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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Lakewold
Reference Number 14001055
State WA
County Pierce
Town Lakewood
Street Address 12317 Gravelly Lake Dr.
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 12/16/2014
Link to full file
The Lakewold Estate in Lakewood, Washington is historically significant under Criterion C, as a property that represents the work of noted master landscape architect Thomas D. Church and architects William & Geoffrey Platt. The evolution of Lakewold spanned over a period of 60+ years and involved three prominent local business families: the Alexander's, the Grigg's and the Wagner's. The period of significance for the property begins in 1908, the year the Alexander family purchased the property and began the conversion to a country estate, and ends in 1962, the year of the last major planned renovation by noted landscape architect Thomas D. Church. Beyond, the landscaping continued to mature and be pruned and replanted as needed. Church is nationally recognized as one of the pioneer landscape designers of Modernism in garden landscape design known as the 'California Style. His design studio was in San Francisco from 1933 to 1977. Although many aspects of the modern landscape architecture movement were based on a rejection of the past, his new approach to garden design was not. Rather, it drew its strength from an appreciation of good design of whatever age and an understanding of the present as it evolves out of the past. His sensitivity to historical precedent, to the environment and climate, to the changing life styles and values of his clients, combined with an appreciation of new forms in art and architecture brought to his early work a unique spatial quality. The mainstream of his gardens which followed in the postwar years increased in sophistication. Curvilinear forms, texture, and color were manipulated in a manner reminiscent of the cubist painters. He designed many small, town gardens. In all cases, the gardens were reflections of the personality and preferences of the client, the features of the site, and the architecture of the house. Imbued with Church's unerring sense of scale and proportion, form and composition, the gardens were simple in upkeep, useful and beautiful all at the same time. Not only did they fall within the realm of fine art, but as a body of creative work they represented a milestone in the evolution of the modern garden and landscape architecture. Church's work was widely publicized, in journals and through his first book, Gardens Are for People, published in 1955. His more recent work, illustrated in Your Private World (1969), shows a return to the more classical forms of garden design. However, whatever the style, the quality of design was of the highest order and in each case, represented a response to the situation at hand. In fact, Church chose his designs at Lakewold to represent his work in the 2nd edition of Gardens Are for People, published in 1983.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria