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"Lost" Briggs Gardens Rediscovered in Westchester Co., N.Y.

Ten gardens designed by landscape architect Loutrel Winslow Briggs (1893-1977) have been rediscovered in the Town of Pelham, N.Y., Westchester Co., the southeastern part of the state. Briggs, a graduate of Cornell University, opened his landscape architect practice in Manhattan in 1921. In 1929 he opened a second office, this time in Charleston, S.C., where he designed over 100 small gardens and became the most influential landscape architect in that historic southern city.

Town of Pelham historian and lawyer, Blake Bell, lives in a home in Pelham Manor that was constructed around 1927. It was in his back yard that Bell discovered the Briggs designed garden, which has been authenticated. Bell has also identified other local gardens designed by Briggs??"seven at homes, two at public schools and at the community theater.

Briggs' garden style features outdoor rooms of lawn areas bordered with brick or stone paving and complemented with brick or stucco walls. He liked to include water features, statuary, arbors and trellises among the plants.

Surveys of Charleston have identified many of Briggs' gardens and owning one gives a property historic notoriety.

Briggs' Charleston clients included Emily Roebling, wife of Washington Roebling, the chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge construction (begun by his father, John Roebling), and Time cofounder Henry Booth Luce, for which Briggs designed Mepkin Gardens, a Charleston-area plantation overlooking the Cooper River.

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April 20, 2019, 4:04 pm PDT

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