Provincetown's public library is housed in the former Center Methodist Church, a National Historic Landmark built in 1860-1861 on Commercial Street, in the heart of the town. At the time of its construction, the church was believed to be the largest of its kind, with a steeple reaching 162 feet into the air. The steeple's top 62 feet perished in an 1898 gale, but the church remained the Methodists' home into the 1950s. After having several owners and a variety of uses, the church was acquired in 2001 by the Town of Provincetown, and in 2005 opened as the library's home. Initial renovations did not include the landscape, and in 2008, the Town hired Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture, LLC to prepare a restoration plan. Drawing inspiration from historic postcards and photographs, MLLA designed a gently graded front lawn, supported by a 24" high seat wall at Commercial Street. A brick walkway, ramping to the front door, provides access for persons with disabilities. A pair of "reading rooms" sited on each side of the front door, serve as shady, outdoor quiet spaces for library patrons.
The Saratoga Race Course is the oldest thoroughbred track in the United States, established in 1864 on the east side of the City of Saratoga Springs. Throughout its near-150 year history, the course has drawn some the most prominent horses and the largest purses, and has attracted patrons from all over the world. Begun by a group of wealthy businessmen, it evolved into one of America's premiere racing venues during the 1930s, with grand buildings and elegant grounds. In the 1950s, after the State of New York assumed ownership of the course and had franchised its operation to the New York Racing Association (NYRA), the property entered a 60-year period of physical decline. Today, the historic buildings and landscape exhibit signs of severe deterioration, and much of the historic character lies obscured. As part of an effort to revive the historic course, NYRA sought advice from the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation (SSPF). SSPF hired Albany-based Landmark Consulting (architectural preservation specialists) and Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture, LLC to develop a cultural resources inventory of the 350-acre property. Conducted in two phases, the project involved researching and documenting the history of the course, assessing its existing conditions, and making recommendations to SSPF and NYRA for its long-term preservation. Landscape recommendations included preserving historic circulation patterns and mature shade trees; reconstructing historic site details including fencing and plantings; and removing many modern, site-cluttering features, such as picnic tables, simulcast stations, and children’s play structures. The cultural resources inventory will be used by architects and landscape architects involved in future planning for the historic race course.
Provincetown is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Massachusetts, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Located at the end of Cape Cod, the town was the first landing site for the Pilgrims, and has since been a haven for Portuguese fishermen, New York artists, and whale-watchers, sailors, beach-goers, and vacationers from all over the world. People arrive by bus, car and high-speed ferry from Boston to a central spot along the harbor, known as Lopes Square. In 2003, the town asked Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture to prepare a master plan for the waterfront area including Memorial Park, Lopes Square, and a transportation center and the connections between them. The project's first phase, completed in 2005, revitalized Lopes Square with new curbing, paving, planting, seating, lighting and litter bins. A granite marker, inscribed and placed in the pavement, commemorates the historic Lopes Square anchor, seized from the sea in 1959 by the crew of the Cap'n Bill.
Built in 1920 for the 300th year celebration of the Pilgrims' landing, the Town Green holds one of Provincetown's most beloved monuments, Signing the Compact. Designed by American artist Cyrus Dallin, the granite and bronze sculpture stands as a backdrop to the Town Green in the heart of Provincetown. Years of wear had eroded the Town Green (also known as Bas Relief Park), and Provincetown's Beautification Committee launched an effort to restore it. Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture devised a rehabilitation plan blending the historical design with contemporary needs. Simplified brick walkways, edged by evergreen, shrub and perennial borders frame the sculpture. Seating areas arranged alongside the walkways provide resting spots for visitors.
The Stevens Estate lies high on Osgood Hill, with views to North Andover and nearby Lawrence. Once the private home of textile tycoon Moses T. Stevens, the Romanesque style mansion and its property are now owned by the Town of North Andover. Brothers Ernest and James Bowditch designed the grounds in the 1880s, and for nearly fifty years the Stevens family entertained, sported and lived within the gentleman's farm and formal garden. Today, little of the original landscape remains. In order to make the landscape more appealing for professional outings and social functions, Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture prepared a landscape rehabilitation plan. The first phase of rehabilitation included a refurbished formal garden that provides an attractive setting for wedding receptions and large parties. Future phases will include an upgraded mansion entrance, refurbished woodlands, and screened parking, resulting in a more dignified approach to this late 19th century Country Place Era estate.
For nearly 135 years, the Northampton State Hospital treated mental health patients at its sprawling campus on a hill overlooking the west side of the city. The campus's centerpiece was a cast iron fountain, designed by Andrew Handyside, and placed near the central administration building in 1876. When the hospital closed in 1993, the fountain was abandoned and later removed. Gradually, most of the hospital's original buildings came down and in their place emerged a new mixed-used development, "Village Hill." To commemorate the hospital and provide a park for Village Hill residents, the city formed a committee and charged it with designing and building a 1/4-acre park. Martha Lyon Landscscape Architecture designed the park landscape, creating a pathway leading to and circling the restored fountain, and planting trees to form a backdrop. Seating and interpretive signs will provide amenities to visitors, and a massing of daffodils will honor the over 65,000 former patients and staff.
