time, even in the daylight," he said. This was followed by a description of each ghost. The expression on his face was very serious. To this day I don't know if he was telling ghost stories or pulling our leg. But, the quiet efforts of those who study and restore old gardens often go unrewarded. This is a good forum on which to boast, ask questions, answer questions and discuss a subject where sometimes instinct is your only guide.


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

As somebody who offered up what I considered a helpful response to your question although it was not the specific answer you were looking for I am insulted by your attitude.
Beligerant Driver: "Can you direct me to London?"
Helpful Bystander: "Do you mean the one in England or the one in Ontario?"
BD: "I need directions, not a discussion, now which way is it?"
HB: "Up, I think."
BG: "Up where, you ignoramus?"
HB: "Up your's!"
You are actually doing us a favour by taking your rudeness elsewhere, no tears will be shed.


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

I think there are still places on the internet like "Ask Jeeves" or "Ask an Expert" for the answers to simple questions. You might try there, although even they may have refining questions to ask.

You seem confused, however, as to whether your question is specific ("I entered into the forum to pose a very straightforward and simple question") or general ("This was just a shot at a general question.")

There is a German Garden in Cleveland that you might e-mail(INK referenced the site). There is a German community in New Braunfels, TX started in the 1800's; German immigrants still move there today--a friend of mine whose mother came to the US in the '60's moved there in the '80's. A thriving German community with lots of gardens and restored historical homes--no doubt a library that may have what you are looking for. A message to the Chamber might come up with resources.

Were the Wisconsin Germans similiar to the Pennsylvania Dutch Germans with four-square gardens being very popular?

There may be experts here on the GR forum who will answer by-and-by if you are willing to talk and keep your thread going/alive.

Why is your history so complex, as you write?

It will be difficult to get an answer anywhere, is my guess, without the willingness to communicate. Want to try again?


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Again--I want to thank all the responses I did get...Some will prove to be somewhat helpfull, allthough I guess I will enlarge my search, as the question is proving to be more complicated than I anticipated. It is too bad the issue wasn't Norwegian homestead, as I lived that one....For those who were insulted by my direct, percieved rude, and to the point manner, please do not hurl additional insults and derogatory blather at me....I am still getting some helpfull insights, and I don't want to automatically delete something of use


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Are you a Norwegian Lutheran, Bigutehort? My husband is the CEO of Lutheran Social Services of NE. I have met many Scandinavian-descent Lutherans over the years (not to mention being a dyed in the wool Prairie Home Companion listener). Many do have a curt, to the point style of talking.


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Bigutehort,
Hang in there. Sometimes it take me awhile to figure out how to locate information. I assumed that you had checked your local sources of library and historical society. Then it occured to me that during that period of time much of the trade was moving west (and east) on the Great Lakes. What was the most influencial nursery along the lake shipping routes? Of course! "Vick's Nursery + Rochester, NY." Google that. I don't want to give you a direct link because the two pages shown are interesting to read. But, you will find numerous sites to the Special Collections of the National Agriculture Society with tips on researching and an e-mail address where you can request their research help. Hopefully that institution can help you. I must be behind the times because I had never heard of this agricultural library. I have always used the MA. Horticultural library which is closed right now as it moves its valuable collection to another location. Hope this helps.


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Is this a public or a private reconstruction? My initial impression was public, but rereading the thread that isn't explicitly stated. For a public reconstruction, I'd try to get period photographs from the public. The local newspaper should be willing to run a short article about the project. For a private reconstruction, I'd just look at as many reasonably relevant photographs as possible. To add to the pile there is 'Gardens of the Gilded Age: Nineteenth Century Gardens and Homegrounds of New York State' by M. Christine Klim Doell. Most of the photographs are from upper class houses since they were the ones with access to photography, but the selection is quite interesting.

Then there is this link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Planet Smethport


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Go to the Max Kade Institute below, click on publictions, and then scroll down to "The Golden Signpost," a popular handbook for German immigrants to America, published in the 1880's.

Apparently it advises them about any and all aspects of life in their new surroundings, include "what greenery to purchase" for gardens and landscaping.

http://csumc.wisc.edu/mki/Publications/1.PublicationsFrames.htm


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

You might want to google up the Armana Heritage Society there you will find old photographs of a kitchen garden with shrubs and a homestead. The Armana were/are a religious group which may not be accurate for your specific project but I am sure the planting will be similar. For a wider search you could try "Armana colonies".


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

I have no expertise to offer the original poster, but have been watching this thread. I am impressed with the civility of most of the regulars of this forum, and your willingness to help someone who is being quite difficult. This is a good group of people.


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Bigutehort, I posted a link to a photgraph of my grandfather's house. He was the 1st generation American of German descent. He was born in Kansas, and built this house in SW Kansas not far from where his father built his original (and only) house in America approx. the mid-to- late 1890s. This dwellings dates back to the 1915-17 time period.

You made a comment about a 2-1/2 story brick house. I grew up in a fairly large community of German immigrants. They were mostly accomplished carpenters. I have no recollection of any mason work in that community. The homes were erected after the outbuildings (barns, etc) had been constructed, and they generally lived in the barns for several years while the house was being completed. However, photographs, from the old-country, depicted both brick & wooden-construction dwellings (Polish-German border-region).

