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HABS Architecture Photographs ~ 1960

Link to Library of Congress HABS site for full report text and graphics:

Historic American Landscape Survey HABS CA-131

George W. & Anna Gunn Marston Garden, San Diego, CA

Vonn Marie May, Author and Researcher HALS/ASLA, Team shown: 


J                                      Jason Bingham, Joy Lendes, Amie Hayes, Vonn Marie May,

                                      Gail Garbini (not shown), Amy Hoffman (photographer)



In 2016 a team of landscape savvy volunteers from the American Society of Landscape Architects, ASLA San Diego Chapter and Save Our Heritage Organisation, SOHO, documented the historic gardens at the George White & Anna Gunn Marston House using the federal program known as HALS, Historic American Landscape Survey.


The HALS documentation technique was born out of the HABS/HAER (Historic American Building Survey/Historic American Engineering Record) program started by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the 1930s Depression. Over time, these documentation instruments have become vital 'as-built' primary records of the nation's historic resources. The long awaited HALS program is a recent addition (2000) to the 1930s HABS family.  

The Marston House gardens, nestled at the northwest edge of Balboa Park, provide a uniquely California interpretation of English Romantic and Arts & Crafts period landscape designs that were nationwide design movements of the day. 
The period of significance encompasses the full occupancy of the Marston family from 1905-1987, from the completion of the house construction in 1905 until the death of daughter Mary Marston (1879-1987). George White Marston (1850-1946) and Mary are the two notable family members most associated with the design and implementation of the Marston House gardens, et al.


Nationally recognized New York landscape architect Samuel Parsons, Jr. and his landscape engineer partner, George Cooke, were responsible for the physical design of the early 1905 period in close consultation with noted pioneer horticulturist, Kate O. Sessions. During a significant upgrade in the late 1920s, John Nolen, another nationally recognized landscape architect, struck a new design for the grounds with emphasis on the formal garden on the north side. Nolen dispatched a young California landscape architect, Thomas D. Church, to begin the design process; eventually, landscape architects Hale Walker and Justin Hartzog, from the Nolen office, completed the design in full collaboration with daughter Mary and George W. Marston. 


© 2018 Vonn Marie May

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