In April of 1955, shortly after Marquand Park opened to the public, the Princeton Borough recognized the educational importance of the park’s tree collection and commissioned a map with 70 trees identified byJames Clark, the horticulturalist of Princeton University. The Borough also ordered corresponding plastic name tags which were placed on the trees by boy scouts of Princeton and Perms Neck (Princeton Herald, 32, 42, April 2, 1955).
The next mention of a tree map was in 1959 when the Garden club of Princeton commissioned Elizabeth Johnson Marshall, a local landscape architect, to design a map to be reproduced on a large metal plate placed at the entrance of the park near the parking lot. The public could buy a paper copy of the map and use it to locate and identify trees while walking in the park. A copy of this paper version still exists in the Princeton Public Library. It shows the names of trees written in at their location and, on the right side of the map, is also a key list of trees with grid locations (Princeton Herald, 37, 15, 18 November 18, 1959).
In 1968, Mary Marquand Hochschild, the daughter of Allan Marquand, published an article on trees and shrubs growing in the park entitled: A Calendar of Colors. In her article, she mentioned the creation of a new tree map by Dorothy Compton, a retired natural science teacher. We learn from her article that the map took many years to complete and could be purchased for a quarter at the Bainbridge House or the Junior Chamber of Commerce on Nassau street. Buying it was well worth the expense according to Mrs. Hochschild (Town Topic, Outdoor Living -Spring 1968, p. 2).
A revised edition of the Dorothy Compton map became part of a Marquand Park Foundation publication called A Guide to the Marquand Park. The guide was published in 1972 and dedicated to Mary Marquand Hochschild. The trees on the large fold-out map are represented by circles and color coded into three groups, 1) conifers and hollies; 2) deciduous trees; and 3) shrubs and masses of shrubs. The circles have numbers with each number representing a unique plant species. In the guide are descriptions of the tree species accompanied by illustrations of salient plant characteristics by Pamela Machold. The numbering system of the descriptions corresponds to the numbers on the map and also include grid locations to facilitate finding the trees. An attempt was made by Miss Compton to include most of the trees and shrubs in the park which gives the map a rather crowded appearance.
In 1989, A Guide to the Marquand Park was entirely revised by the Foundation. It includes a smaller fold-out map with fewer trees, and each tree species is represented on the map only once with a numbered circle. The map has arrows inviting visitors to follow a certain route through the park, locate a tree along the trail and on the map, and then look up the description of the tree by matching the number of the tree on the map with the number of the description in the guide. The descriptions include the same illustrations of the 1972 guide with added illustrations by Dorothy Geyer. In 2003, A Guide to Marquand Park was revised with a new numbering of the trees and some more details of planting beds along Lovers Lane added on the left side of the map. This guide with the same map was reprinted in 2004.
The number of tree maps of Marquand Park published over a period of about 50 years is truly remarkable and shows how important the park and its rich collection of trees was to the town and its visitors. They also show the struggle to create tree maps that could easily orient visitors to the tree they were interested in, make sure they looked at the right tree, and then provide them with meaningful information and visuals about its characteristics.
A next step in our map explorations will include careful comparisons of these maps so we may better understand how the park developed as a public park over time; specifically, it will be important to get a better idea of new trees that were planted, which trees survived, and which ones did not. For this project two important geocoded tree inventories completed by the Marquand Park Foundation in 2014 and 2018 will be available as well.
To explore the history of the trees on the property even further, a hand-drawn map by Eleanor Marquand of 1917, preserved in the Princeton University Library, and 19th century published accounts of the estate will provide additional details about tree species planted before the gardens of the estate became a public park.
Plans are underway for a Children’s Arboretum at Marquand Park
We welcome you and your ideas at a community meeting on
November 1, 2018 at 6:00 pm
Historical Society of Princeton at the Updike farm
354 Quaker Road, Princeton
Please, join. Your ideas are very important to us
Among the newly acquired trees in Marquand park is a small Sciadopitys verticillata, commonly called a Japanese umbrella pine. Entering the park from the parking lot, you will find this tree by following the path that runs along the wooded area and ice house and then by veering left towards Marquand House and Stockton street where the path splits into two directions. The tree is in the lawn area on the left side of the path just after the split in the road.
The Japanese umbrella pine is not really a pine but the only member of a plant family called Sciadopityacreae. The tree can be easily recognized by clusters of 20 to 30 dark green needles that spiral out in a pattern resembling the ribs of an umbrella. Although the needles conduct photosynthesis, they are not the actual leaves of the tree. Hard-to-observe scale-like leaves are distributed below each cluster of needles along the shoot. The fruits or cones of the umbrella pine have thick and chunky looking scales and take two years to mature. The tree has a pyramidal shape when young and start looking more like a white pine when it matures. It is a slow growing tree.
Carl Thunberg, the Swedish botanist, first described the umbrella pine in his Flora Japonica (1784) after observing the tree in Japan and mistakenly classifying it as a Taxus. Franz von Siebold also saw the umbrella pine during his stay in Japan and meticulously illustrated its characteristics. He gave the tree its current name.
