Home Miniature house Lost Landscape: One Quarter of Rock Island Dockyard once boasted a river...

Lost Landscape: One Quarter of Rock Island Dockyard once boasted a river garden, formal flower beds | Story


Anyone walking around the grounds of the massive Quarters One residence on Arsenal Island may notice a small wall of limestone in the lawn to the northeast of what was once the home of the Arsenal Commander.

The wall appears to have been part of a larger landscape, although looking around you can see mostly grass and trees. No feature of the landscape stands out.

But you would be right – the wall was once part of a large “river garden” with trees, ponds and streams built in 1919 under the leadership of Adelita Jordan, wife of former commander HB Jordan, and at least once called Japanese Garden as it once included a tea house perched on the edge of the river.

It is not known exactly when the garden disappeared.

The river garden and other landscape features now missing from the Isle of Arsenal – formal flower gardens, cutting gardens, greenhouses, veranda filled with tropical plants, and WWII Victory Gardens – are highlighted by Beth Cody, gardening enthusiast and small business owner from Kalona, ​​Iowa, who published a 66 page booklet titled “Quarters One Gardens”. The booklet was an outgrowth of information she gathered while researching Midwestern Japanese gardens for the Muscatine Art Center, as reported in the Quad-City Times on October 31.

Cody found virtually no written documentation of the gardens on the island, but was able to piece together a probable history based on photographs from the US Army Sustainment Command, Davenport Library, Putnam Museum, and Augustana College, and newspaper articles about social events taking place in the gardens. She also unearthed information about a Japanese landscape architect named TR Otsuka, whose work depicted in a contemporary nursery catalog closely resembles the river garden on Arsenal Island. This led Cody to conclude that he was probably the architect of the River Garden.


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