Preserving Important Landscapes
GENEVIEVE P. KELLER AND J. TIMOTHY KELLER
Historic landscape preservation came of age in the last quarter of the twentieth century. A movement that barely had a name in 1975 became codified and bureaucratized during the 1980s and 1990s, as preservation professionals developed criteria, guidelines, and standards for evaluating, nominating, and treating significant designed, vernacular, and rural landscapes. A number of nonprofit groups and organizations and government agencies at both the state and national levels began formal programs to incorporate landscape preservation into the larger preservation arena.
For most of the twentieth century, landscape preservation involved garden restoration projects. Early twentieth-century historic landscape projects, such as those sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia at Stratford Hall or Kenmore, concentrated on planting plans intended to create a “historic feeling” in the vicinity of an important historic house, rather than to achieve strict historical authenticity. This practice was consistent with the accepted notion of the time that landscapes were significant primarily as the settings for important buildings and were not based on rigorous historical research or sophisticated archaeology. Prior to the 1980s, most private preservation efforts were intended to beautify historic grounds and gardens, and landscapes received little attention within federal preservation programs.
Despite the attention paid to architectural significance following passage of the 1966 act and the subsequent development of the Secretary of the Interior's; Standards for Rehabilitation, the federal preservation program did not limit or exclude landscapes from receiving the same designations and protections afforded other significant resources. In fact, many landscapes were included