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Catalog Data

Provenance:
Garden Club of Allegheny County  Search this
Photographer:
Seamans, Joseph  Search this
Denmarsh, Alexander  Search this
Collection Creator:
Garden Club of America  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Place:
United States of America -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny -- Pittsburgh
Mellon Garden (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Scope and Contents:
31 digital images (2007-2019), 14 35 mm slides (circa 1980) and 2 file folders including copies of historic photographs (dates unknown, 1956, 1970, 1974) and a copy of the 1934 Country Life pictorial feature on the Mellon garden.
Varying Form:
Also known as Mellon Estate.
General:
Persons associated with the garden include: Richard Beatty Mellon and Jennie King Mellon (former owners, 1910-1938); Richard King Mellon (former owner, 1938-1943); City of Pittsburgh (owner, 1943- ); Ferruccio Vitale (1875-1933) & Alfred Geiffert, Jr. (1890-1957) and Gilmore D. Clarke (landscape architects, 1927-1929); Frederick R. Bonci and Natalie Byrd Plecity, LaQuatra Bonci Associates (landscape architects, 2005- ); Edmond Romulus Amateis (1897-1981) (sculptor of fountain, 1929); Samuel Yellin (1885-1940) (iron work, 1929); Janet C. Zweig (1950- ) (artist, 2008-2010); Hal Hilbish (lighting designer, circa 2008).
The half-acre walled garden was the renaissance garden situated behind the grand estate of the Mellon family; the mansion was demolished in 1940. Land was donated to Pittsburgh and maintained as a public park, but gardens inevitably declined. The nonprofit Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, members of the Garden Club of Allegheny County and master gardeners provided maintenance, but the restoration of this garden was impelled by the desire of the Seamans family to create a memorial for their daughter, Ann Katherine Seamans. Original features remained: the tapestry brick wall on three sides, limestone steps for the classical processional through the garden, two Samuel Yellin wrought iron gates, and the pink granite fountain by sculptor Edmond R. Amateis backed by a terrace and stone wall. A raised octagonal flower bed below the steps was reconstructed, and holly hedges partially form a fourth wall where the house stood. Restored flagstone walkways around the rectangular lawn are bordered by plantings on either side including allées of Japanese stewartia, sun and shade perennials, spring bulbs, black gum trees for shade, understory magnolia and serviceberry, and woody shrubs including oakleaf hydrangea and Delaware Valley azaleas. The walled garden was reopened as a public park in 2010. The memorial is an art installation within the lawn: 150 fiber optic light sticks depicting constellations, planets and stars as they were over Pittsburgh on the day and time of Ann Seamans' birth. Each light is labeled on a small disk and there is an interpretive sign on a raised overlook with a limestone bench in one corner. Artist Janet Zweig conceived the project that was installed by wiring each light stick into conduits under the lawn. The garden has park benches around the perimeter and lightweight movable furniture on the terrace. Persons associated with the garden include: Richard Beatty Mellon and Jennie King Mellon (former owners, 1910-1938); Richard King Mellon (former owner, 1938-1943); City of Pittsburgh (owner, 1943- ); Ferruccio Vitale (1875-1933) & Alfred Geiffert, Jr. (1890-1957) and Gilmore D. Clarke (landscape architects, 1927-1929); Frederick R. Bonci and Natalie Byrd Plecity, LaQuatra Bonci Associates (landscape architects, 2005- ); Edmond Romulus Amateis (1897-1981) (sculptor of fountain, 1929); Samuel Yellin (1885-1940) (iron work, 1929); Janet C. Zweig (1950- ) (artist, 2008-2010); Hal Hilbish (lighting designer, circa 2008).
Related Materials:
Related materials at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation and the James Van Trump Archives (Pittsburgh History and Landmark's Foundation?). See also the Archives of American Gardens' J. Horace McFarland Company Collection.
Collection Restrictions:
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Collection Rights:
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.
Topic:
Gardens -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh  Search this
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Garden Club of America collection.
Identifier:
AAG.GCA, File PA407
See more items in:
The Garden Club of America collection
The Garden Club of America collection / Series 1: United States Garden Images / Pennsylvania
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aag-gca-ref32268