A historic landscape is defined as a work that has significance as a design or work of art; an association with a designer, gardener, or landscape architect of note; a historical association with a significant person, trend, or event in landscape gardening or landscape architecture; and/or a significant relationship to the theory or practice of landscape gardening or landscape architecture.
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.