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Glenwood Cemetery has long offered a serene and pastoral final resting place for many of Houston's civic leaders and historic figures. In Houston's Silent Garden, Suzanne Turner and Joanne Seale Wilson reveal the story of this beautifully wooded and landscaped preserve's development—a story that is also very much entwined with the history of Houston.
In 1871, recovering from Reconstruction, a group of progressive citizens noticed that Houston needed a new cemetery at the edge of the central city. Embracing the picturesque aesthetic that had swept through the Eastern Seaboard, the founders of Glenwood selected land along Buffalo Bayou and developed Glenwood. Since then, the cemetery's monuments have memorialized the lives of many of the city's most interesting residents (Allen, Baker, Brown, Clayton, Cooley, Cullinan, Farish, Hermann, Hobby, House, Hughes, Jones, Law, Rice, Staub, Sterling, Weiss, and Wortham, among many others). The monuments also showcase the artistry and craftsmanship of some of the region's finest sculptors and artisans.
Accompanied by the breathtaking photography of Paul Hester, this book chronicles the cemetery's origins from its inception in 1871 to the present day.
Through the story of Glenwood, readers will appreciate some of the natural features that shaped Houston's evolution and will also begin to understand the forces of urbanization that positioned Houston to become the vital community it is today.
Houston's Silent Garden is a must-read for those interested in Houston civic and regional history, architecture, and urban planning.
SUZANNE TURNER is professor emeritus of the School of Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University and principal of Suzanne Turner Associates. She resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. JOANNE SEALE WILSON of Houston is the author of several publications in horticulture and landscaping, including a biography of historic landscape architect Rose Ishbel Greely. PAUL HESTER teaches in the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts at Rice University. His photographs have appeared in many books, magazines, and exhibitions.
What Readers Are Saying:
". . . establishes Glenwood Cemetery's historical significance in terms of Houston and Texas history, nineteenth-century American urban development, nineteenth-century American landscape history, funerary architecture, and horticulture. . . will also exert a wider appeal to scholars in the fields of the history of landscape architecture, nineteenth-century studies, and American studies. . . an outstanding work of research and interpretation and will be an immensely valuable contribution to scholarship on the history of Houston."--Stephen Fox, Fellow, Anchorage Foundation of Texas
"This book tells the story of the famous Glenwood Cemetery, an inspiring garden park containing much of Houston's history. It is one of the few remaining landmarks of early Houston. Among its beautiful flowers and trees is one of Texas' largest Live Oak trees. Glenwood's cemetery records, inscriptions on its impressive tombstones, and historical markers provide a treasure of genealogic information about our families and leaders. Buried here among the famous are one of the Allen brothers who founded Houston, many of the cities' first citizens, a president of the Texas Republic, several governors of Texas, and heroes of the Texas Revolution, the Civil War, and World War I & II."--Mavis P. Kelsey, M.D.
“The story of Houston can be told through histories of those buried at Glenwood Cemetery. From the ‘mother of Houston,’ as Charlotte Marie Allen is known, to Judge Roy Hofheinz, the father of the Astrodome, Glenwood houses the graves of hearty men and women who founded and shaped this great city along Buffalo Bayou. Houston’s Silent Garden is a superb history of this cemetery, one that takes the reader beyond the names of those buried there. The book introduces us to the bucolic setting that continues to be what its founders intended when they created it 137 years ago—a beautiful garden that my life-long friend Carrington Weems says seems to reach ‘up to the heavens’ on starry nights. As a native Houstonian, whose grandfather served as the cemetery’s president for a quarter of a century, I am gratified that Suzanne Turner and Joanne Seale Wilson have written this wonderful book.”—James A Baker, III, 61st U.S. Secretary of State
"Glenwood Cemetery has been an important part of Houston since its creation in the years after the Civil War. This ‘silent garden’ west of downtown became the burial place of many prominent Houstonians. This beautiful book by Suzanne Turner, Joanne Seale Wilson, and with photographs by Paul C. Hester tells the story of both the people who founded Glenwood and many of the people who are buried there. In so doing, it also tells an interesting, engaging part of the story of Houston.”—Joseph Pratt, Cullen Professor of History & Business, University of Houston
"Houston's heart and heritage can be traced through the winding paths of Glenwood Cemetery. It's nice to see the story of this remarkable place and the people who came to rest there in such caring and careful hands. The garden may be silent, but the authors have given it a voice, and anyone who really wants to know Houston should listen."-- Mayor Bill White, Mayor of Houston
"Houston’s Silent Garden
eloquently describes Glenwood Cemetery, one of the city’s many unexplored treasures. Landscape historians Suzanne Turner and Joanne Wilson excavated sparse and inaccessible original resources to explore terrain as yet ignored by historians of the city. Turner and Wilson place their discoveries in the larger context of Houston’s economic expansion and relate Glenwood to the broad story of park design and cemetery development in the United States. Paul Hester’s sensitive photographs and the generous addition of archival images and cemetery maps give visual beauty to this journey though time. The book relates Glenwood’s institutional history, explains its development as a burial ground, gives detailed analysis of the monuments and sculpture, provides biographies of many who rest there, lists officers and directors, and names tree and bird species found at the site. Whether your interest is urban history, horticulture, genealogy, open space, or preservation, you will want this permanent record of Glenwood’s serene landscape in your library."--Kate S. Kirkland, author, The Hogg Family and Houston: Philanthropy and the Civic Ideal
"This book is about many things: Glenwood's place in the history of landscape design; the changing design of the monuments that embellish the grounds, and how evolving aesthetics relate the broader societal change; the people involved in the cemetery's creation and enlargement over time, and how newer parts of the cemetery incorporate different landscape aesthetics than the older ones; the individuals buried there; and Glenwood's place in Houston's history. [The authors] have done well in placing Glenwood within both the history of cemetery design and the social, economic, and urban history of Houston. The book is handsomely illustrated with Paul Hester's contemporary photographs as well as older maps, drawings, postcards, and portraits. The authors make clear that the history of Glenwood is an essential part of Houston's past and explain the efforts that current leaders of the cemetery are undertaking to ensure that this green oasis remains an inportant part of the city as it moves into the twenty-first century."--David Schuyler, The Journal of Southern History