On the heels of the opening of Japan to trade with the rest of the world, a great number of Western plants men traveled to Japan in search of new garden species. Von Siebold returned to Japan in 1859 after having been expelled by the Japanese in 1829 but was soon pressured to return home again. Others were Robert Fortune who traveled to Japan on behalf of the Horticultural Society of London and the Scottish nurseryman John Gordon Veitch. An American physician by the name of George Rogers Hall from Rhode Island, who operated a small hospital in Shanghai, also made trips to Japan in search of new garden plants. It is possible that Hall, Fortune, and Veitch exchanged plant material and worked collaboratively on shipments home while in Japan because several tree species such as the Magnolia stellata and the Sciadopitys verticillata were introduced by them in Britain and the United States about the same time.
Hall sent his first shipment of Japanese plants to Boston in 1861 where they were cared for by the experienced horticulturist Francis Parkman. A year later, Hall himself brought home a second shipment of plants and seeds which he entrusted to the nursery Parsons & Co in Flushing’s, NY. Both shipments included Japanese umbrella pines. Soon thereafter, the Sciadopitys verticillata started to appear in horticultural and nursery literature. An umbrella pine is mentioned in the famous garden of Mr. Hunnewell of Boston in 1865 and Dr Hall himself was growing one in his garden in Bristol, RI. Richard S. Field, the first owner of Marquand Park, listed a Japanese umbrella pine as a “new tree” in an essay entitled: Our Evergreen Trees and Their Cultivation in 1867. Field does not mention where he acquired his tree but may have bought a sapling cultivated at the Parson’s nursery. This assumption is strengthened by the fact that Richard Field lists two other newly acquired trees, the Thuiopsis dolobrata and the Thuiopsis varietgata. These two trees were also part of the second shipment of plants sent by Roger Hall from Japan.
The Sciadopitys verticillata planted by Field maybe the same as the umbrella pine mentioned by Eleanor Marquand in the tree inventory of 1917. She also does mentioned a second one close to the Lily pond. But then, there is no mention of a Japanese umbrella tree in the Marquand park collection until it’s name appeared on a list of 50 recommended trees put together by Roland Machold and Robert Wells in 2015. A year later, members of the Foundation located and bought a small umbrella tree in a nursery outside of Princeton. The tree was planted in the park in the same year.
In their ground breaking article Princeton’s Mythical Gardener**, Greiff and Gunning include an interesting photograph of Marquand park made in 1868. The picture was taken by John Moran, a Philadelphia photographer. Guernsey hall is visible in the background so Moran must have been standing on the north-east/Stockton-street side of the park when making the photograph. What drew Moran’s attention, more than the trees or the flowers in the park, was a large spherical ball standing on a pedestal, seen in the foreground of the picture. He cleverly used its reflection to include an image of himself in the photograph.
Almost 100 year later a reflecting ball is mentioned again in an unpublished manuscript written by Eleanor Marquand Delanoy entitled Guernsey Hall (1964). In describing the house and park, she mostly used her own memories of living on the estate but also included information received over the years from her parents, Alan and Eleanor Marquand. According Mrs Delanoy, the north-east side of park (now the baseball field) had an enormous formal garden with walks and flower beds when her father bought the estate in 1887. In the middle of this garden stood a “huge mirror ball on a stand”, presumably the same as photographed by Moran.
The curious reflecting ball photographed by Moran and then mentioned again by Eleanor Marquand Delanoy, is called a gazing ball, mirror globe or globe-mirror. These balls were somewhat popular as garden decorations in parts of Europe in the Victorian era. Ludwig of Bavaria, nick-named Mad King Ludwig, ordered them for his gardens at Herrenchiemsee and they are also mentioned by visitors to Versailles and other French gardens. William Robinson in his Parks and Gardens of Paris (London, 2nd edition, 1878) highly disliked the practice of adorning the landscape with what he called “garden horrors” and hoped they would never be introduced in England but then lamented they were.
In America, the Central Park Commissioners paid $61 for globe-mirrors in 1868 so they probably were a feature in this park as well. The globe mirrors became unpopular at the end of the 19th century. They had a short revival in the 20th century and you can still find them occasionally at stores specializing in garden ornaments.
The Central Park globe-mirrors were ordered from Walker and Balen which mostly likely was H. Balen Walker, a manufacturer of mirror glass in New York city. Walker took out a patent on silvering glass in 1869 and explained his improved method in more detail in the 1870 edition of Scientific America. His silvering process had a much higher reflectivity than the traditional mercury process used at the time and therefore was perfectly suited for the manufacturing of globe-mirrors. Judging from the Moran picture, the highly reflective globe-mirror in Marquand park seems to have been made from silvered glass as well but if it was manufactured by the same company we will never know.
**Constance M. Greiff and Wanda S. Gunning, “Princeton’s Mythical Gardener”, Vol. LXXIV, 1, Autumn 2012, pp 9-33.
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