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Work at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to rehabilitate the site's cultural landscape as recommended in the park's 2008 General Management Plan will continue this spring. The work will include the rehabilitation of historic farm fields and installation of historic landscape features such as historic split rail fences and a historically accurate arbor at the Pet Cemetery. The National Park Service has awarded contracts to Four Mile River Farm Landscape, Inc. of Connecticut and Woven Steel, Inc. of Massachusetts amounting to $90,000 to carry out the landscape work and fabrication and installation of the arbor, respectively.
The first phase of the project which took place in spring 2010 included the re-planting of the site's historic fruit orchard with 46 new trees; removal of non-historic trees, shrubs and brush in the southeast field and re-planting with native grass varieties; and removal of non-native invasive plants throughout the farm fields and forested areas.
The second phase this spring will rehabilitate an historic farm field adjacent to the site's main parking lot and better define the south side of the west lawn by removing non-historic trees, undergrowth and invasive plants and replanting the fields with native grass varieties. A total of 620 feet of split rail fence will be re-introduced to its historic locations on the property. The fields will be maintained to preserve an open character and to protect wildlife habitat for nesting birds and turtles to name a few. Visitors will gain a better understanding and appreciation of the farm landscape that Roosevelt enjoyed so much through horseback riding and his famous "point to point walks" with his children.
The current non-historic pet cemetery arbor will be replaced with a more historically accurate one. The new arch shaped arbor will stand 7.5' tall, 9' wide, and 6' long and contain two wooden benches flanking either side. Historic photographs and video were used by the landscape architect to design the feature. A creeping rose variety will be planted on either side of the arbor and trained to cover the structure as it had been historically.
According to Superintendent Tom Ross, the overarching goal of the landscape rehabilitation work is to present the farming landscape that Theodore Roosevelt and his family knew when they lived at the site. "Sagamore Hill was a working farm when the Roosevelt family resided there, with fence lined pastures and open fields, an orchard, and garden, but over time many of these open areas were overgrown and fences deteriorated," said Ross. "This work is a significant step in rehabilitating the landscape that Roosevelt knew and I think the visitors will be very pleased to experience the beautiful, split rail fenced farm fields and the return of the historic pet cemetery arbor." He added, "These changes will go a long way in enhancing our ability to interpret the landscape that the Roosevelt family farmed, hiked, played and rode horse-back when they resided here."
The landscape rehabilitation project complements the recently completed rehabilitation of four historic farm outbuildings and several cultural landscape projects including the reconstruction of the site's windmill, rehabilitation of the historic macadam road stone wall and the rehabilitation of the herring bone pattern brick driveway under the Roosevelt home's porte-cochere. All of these historic landscape projects are a cornerstone of the park's 2008 General Management Plan.
The site's cultural landscape rehabilitation is one of the major initiatives called for in the park's General Management Plan (GMP) and Environmental Impact Statement. The plan is the result of a multi-year planning process (2003-2008), during the course of which the NPS held numerous public meetings and considered written comments from the public which was overwhelming supportive of the plan. The cultural landscape rehabilitation projects have been planned and designed by the National Park Service's Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation based on the recommendations from the GMP and the site's Cultural Landscape Treatment Plan. To view a copy of Sagamore Hill's General Management Plan visit www.nps.gov/sahi and then search under management and then park planning. For more information on the projects, please contact Chief of Cultural Resources Amy Verone at 516-922-4271 x-17.