Chambersburg Master Gardeners and Olmsted’s Civil War Experience

“What is human warfare but just this; an effort to make the laws of God and nature take sides with one party.”  –Henry David Thoreau

“Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.” –John F. Kennedy 

Frederick Law Olmsted, Civil War Journal, Kirk R. Brown, Chambersburg PA, Master Gardeners

Mary Ritner’s Boarding House was a hot bed of abolitionist rhetoric and fiery biblical oratory.

It’s been nearly a century since the great fire of Chambersburg was ignited as one of the penultimate acts of defiance by rebels under orders from Brig. Gen John McCausland.

Frederick Law Olmsted, Civil War Journal, Kirk R. Brown, Chambersburg PA, Master Gardeners

The downstairs parlor reserved for John Brown and his compatriots.

As the only major community burned down by Confederate forces during the Civil War, the borough had failed to provide a ransom of $500,000 in US currency or $100,000 in gold when the town was invaded for the third time on July 30, 1864. It was from Chambersburg that John Brown staged weapons and ammunition in the run-up to his ill-fated attack on Harper’s Ferry in 1859.

Frederick Law Olmsted, Civil War Journal, Kirk R. Brown, Chambersburg PA, Master Gardeners

The kitchen of Mary Ritner’s boarding house has a table that once sat John Bartram and his partisan assembly of abolitionists.

Mary Ritner kept a boarding house at 225 East King Street. John Brown and several of his co-conspirators rented rooms from her while planning the take-over of the federal depot. The town was a center for abolitionist sentiments and served as a way station to the Underground Railroad because of its service as a railroad junction.

Frederick Law Olmsted, Civil War Journal, Kirk R. Brown, Chambersburg PA, Master Gardeners

The Master Gardeners were celebrating their 20th anniversary.

In the intervening ninety-nine plus years, gardeners have been extremely busy beautifying the city. This year, dozens of them came together under the banner of the State Master Gardener’s Association to celebrate at their annual banquet.

Frederick Law Olmsted, Civil War Journal, Kirk R. Brown, Chambersburg PA, Master Gardeners

Celebrating a 20th anniversary.

Let me state unequivocally: Frederick Law Olmsted is an abolitionist. I wrote extensively of my travels through the slave states of Alabama, Louisiana and Texas in “A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States; With Remarks on Their Economy.” Nothing about the system is sustainable.

Frederick Law Olmsted, Civil War Journal, Kirk R. Brown, Chambersburg PA, Master Gardeners

Entertaining the guests is always part of the thrill of speaking about Landscape Architecture and the history of its art and practice.

Landscape design and execution, on the other hand can be very sustainable. The art and theory of Landscape Design should be extended as a perfect way to solve the problems facing human kind by urban crowding, general health of the population, and natural preservation. Without it we are simply abusers of the wealth given by God that we have been charged with stewarding.

Frederick Law Olmsted, Civil War Journal, Kirk R. Brown, Chambersburg PA, Master Gardeners

Guests arriving were introduced to the evening’s lecturer: Frederick Law Olmsted.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s