Gardening & landscaping was a big portion of their heritage, and they struggled to maintain such gardens in the hostile (nearly rainless for over two decades) new home.

Larry

Here is a link that might be useful: German Homestead


 o
RE: German Historic

Since one can only post one link, here is a photograph of the farm that my great-grandfather built upon ariving in America. The photo was take some 60 years after he arrived.

Here is a link that might be useful: Original Home In America


 o
RE: Preserved Home

Okay, okay, I promise to quit contributing. This was their home near Gdansk, built sometime in the 1700s. It was still standing some 12-15 years ago.

Here is a link that might be useful: Old Country


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Hello, Larry! Great photos; I remember the beautiful one of you and your brothers and mother in the flower garden.

How is the Master Gardener program going? Off-topic, I guess. I'll e-mail you.

Ginger


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

  • Posted by mjsee Zone 7, NC (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 16, 04 at 9:16

Larry-- your contributions are always MORE than welcome! I lived in Cincinnati as a young girl, and then returned there for college (GO XAVIER!). As you probably know, Cincinnati is a VERY "german" town. LOTS of brick and stone homes, as well as wood. And FABULOUS decorative glass--both stained glass and clear, beveled, leaded glass. I really miss the rich variety of architecturul styles. We have a kid at XU now--and one of the things we do when we visit is walk through the neighborhoods admiring the houses.

OT as well-but you brought up some good memories!

melanie


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Ginger & Melanie, thanks for the kind words. Encouraging this type of behavior only gets you more. The following link provides an aerial glimpse of the first photo. This shot was taken in 1948, roughly 40 years after arrving. The interesting apect, of this landscape, is that it was treeless prairie then.

Here is a link that might be useful: Homestead


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Not exactly in the right geographic area, but might you be able to get some useful information from here? There is an e-mail address on the page.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brubacher House


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Great pictures.....I wish I had additional photos of my house and property from years gone by.

We have one small photo from 1950 with our house in the background. That's it.

I am going to get into contact with the remaining members of the previous owner's family to see if they have some photos I can make copies of.

I don't know if you have tried this yet....our town newspaper has old newspapers dating back to the early 1900's which are full of pictures and information. Perhaps your local paper or Historical Society has some pictures of the property so that you can see exactly what was once there.

Good luck with your research!

Aubrey


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

I just wandered onto this forum, and have a few recommendations of sites to see in our area, Bigutehort. Old World Wisconsin in Eagle, Waukesha County Historical Society located in the old courthouse in Waukesha, and I believe there is an historical society in Germantown, WI as well. The Waukesha county Historical society has info on the wealthier folks as well, as Waukesha lakes area was playground for the rich and famous (Fontaine and Lombard, among others.) There were quite a few landscape photos available at the Waukesha County Historical Society last time I went through with a 4-H group.

Old World Wisconsin would be my first choice. I'm sure they have some German-immigrant buildings set up. They focus a both on farm and urban. I believe they are closed now for the winter, but I'm quite certain they have a website.

Someone mentioned New Braunfels TX. The architecturelandscapes have some similarities, especially in the use of indigenous limestone, but heat made some differences. However, if a road trip to see New Braunfels would be in order, I'd recommend it. (Selma/Schertz is my favorite little community in Texas, just south of New Braunfels.) But, any road trips to south-central Texas need to be made during bluebonnet season ;-) (March)

Best of luck to you. Sounds like an interesant project. Guten aben.


 o
RE: Historic Landscape Preservation & Reconstruction

Old World Wisconsin is certainly a place to start - I have heard alot about it.
As to the time period, I did a kinda garden for a one room schoolhouse used 1880-1904. I say kinda, because we were not totally authentic in plants, or varieties. The only picture we had was of the building, and NO landscaping existed - the school teacher would have presumably brightened the place up with natives from road side or woods(so I am told).
One thing that you might bear in mind too, herbs were very common and brought over by many Germans - who used them and who still use them extensively medicinally. Amish and Shaker gardens might also give you an idea as to which ones were typical for that community.


 o
Is this still active?

I don't know if this is active or of interest to anyone? I just happened upon this string of posts via a search. I may have a bit to offer. Our home was built by German transplants 1917-1918 in Kansas. Simple home, but great design. Windows possitioned for great cooling, great fireplace made to be effective. As for the landscape: Giant elm east off house to shade the sleeping porch in the morning. Outbuildings to the NW to screen winter winds. Remains of old lilacs at SW and NW corners. Rounded walkway from front door to W entrace. Large oak trees once shaded the barn/garage and West side of the house. Black walnut trees (now on anouther property) at what was the back North side of the property. The walkway forms a 8' wide by 10' long bed W of the front door. Vines, trumpet and possibly Wisteria covered the lattice around and over the botom floor sleeping porch. Next to the barn/garage is a 10' X 10' bed made of 1' wide (about 1' deep) concrete/stone. My guess, a vegtable garden. Any sources you may have on plants used around this time and place I would be interested in.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Garden Restoration Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here