Landscape historian to discuss Dawes House grounds

The Evanston History Center presents “The Dawes House Grounds: From Victorian to Prairie” with landscape historian Barbara Geiger at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with a wine and appetizer reception at the center, 225 Greenwood St.

When Charles Gates Dawes bought 225 Greenwood St. in 1910, he hired prominent landscape-gardener O.C. Simonds (1855-1931) to bring the grounds up to date.

Simonds was a popular designer and well-known among the Evanston upper-class, having planned James Patten’s and Charles Deering’s properties. He changed the Dawes place from a scattered Victorian look to a lush and inviting setting, filled with native plant species, for the family’s popular outdoor parties.

Graceland Cemetery, a remodeled Lincoln Park, and the Morton Arboretum are a few of the nearly 1,000 other projects Simonds designed throughout his career. Simonds was a nationally-significant designer, known for his early ecological approach to landscape.

Barbara Geiger is a landscape historian and author of Low-Key Genius: The Life and Work of Landscape-Gardener O.C. Simonds.

Reservations are recommended. Make a reservation by emailing: jthompson@evanstonhistorycenter.org or calling the History Center at 847-475-3410.

Admission is $10, payable at the door. EHC members are free. The event provides 2 CPDU credits for Illinois educators and teachers.

This program is part of the Evanston History Center’s “Year of Dawes,” a series of events, publications, and exhibits exploring the career and historical context of former U.S. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes (1865-1951), in honor of his 150th birthday. For more information about the “Year of Dawes” is available online.

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