*Photo Credit – WikiCommons
By Laura L. Knott, Regional Director at Commonwealth Heritage Group, Inc.
This spring, Commonwealth’s Charlottesville Regional Director, Laura Knott, will attend two key gatherings of historic landscape preservation professionals. On April 26–28, she will attend the Southern Garden History Society’s (SGHS) 37th Annual Meeting, which will be held in Birmingham, Alabama. The mission of the SGHS is to encourage the preservation and restoration of historic gardens, cultural landscapes, and horticultural history across the Southern U.S. through educational programs and publications, and publishes a quarterly journal, Magnolia, through which landscape historians share their research work.
A post-Reconstruction urban wonder known as “The Magic City,” Birmingham boasts the iconic Vulcan statue, mounted on a 126-foot pedestal at the center of Vulcan Park, designed and built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Conference tours will visit this site, as well as the Birmingham Botanical Garden—a mid-century modern landscape developed adjacent to the Birmingham Zoo at the foot of Red Mountain—and several private gardens in Birmingham’s 1920s-era English Village neighborhood. Prior to the conference, Laura will also attend renowned landscape historian Judith Tankard’s presentation, “Garden Artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement” at the Birmingham Museum of Art. While in Birmingham, Laura will visit sites in the new Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, including the notorious “Dynamite Hill,” Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, and the A.G. Gaston Motel.
On May 22–25, Laura will attend the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation’s 41st Annual Meeting in Detroit, Michigan. The focus of the conference will be on urban renewal, redesign, innovation, and resilience, as well as the role and significance of urbanized ethnicities, contested landscapes, and the lasting legacy of industrial sites. Attendees will tour River Raisin National Battlefield Park, Lafayette Park with its large collection of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe residences, and Belle Isle Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted for the Columbian Exposition .