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April 2014
Iroquois Park North Overlook Design
Louisville, Kentucky

Iroquois Park was originally developed in the 1890s by carving into the wooded slopes to provide access and gain views from Burnt Knob to hilltops across the Ohio River in Indiana. In speaking to the potential of the park and its overlooks, the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. noted that the principal benefit of adding Iroquois Park to the Louisville park system was the unique woodland and the panoramic views from various aspects.

"Its landscape must be of a sequestered character, except that from its upper parts fine, broad, distant prospects are to be had, which by the removal of trees in some places, and the growing of low masses of foliage in others, can be made more sweeping and effective than they are now."

- F.L. Olmsted & Co. Landscape Architects, First Annual Report to Louisville Board of Park Commissioners, July 1891

Since initial construction over 100 years ago, the steady growth of vegetation, erosion, and other landscape changes have diluted the viewsheds intended for the north overlook of Iroquois Park. On behalf of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Louisville Metro Parks, Heritage Landscapes is the preservation landscape architect on a team with Tetra Tech, Environs, Inc., and Jones Landscape Architecture to renovate the overlook including compatible parking areas, pedestrian access, benches, and planting.

Project research elicited many interesting facts about sustainability aspects of the original park design and development. For example, Warren Manning served as the Superintendent of Planting for F.L. Olmsted Co., Landscape Architects and took a strict ecological approach – perhaps the first project of its kind – by using local plant materials, seed sources, and forest litter and duff from within the slopes of Burnt Knob to stabilize and revegetate the disturbed roadside and path margins caused by the initial construction.  The project is using knowledge of park development to recapture the landscape of the north overlook at Iroquois Park.

 

This detail of the 1897 General Plan of Iroquois Park illustrates the design of the North Overlook by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. and Warren Manning, the Superintendent of Planting for F.L. Olmsted Co., Landscape Architects.

Utilizing research and field work, Heritage Landscapes developed the visual analysis of views extending from the overlook.

A construction drawing illustrates improvements for the park overlook.