‘Blue Garden’ placed under permanent conservation easement

Images supplied by The Blue Garden; photographer Millicent Harvey.

Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) and the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust have announced that the Blue Garden, a historic Newport property designed from 1910–1918 by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., has been placed under permanent conservation easement.

The 3.68-acre property will remain under the ownership and care of the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust, which donated the easement, and function as it has since its restoration in 2014. It is the 80th property conserved by ALT since its founding in 1990.

“The Blue Garden is a phenomenal property and we are absolutely thrilled to work with the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust to preserve it,” said ALT Executive Director Chuck Allott in a prepared statement. “It has very significant conservation and historic values, and is a notable addition to the list of conserved lands on Aquidneck Island.” Properties under conservation easement are protected in perpetuity from development.


Images supplied by The Blue Garden; photographer Millicent Harvey.

“The Blue Garden should at all times be a reflection of the aesthetics, health, maintenance, and love that represent our mother’s vision for the garden, her generosity in rescuing this important place, andher faith that those s tandards are never compromised,” said Matthew Hamilton in a prepared statement. “For this reason, the Hamilton Family has partnered with the Aquidneck Land Trust knowing they will provide unwavering dedication to our shared goals.”

Originally designed for Newport residents Arthur Curtis and his wife, Harriett Parsons James, the Blue Garden was unveiled in 1913 in a celebratory event that was chronicled in newspapers and magazines throughout the country. After the owners’ deaths in 1941, the garden fell into disrepair.

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The James’ mansion on the property was destroyed by fire in 1967 and later demolished, the land subdivided into lots and sold. In 2012, Newport philanthropist and horticulturist Dorrance Hamilton, who had purchased the property, hired Providence-based Parker Construction and Cambridge-based Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture and other consultants to recreate the garden from archival material at the Frederick Law Olmstead National Historic Site in Brookline, Massachusetts, and other repositories including the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport.

Groups and individuals associated with garden design, landscape architecture, horticulture or historic preservation may request a tour on Thursdays from mid-June through mid-October; information is on the website: www.thebluegarden.org/visiting.

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