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Colonial Revival at the Crossroads

October 31 @ 12:00 pm - November 1 @ 3:30 pm

| $225 per person; $125 Friday only; $135 Saturday only; $85 student; reduced rates for registering before June 13, 2014

Held October 31-November 1, 2014, this cultural landscape symposium will emphasize issues of Colonial Revival landscape evaluation, interpretation and management.  Colonial Revival landscapes broadly reflect the ideas, ideals and progressive movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The symposium will feature Stratford Hall’s three-year study, in partnership with the University of Georgia-College of Environment and Design, of its Great House landscape and gardens, along with other regional Colonial Revival sites.  Call 804-493-1972 for details and costs.  A symposium brochure and printable size symposium application form are available.  Register now–early bird prices are in effect until June 13, 2014.


A Brief Overview of Stratford Hall’s History

Dating to the late 1730s, the landscape of Stratford Hall, with its classic Georgian Great House, reflects a remarkable example of colonial Virginia architecture and historic plantation activity. The 1900-acre property along the Potomac River encompasses a historic mill site, geologic cliff formations that are seen in only four other places on earth, numerous archeological sites and several examples of Colonial Revival garden design.

Stratford Hall’s Colonial Revival legacy dates to 1929, beginning with the reconstruction of the landscape surrounding Thomas Lee’s Great House—an endeavor that spanned several decades, and employed such prominent designers as Arthur Shurcliff, Morley Jeffers Williams, Alden Hopkins, and the firm of Innocenti & Webel in addition to The Garden Club of Virginia. Many aspects of the Colonial Revival cultural landscape of Stratford Hall survive today in its formal gardens and reconstructed buildings and structures.

Recently, Colonial Revival landscapes have received much attention, praise, and criticism from the cultural landscape community. Colonial Revival at the Crossroads will explore aspects of this reassessment, includ¬ing questions about how to identify, evaluate, interpret, and manage Colonial Revival landscapes.

Premise of the Symposium

Between the late 1800s and the 1930s, the Colonial Revival was the premier American garden style. Interest in this topic was particularly influential at historic sites that preserved and celebrated Colonial-era history such as Williamsburg, Carter’s Grove, and Stratford Hall. Reflecting the merger of the burgeoning landscape architecture and historic preservation professions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these designed landscapes embodied the ideas and ideals of progressive movements during the era. While not always his¬torically accurate, Colonial Revival landscapes nonetheless have earned their own historical importance through their association with important landscape designers and their reflection of an important period in the history of American culture.

Stratford Hall’s social history is equally striking: it was the site of a large 18th-century tobacco plantation, the home of two signers of the Declaration of Independence (Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee), and the birthplace of Robert E. Lee. Since 1929, the Robert E. Lee Memorial Asso­ciation (RELMA) has cared for Stratford Hall as a public historic site. Upon acquiring the property, RELMA hired nationally-prominent historians, ar­chitects and landscape architects to undertake research with the intent to return the plantation to its former glory.

Recent research—much of it conducted collaboratively by RELMA profes­sional staff, faculty and students within the University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design (UGA–CED), the Stratford Hall Historic Landscape Advisory Panel, and other partners—has further revealed how the ethos and spirit of the Colonial Revival period shaped the cultural landscape at Stratford Hall. These insights have also generated a number of difficult ques­tions, however. Which aspects of the landscape’s authentic Colonial Revival history—if any—should be valued, interpreted, conserved and preserved? How important is the site’s Colonial Revival history relative to earlier Lee family periods? Similar questions undoubtedly pertain to numerous histor­ic sites across the U.S., and they are among the complicated issues that will be explored in Colonial Revival at the Crossroads.

Speakers & Fees

Biographical information on the featured speakers can be found on the symposium brochure (link above).  Early bird rates, as detailed in the symposium brochure, are in effect until June 13, 2014.  Student rates are available.


Who Should Attend?

  • Private and public historic property managers who care for Colonial Revival landscapes
  • Landscape architects who consult on historic gardens and landscapes

  • Gardeners who work with historic plant materials

  • Academics who research and write on the topic of Colonial Revival landscapes

  • All interested individuals

What Will Attendees Gain?

  • A clear definition of the term Colonial Revival
  • The context of Colonial Revival landscape design
  • Biographies and works of key Colonial Revival landscape designers
  • Insight into the identification and assessment of Colonial Revival landscape features
  • Robust discussion about the challenges and successes of conserving Colonial Revival landscapes
  • Pragmatic advice on Colonial Revival landscape maintenance and conservation issues


Friday, October 31, 2014

12:00 – 1:00 pm   Registration at Stratford Hall’s Jessie Ball duPont Memorial Library

1:00 – 1:20 pm      Welcome and Overview of the Symposium

Session 1:    Colonial Revival 101 

1:20 – 2:15 pm        Introduction to Colonial Revival – William D. Rieley

2:15 – 2:30 pm       Break

Session 2:    Key Figures of the Colonial Revival

2:30 – 3:15 pm      Arthur Shurcliff, Boston Landscape Architect – Elizabeth Hope Cushing

3:15 – 4:00 pm     The firm of Innocenti & Webel, and Landscape Architect Alden Hopkins – M. Kent Brinkley

4:00 – 4:15 pm      Break

4:15 – 5:00 pm     Morley Jeffers Williams, Landscape Archaeology – Dennis Pogue

5:00 – 5:20 pm     Moderated Closing

6:00 – 7:00 pm     Reception

7:00 – 8:00 pm      Dinner in Stratford Hall’s Plantation Dining Room

Saturday, November 1, 2014

8:00 – 9:00 am     Registration at Stratford Hall’s Jessie Ball duPont Memorial Library

9:00 – 9:10 am      Welcome and Overview of the Symposium

Session 3:    Colonial Revival and Stratford Hall

9:10 – 10:00 am    The Role of Stratford Hall and the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association in the      20th-century Preservation Movement – Kenneth M. McFarland

10:00 – 11:15 am    Stratford Hall Cultural Landscape and Archeological Research Findings – Cari Goetcheus, Eric MacDonald, Doug Sanford

 11:15 – 12:30 pm    Stratford Hall Colonial Revival Landscape Tour

12:30 – 1:00 pm    Box Lunch

1:00 – 2:30 pm     

Session 4:    Colonial Revival Landscape Preservation Maintenance Issues 

1:00 – 2:30 pm      Maintaining Colonial Revival Landscapes – Lucy Lawliss and Beate Ankjar-Jensen

2:30 – 3:30 pm      Roundtable Discussion and Concluding Remarks




October 31 @ 12:00 pm
November 1 @ 3:30 pm
$225 per person; $125 Friday only; $135 Saturday only; $85 student; reduced rates for registering before June 13, 2014