Kenilworth Assembly Hall Historic Landscape Report
The Kenilworth Assembly Hall is an historic building in Kenilworth, Illinois designed by George W. Maher in the early 1900s. The building is well documented with drawings, photographs, and correspondence. Landscape is much less well documented. Prior to undertaking a building renovation and addition, the Kenilworth Club’s members decided to prepare an Historic Landscape Report, in order to understand the historic landscape of the property, including any persistent landscape and site features that should be respected and preserved in the building process. Two historic landscape plans were identified, one prepared by Jens Jensen in 1909 and another by Maher in 1910.
Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc. was retained to prepare an Historic Landscape Report (HLR). In addition to the plans, many historic photographs in the archives of the Kenilworth Historical Society were reviewed for evidence of the original landscape design and subsequent changes over the next ninety years. Services included a field survey and inventory of the existing planting and other site features; review of the archival photographs; photography of current conditions taken from the same location and orientation as the archival photographs; and comparison and analysis of the photographs identifying landscape changes. The landscape architect also reviewed the site for any persistent elements of either the Jensen or Maher plans from the early 1900s. None of the features of the 1909 Jensen plan survived, and it became questionable as to whether they had ever been implemented. Several of the site landscape elements from the 1910 Maher plan survived.
The conclusion of the HLR was a summary of alternative landscape treatments and a recommendation as to the appropriate treatment for this site that would retain existing historic features, identify non-historic landscape that could be removed during building renovation and expansion, and provide direction for future landscaping consistent with the historic plans and appearance.