Iconic landscape architect’s project may be restored

Jensen also designed the landscape surrounding the Ford House, seen here. Photo: fordhouse.orgJensen also designed the landscape surrounding the Ford House, seen here.
Photo: fordhouse.org

One of the projects of renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen (1860-1951) may soon be returned to its former glory. The Park District of Highland Park in Illinois recently hired Ratio Architects to assess the feasibility of restoring the garden pool and surrounding landscape Jensen designed for the summer estate of Sears Roebuck mogul Julius Rosenwald.

The park district acquired the 11-acre estate in 1926 and turned the grounds into Rosewood Park.

“The garden pool has fallen into fairly serious decay,” Laurie Levin, a foundation board member, told the park board June 23, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Considered the founder of the Prairie style of landscape design, Jensen did extensive work for the Chicago Park system and moved to Highland Park in 1915. Jensen created Columbus Park on the western edge of Chicago, and extensively redesigned three other large parks and 15 small ones. He also designed parks in Racine and Madison, Wisconsin; Dubuque, Iowa; and Springfield, Illinois, as well as dozens of estates belonging to prominent families, including Henry and Edsel Ford.

Ratio Architects will assess the pool’s condition, identify sources of water and electricity and provide an initial plan for restoring the pool walls and other stonework, in keeping with Jensen’s philosophy of using native flora and available materials.

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