Arthur Shurcliff: From Boston to Colonial Williamsburg

WED, DEC 3, 2014 (43:52)

In 1928, the landscape architect and preservationist Arthur A. Shurcliff (1870–1957) began what became one of the most important examples of the American Colonial Revival landscape—Colonial Williamsburg. But before this, Shurcliff honed his skills in Boston. An 1894 engineering graduate of MIT with an interest in landscape design, Shurcliff, on the advice of Frederick Law Olmsted and with the aid of his mentor, Charles Eliot, pieced together courses at Harvard College, the Lawrence Scientific School, and the Bussey Institute. He then spent eight years working in the Olmsted office, acquiring a broad and sophisticated knowledge of the profession. Opening his own practice in 1904, Shurcliff emphasized his expertise in town planning, preparing plans for towns surrounding Boston. He designed recreational spaces that Bostonians still enjoy today, including significant aspects of the Franklin Park Zoo and the Charles River Esplanade.

+ BIO: Elizabeth Hope Cushing

Elizabeth Hope Cushing, Ph.D., is the author of a forthcoming book about Boston landscape architect Arthur A. Shurcliff (1870–1957), based on her doctoral dissertation for the American and New England Studies program at Boston University. She is also a coauthor, with Keith N. Morgan and Roger Reed, of the newly published book Community by Design. Cushing is a practicing landscape historian who consults, writes, and lectures on landscape matters. She has written cultural landscape history reports for the Taft Art Museum in Cincinnati, the National Park Service, the Department of Conservation and Recreation of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and other institutions and agencies.

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