Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project



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Institution Name: Goddard College
Original/Historic Place Name: Garden of Greatwood in Plainfield
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1925original construction Shurcliff, Arthur Asahel
Designer: Arthur Asahel Shurcliff (Boston)
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
1925-present (2006)outdoor space

The gardens were designed by Arthur Shurcliff, designer of the gardens at Williamsburg, Virginia, and are some of the most important in Vermont. The outstanding remaining feature is the dry wall enclosures which skillfully control air movement and take advantage of sun exposure. The walls provide privacy for outdoor living while maintaining freedom of visual access and movement. All these factors provide an exceptional setting for the collection of plant life and temper the harsh climate, all to the benefit in the English landscape setting.

The stone is from local stone walls which Mr. Martin purchased for the purpose. Curt Holt designed and built the walls and stairs with the aid of local workmen. The garden relates well to the estate's buildings and reflects the interests of the family, particularly the rose garden. On "Rose Day" in 1928, the garden was visited by 600 people in a two day period.

The Upper and Lower Gardens, along with the Garden House and Pergola, provide an excellent example of a formal English garden, recreated in northern New England. They have been a focal point of campus life and continue to be used to this day for special events and graduations in the warmer months of the year.


The American Renaissance, 1876-1917. Brooklyn, NY: Brooklyn Museum; New York: Pantheon, 1979.

Brett, Gerald. English Furniture and its Setting. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965.

Byron, John. New York Interiors. New York, Dover, 1976.

Coman, Katherine. The Industrial History of the United States. New York: Arno Press, 1973.

Fastnedge, Ralph. English Furniture Styles from 1500 to 1830. New York: Barnes, 1964.

Fitzgerald, Oscar. Three Centuries of American Furniture. Englewood Cliffs, NY: Prentice Hall, 1982.

Historic Sites & Structures Survey [Marshfield, including Goddard College]. Monpelier, VT: Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, 1976.

Hutchinson, Hal. Goddard College Greatwood Campus. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1996.

Kettell, Russell. Early American Rooms, 1650-1858. New York: Dover Publications, 1967.

Kirk, John T. Early American Furniture. New York: Knopf, 1970.

Lyness, Russell. The Tastemakers. New York: Harper, 1954.

Saarinen, Aline B. The Proud Professors. New York: Random House, 1958.

Sieveking, Albertus Forbes. Gardens Ancient and Modern. London: I. M. Dent & Company, 1899.

Stone, Arthur F. The Vermont of Today. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1929.

Thacker, Christopher. The History of Gardens. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1979.

Townsend, Marjorie. "Humanism class lecture." Plainfield, VT: Goddard College, February 10, 1971.

"Vermont's Finest Farms." Field Illustrated (March 1920).

Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House. New York: Harper & Row, 1965.

Wosley, S. W., and R. W. P. Luff. Furniture in England: The Age of the Joiner. New York: Praeger, 1969.

Zirblis, R. "Interview with Townsend." April 2, 1984.


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Last update: November 2006