Leider honored for historic preservation work

Wed, June 25, 2014

Dr. Charles L. Leider has been honored with the 2014 Citation of Merit Award from the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office for his work in preserving the historic cultural landscapes of Oklahoma. A professor emeritus of landscape architecture at Oklahoma State University, he received the award during a statewide preservation conference held earlier this month in Norman.  

Leider, from Stillwater, is known for his work in making Oklahoma a leading state for recording historic landscapes through the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). For more than 25 years, he guided and worked with his students in the landscape architecture program at OSU on detailed surveys of sites across the state to promote their preservation. 

Before the survey for an individual site was undertaken, research focusing on the development of the site was completed, typically producing photographs and drawings telling the history of the site. If an original landscape plan existed, it was used to locate the remains of the original design. 

After the research was completed, an overall site plan with topography and sections throughout the site was prepared. The landscapes were then measured and interpreted from drawings according to the standards of HALS. 

The case study drawings for the designed landscapes typically showed the footprints of buildings on the site and the facade of major structures. All minor structures related to the landscape, such as gazebos and fences, were also documented, along with plant material. 

Case studies were completed on various landscapes including the Villa Philbrook in Tulsa, the Oklahoma City Civic Center, the OSU campus and the 101 Ranch in Marland, one of the largest ranches in the U.S. 

Two of the hand-drawn case studies, the Thomas Berry Estate in Stillwater and Villa Philbrook in Tulsa, won honorable mention in the national Charles E. Peterson Prize competition for university design programs. OSU was the only landscape architecture program in the U.S. to win recognition at the competition.

Since the completion of the statewide survey and case studies, 42 historic landscapes in Oklahoma have been recorded with HALS. 

The drawings from all the case studies were filed in the Special Collection Section of Edmon Lowe Library at OSU as hard copies and at the U.S. Library of Congress, where digital copies can be seen atwww.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/.

Story by Jackson Hodges