The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool at Chicago’s Lincoln Park

July 31, 2012
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Alfred Caldwell quietly created landscapes rivaling those of his famous mentor Jens Jensen. Now, one of Caldwell’s brilliant works officially ranks among the best, on a short list that includes Jensen’s Columbus Park in Chicago. The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool at Chicago’s Lincoln Park has been named a National Historic Landmark, making it one of fewer than 50 landscapes to receive the nation’s highest honor for historic properties.

Reviving Jens Jensen

April 16, 2012
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Jens Jensen's masterwork, the Garfield Park Conservatory, suffered hail damage in June 2011, but the disaster only served to make Chicagoans more aware of the landscape architect's legacy.

Photo by: Chelsea Lobser

I’d seen snapshots of Dr. William Wosick’s home outside Fargo, North Dakota, but I wasn’t prepared for the impact it would have on me when I showed up to photograph it. After driving past identical-looking mini mansions perched amid tidy lawns — by far the dominant motif in this part of the Upper Midwest — I pulled up across the street from a striking cedar-and-steel-clad structure. It consisted of intersecting horizontal, vertical, and diagonal planes rising gracefully from an unusual tree-fringed landscape.

Visiting Mitchell Domes

December 21, 2010
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Mitchell Park Conservatory, or "The Domes."

This weekend, I stopped by Milwaukee's Mitchell Park Conservatory, known to all as "The Domes." Much of Milwaukee has a wonderful retro flair, with storefronts sporting lettering and signage seemingly unchanged from the 1950s and 1960s. The Domes are also a vestige of this era, having opened in 1964 (with the ribbon cutting by Lady Bird Johnson, no less) and stepping inside, you feel like you've entered a relic from another time.