Congress Park lies at the heart of Saratoga Springs, adjacent to the downtown commercial area and just one-half mile from the historic Saratoga Race Course. Established in 1806, it first served as a private pleasure ground for patrons of the Union Hall, Saratoga's first hotel. In 1876, the park owners hired Frederick Law Olmsted and Jacob Weidenmann to improve drainage and expand amenities, and by 1901, local government took control of the parkland. An addition of land on the northern side in 1913 nearly doubled the park size, and provided a location for what would become the most beloved outdoor space in Saratoga Springs. The Spencer Trask Memorial, begun in 1914 and completed in 1915, was erected to honor Spencer Trask, a leader in the early 1900s effort to protect Saratoga's treasured mineral springs. Daniel Chester French created the bronze "Spirit of Life" sculpture, and architect Henry Bacon set the work in limestone niche walls overlooking a reflecting pool. Landscape architect Charles Wellford Leavitt designed the heavily planted landscape. On the eve of the memorial's 100th year, the City hired Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture, LLC, to restore the landscape setting. Working with original planting and pathway layout plans, MLLA developed a restoration plan that honored Leavitt's design intent while, at the same time, accommodated contemporary needs for accessibility, safety and ease in maintenance. The restoration was completed in June of 2015, to celebrate 100 years of the Spirit of Life. The project has been honored with professional awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects Upstate New York Chapter, American Public Works Association Capital District Chapter, and the Preservation League of New York State.
Located in the Village of Manomet, Town of Plymouth, the Joseph Simes House was part of a gentleman's farm, established in the 1850s by a Boston tea merchant. The original property consisted of over seventy acres extending from the Village to the Atlantic coastline, and held several outbuildings and a large barn, in addition to a Second Empire style farmhouse. Over its 160-year history, the property shrunk in size and passed through many owners. In 2012, the Joseph Simes Foundation, Inc. took control of the house and one acre of land, with the goal of telling the story of this 19th century Manomet farmer and his family. In 2012, the Foundation hired Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture, LLC to prepare a preservation plan for the landscape, in conjunction with the completion of an Historic Structure Report. MLLA researched the history of the property, established a period of significance for the landscape, and prepared several alternative concepts for preserving the landscape. The final plan, shown below, re-created the Simes-era circulation patterns and perimeter plantings while, at the same time, providing needed parking and handicapped access to the building. A barn-like structure was included to serve as both a caretaker's residence and venue for public events. MLLA's partners on the project, Agricola Corporation and Red Hawk Studio Architects, Inc., completed the Historic Structure Report. Implementation of the plan, including construction of the landscape, commenced in 2016.
This triangular park located in the heart of Dudley Square will become a memorial to the African American veterans of Massachusetts who served in all wars. Managed by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, the park honors Edward O. Gourdin, an Olympian, war veteran, and Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice. Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture, LLC is designing the setting for the work of sculptor Fern Cunningham Terry (<a href="www.cunninghamsculpture.com" target="_blank">www.cunninghamsculpture.com</a>). Public engagement specialist Daphne Politis (<a href="www.community-circle.com" target="_blank">www.community-circle.com</a>) has launched an effort to involve veterans and other interested citizens in the park’s development.
Nestled behind Acton’s civic complex on historic Woodbury Lane, the Asa Parlin house is a contributing resource in the Acton Centre Local Historic District. Constructed ca. 1860, the wood-frame house was home to Asa Parlin, a merchant and caretaker of nearby Woodlawn Cemetery, and descendant of Acton’s first settlers. In 1996, the town purchased the house with the intent of creating additional space for library events and accommodating a cultural center. After many years of deliberations over the best use of the house, the town hired Red Hawk Studio Architects, Inc. and MLLA to prepare an adaptive re-use plan for the property, one that preserved the building exterior, rehabilitated the interior for public events and education programs, and provided both expansive and intimate outdoor spaces for gatherings. RHSA designed a small, partially open-air structure to be built on the back of the house, and included plans to preserve the house’s historic core, including the façade fronting Woodbury Lane. In the landscape, MLLA reconfigured on-site parking, connected the house to the larger civic complex via a system of pathways, and created a gently sloping tent lawn area to accommodate larger congregations. The plan was accepted, approved, and endorsed by Acton’s Design Review Board and Historic District Commission.
Part of a former farm located in Lincoln’s historic Lime Rock village, the Valentine Whitman House is one of ten remaining “stone enders,” late 17th century wood frame houses with mortared stone walls supporting one full gable end. In an effort to save one of the last of these Rhode Island icons, Preserve Rhode Island acquired the house and surrounding land from the Town of Lincoln, and immediately began fundraising to rehabilitate the property for resale to a private owner. Preserve Rhode Island hired MLLA to create an historically sensitive plan to upgrade the landscape. The final design relocated the driveway, created a parking “court” between the house and garage, established a system of pathways connecting two outdoor gathering spaces or “foyers,” and laid out a small fruit orchard to screen the neighboring properties and recreate a feature that once stood on Valentine Whitman’s land.