12 U.S. Landscapes Being Listed as Endangered Spaces

Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue is listed among the nation’s endangered landscapes by the nonprofit Cultural Landscape Foundation, which blames neglect and deferred maintenance. The foundation said that the grand avenue connecting the Capitol and White House is slowly falling into disrepair. 

In the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy called for a revitalization of Pennsylvania Avenue. Improvements included small parks designed by top landscape architects, but they haven’t been maintained by the National Park Service. Water fountains rarely function, benches are broken, and some trees have been removed.

Eleven other sites on the group’s 2012 list include: 

  • Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Burlington, Vt.-The landscape includes a grid of 123 uniformly spaced locust trees to screen the church from the city. Construction of a proposed bus terminal would remove part of that landscape.
  • Fern Dell in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park-This 90-year-old landscape blends natural and manmade features as a unique public fern garden. Regular maintenance ended in the 1970s.
  • Garland Farm in Maine-This was the last home and garden of noted landscape architect Beatrix Farrand. Financial difficulties have stunted the completion of a planned restoration.
  • Hannah Carter Japanese Garden in Los Angeles-This site, now owned by the University of California Los Angeles, has been listed for sale. Heirs of the garden’s previous owner sued to block the sale because it was a gift to the school.
  • Innisfree Garden in Millbrook, N.Y.-This 150-acre public garden was created as an American, Modernist twist on ancient Chinese landscape design. Funding shortfalls threaten its preservation.
  • Isham Park in New York City-This public park suffers from deferred maintenance and has become overgrown in places, obstructing planned views of the Hudson River.
  • Jack London Lake in California’s Sonoma Valley-This California State Park has sunk into decline with a leaking dam and has been slated for closure. A private group secured a contract to operate the park this year and is working to raise money for restoration.
  • Jones Beach State Park in New York-This popular public beach was designed in the 1920s as a premiere seaside park and served as a model for other state parks. Deferred maintenance has slowly led to its decline.
  • Nasher Sculpture Garden in Dallas-Construction of a glass skyscraper nearby is casting a shadow over the gardens and disrupting the flow of sunlight into a museum that’s part of the site.
  • Riverbank Park in Flint, Mich.-The park represents a landscape-as-infrastructure approach by Lawrence Halprin to control flooding.
  • Thieme Drive in Fort Wayne, Ind.-A 1982 flood led to deterioration in this historic Beaux-Arts park, along with new flood walls and levees.