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March 7, 2013

Land Trust seeks photos, stories about Brookwood Point

Thanks to the contribution of $15,000 in pro bono services by Templeton Landscape and Architecture Planning, the Otsego Land Trust is piecing together the  historical and ecological history of Brookwood Point.

Brookwood Point is a 22-acre former estate within the Glimmerglass Historic District on Otsego Lake. It is often referred to as the Secret Garden.

According to a media release, the report will focus on the historic aspects of Brookwood’s garden, which dates back to 1915.

Michele Palmer, owner of Templeton, became aware of the Brookwood Point site through her colleague Tom Breiten.  His longtime interest in the site and the garden lead him to use the garden for his master’s degree research at Cornell University in 2009.  According to a media release, Brookwood Point is not a typical project for Palmer, but one she has embraced because of a commitment to helping communities understand and protect significant local landscapes.

Palmer is involved in studying garden archaeology of ancient gardens.  The release said she has become intrigued by the history of the Brookwood site and in particular, Frederick de Peyster Townsend who, with his wife, Catherine Townsend Chapman, designed and built the garden around the time of World War I.  He was one of the first graduates of Harvard’s master program in landscape architecture, class of 1902.

With the help of OLT volunteers, Palmer has sifted through boxes of archival materials housed in the OLT office, viewed archives at New York State Historical Associatn and Cornell and contacted decendents to gain insight into the property.  She found a detailed site plan for the proposed development drawn by Townsend in 1915 that provides insight into his concept for the garden.

Members of the public willing share photographs or remembrances that may contribute further to Palmer’s documentation are asked to call the Otsego Land Trust at 547-2366 or to email

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