Under History’s Canopy – Revealing the Layered Landscape of The LA County Arboretum

There are particular challenges facing stewards of large-scale cultural landscapes, including  accommodating layers of history, adapting to changes in setting and contemporary requirements, and ongoing interpretive, treatment, and maintenance issues. The documentation of historic landscapes and the compilation of a comprehensive cultural landscape study are invaluable tools in addressing these issues. This workshop provides an overview of the Historic American Landscape Survey and Cultural Landscape Reports using the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden and its recently completed Cultural Landscape and Treatment Plan as a case study.

The land that became the Arboretum was originally part of the Rancho Santa Anita and home to Arcadia’s founder and first Mayor, Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin. In 1947, the State of California and the County of Los Angeles jointly purchased 111 acres, including Baldwin’s home site, in order to establish a public botanic garden and arboretum. In 1950, architect Harry Sims Bent produced a Master Plan that organized the Arboretum into distinct planting sections by geographic provenance, separated by circulation elements, with contributions by landscape architect Edward Huntsman-Trout.

The Cultural Landscape and Treatment Plan documents and illuminates the site’s complex history, and is being used to help enrich visitor experience, inform landscape treatment and development, and preserve garden heritage and sense of place.


This Workshop is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

This Workshop is in partnership with the Southern California Chapter of the ASLA



Learning Objectives

  1. Learn more about the methodology and components of Cultural Landscape Reports and how they can be used to guide the treatment and management of historic landscapes.
  2. Learn more about the documentation of historic landscapes through the Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS).
  3. Understand the complexity of cultural landscapes and how to interpret and manage cultural landscapes with multiple layers of history.
  4. Learn how to develop treatments for cultural landscapes in the context of the site's history and its current owner's objectives.
  5. Encourage professionals working in diverse garden settings, and facing a range of challenges, to learn best practices in documenting garden history and in building tools for effective management of heritage features


Peyton Hall, FAIA, Principal Architect, Historic Resources Group; Heather Goers, Architectural Historian, Historic Resources Group; Matt Randolph, Principal, kornrandolph, Inc.; Richard Schulhof, Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden; Sandy Snider, local historian; Alison Terry, Landscape Architect, HALS Liaison, Southern California Chapter of the ASLA.