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Garfield Park—A Historic Preservation Master Plan PDF Print E-mail

Jonathan Mooney Ball State
University Department of Landscape Architecture
Undergraduate Comprehensive Project Spring 1994

pp 10-14

Indianapolis Bureau of Park Commissioners appointed George Kessler as the landscape architect February 1, 1908. he served a total of eight years as consultant and designer. As a consultant, Kessler was responsible for the inception of a general park system for the city. As a designer, Kessler laid out plans for Riverside Park, University Square, and in the most detail, Garfield Park. Upon his arrival in Indianapolis, Kessler stressed the importance of systematic transportation routes and adequate park lands. Kessler felt his responsibilities extended beyond the park system and also involved the overall expansion of the growing city of Indianapolis. Kessler’s work for the city was well documented by the Indianapolis News. He had a close association with the city until his death in 1923 and was commissioned by the Parks Board and by Butler University to work on two design projects.

Read more about Garfield Park at Garfied Park

Note: On page 13 there is a statement that Kessler spent several months working for Frederick Law Olmstead as a laborer in Central Park. This is not true. See page vii in The City Beautiful Movement in Kansas City, William H. Wilson, The Lowell Press, Inc. Second addition 1990.

“I wrote that Kessler, after completing his European education and returning to this county, took a job with Frederick Law Olmsted. He did not, for Olmsted had already moved from New York to Boston. Kurt Culbertson, . . . , has discovered that Kessler worked for a seed company in New York. While thus employed, Kessler wrote to Olmsted, who helped him secure his Merriam Park job. . . I mistakenly, uncritically accepted a Kessler family legend that expanded Kessler’s casual contact with Olmsted into a much more sustained relationship.”