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Farmington -- Oldgate

Sculptor:
Manus, George  Search this
Garden designer:
Cowles, Margaret Krech  Search this
Hayward, Gordon  Search this
Cowles, William Sheffield  Search this
Architect:
Cowles, Bill  Search this
Landscape architect:
Cowles, Evan  Search this
Designer of the gate:
Spratts, William  Search this
Former owner:
Cowles family  Search this
Collection Creator:
Garden Club of America  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Place:
Oldgate (Farmington, Connecticut)
United States of America -- Connecticut -- Hartford -- Farmington
Scope and Contents:
The folder includes worksheets, photocopies of articles and other information.
General:
This property has been owned since the mid-17th century, with the first small house built circa 1690 and the present Georgian style house first built in 1792, designed by William Spratt, a British architect who practiced in Connecticut after being imprisoned during the Revolutionary War. The property has been owned by members of only two families during most of its history, including Anna Roosevelt Cowles, the older sister of President Theodore Roosevelt, who had the first ornamental garden installed circa 1900, replacing what had been a barnyard. According to family lore Frederick Law Olmsted's architectural firm designed the garden but no documentation has been found supporting that claim. At present the 1.75 acre property is described as a green garden comprised of spacious lawns with island perennial beds, various boxwood hedges, and mature trees planted in the 1950s that include some notable specimens. There is a non-chlorinated cement swimming pool that supplies water for the sprinklers in the garden. An old smokehouse in one corner of the garden is used as a toolshed.
The woodland gardens around the perimeter of the property date back to the earliest landscape design but the original rose and cutting gardens have been replaced by lawns. Island beds with perennials, bulbs and shrubs have been cut into the lawns breaking up its mostly rectilinear shape. In the 1930s a high stone wall replaced the original picket fence along the dirt road in front of the house, retaining the original 1792 Chinese Chippendale-style gate designed by Spratt said to be based on a water gate in London, England that he knew. In recent years walkways have been added, the pool has been fenced for safety, and a new flower bed was created next to a new low stone wall.
Oldgate features several historic trees documented by the Connecticut Notable Tree project in 2007: a Nordmann fir, a Kousa dogwood, a Royal Empress Paulownia, a fragrant snowbell and a southern Japanese hemlock all have been cited as among the largest of their species in the state. There is a dawn redwood in the garden believed to be descended from seeds found in China in the 1940s that were germinated at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. Storms have made changes to the mature trees that shaded this garden, including the snowstorm of October 2011 that felled a paulownia and scores of branches from other trees, necessitating more watering and more planting of trees, particularly native species.
Persons associated with the garden include Hooker family members (former owners, 1645-1733); John Nash and Samuel Nash (former owners, 1733-1747); Isaac Bidwell (former owner, 1747-1792); Cowles family members (owners 1792- ); William Spratt (architect , circa 1792); William Sheffield Cowles, Jr. and Margaret Krech Cowles (garden designers (1932-1986); Bill Cowles (architect, 1986-1995); Evan Cowles (landscape architect, 1986- ); George Manus (sculptor, 2002); Gordon Hayward (garden designer, 2010).
Related Materials:
Oldgate related holdings consist of 3 folders (2 35mm slides (photographs); 5 prints; 33 digital images)
Additional materials also located in the Farmington, Connecticut Public Library, Farmington room.
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 -- Connecticut -- Farmington  Search this
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Garden Club of America collection.
Identifier:
AAG.GCA, File CT100
See more items in:
The Garden Club of America collection
The Garden Club of America collection / Series 1: United States Garden Images / Connecticut
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aag-gca-ref21472

[Oldgate]: Two notable trees seen in winter: the dawn redwood on the left and the Nordmann fir in the center of the photograph.

Photographer:
Herr, Debra  Search this
Collection Creator:
Garden Club of America  Search this
Extent:
1 Digital image (col., JPEG.)
Type:
Archival materials
Digital images
Place:
Oldgate (Farmington, Connecticut)
United States of America -- Connecticut -- Hartford -- Farmington
Date:
2013 Jan.
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 -- Connecticut -- Farmington  Search this
Fir  Search this
Redwoods  Search this
Snow  Search this
Hedges  Search this
Winter  Search this
Yew  Search this
Swimming pools  Search this
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Garden Club of America collection.
Identifier:
AAG.GCA, Item CT100018
See more items in:
The Garden Club of America collection
The Garden Club of America collection / Series 1: United States Garden Images / Connecticut / CT100: Farmington -- Oldgate
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aag-gca-ref21882

[Oldgate]: the Korean dogwood behind the yew hedge showing its fall color.

Photographer:
Herr, Debra  Search this
Collection Creator:
Garden Club of America  Search this
Extent:
1 Digital image (col., JPEG.)
Type:
Archival materials
Digital images
Place:
Oldgate (Farmington, Connecticut)
United States of America -- Connecticut -- Hartford -- Farmington
Date:
2013 Oct.
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 -- Connecticut -- Farmington  Search this
Yew  Search this
Swimming pools  Search this
Fences -- wooden  Search this
Dogwoods  Search this
Hedges  Search this
Autumn  Search this
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Garden Club of America collection.
Identifier:
AAG.GCA, Item CT100019
See more items in:
The Garden Club of America collection
The Garden Club of America collection / Series 1: United States Garden Images / Connecticut / CT100: Farmington -- Oldgate
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aag-gca-ref21883

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