As chief designer for the planting plan, and later as a member of the Commission of Fine Arts, Ferruccio Vitale played an integral role in the design and development of Meridian Hill Park. An Italian designer, the son of an architect, and one who was intensely interested in urban planning, Vitale’s background is clearly evident in the planting plan for the park.
Born in Florence and educated in Italy, Vitale first came to the United States in 1898 when he was appointed military attaché at the Italian Embassy19. However, his intense passion for landscape architecture soon took over, and within a few years Vitale resigned his military position to pursue his true desire. Upon returning to Italy, Vitale studied landscape at Florence, Turin, and Paris, and after graduation, worked in his father’s architecture office.
In 1904, he returned to the United States and went into private practice in New York City as a principal in the firm of Vitale, Brinkerhoff and Geifert. In 1919, he became chief designer of the planting plan for Meridian Hill Park, and in July of that year, his plan was approved by the Commission of Fine Arts.20 This plan was incorporated into the final simplified plan for the park in 1920. In 1927, Vitale was appointed to the Commission of Fine Arts by President Calvin Coolidge, where he continued to take an active role in the development of the park, serving on the CFA until 1932.21
from: Meridian Hill Park Cultural Landscape Report. NPS and architrave, p.c architects.
Did You Know?
Meridian Hill Park was home to an early African American Seminary and a college that was to become George Washington University.