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Victorian Landscapes Included Amusement Parks and Resorts

Nineteenth century America saw extensive interest in home landscape design with the growth of the suburbs after 1860.

By the end of the century designed landscapes appeared in public parks, resorts, and even amusement parks.

Philip Pregill and Nancy Volman write in their book Landscapes in History: Design and Planning in the Eastern and Western Traditions, “There were two specialized recreational landscapes that developed during the Victorian period. These were vacation resorts and amusement parks.”

Pabst, the largest brewery in the world by the 1890s, built a resort a bit outside Milwaukee in a village called Whitefish Bay. Built during the high Victorian period in America, the resort was called Pabst Whitefish Bay Resort. According to the Whitefish Bay Historical Society, “the resort consisted of a hotel (the “Bellevue”), a restaurant, band-shell and other amusements, and enough beer to satisfy the thirsts of all excursionists.”

Here is an image of the Pabst Resort which people could reach by either rail or boat. [below]

The Pabst Beer Garden in Whitefish Bay, near Milwaukee, appeared in 1890s. [Courtesy XXX]
The Pabst Beer Garden in Whitefish Bay, near Milwaukee, appeared in 1890s. [Courtesy Carl Swanson]
Notice the lawn sweeps down toward the water, Lake Michigan.  Trees in containers dot the grass to give some shade. Benches provide an opportunity for visitors to relax and enjoy the view.

In the background you can see the Ferris wheel which George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. introduced at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

People could enjoy the outside design space for a bit of summer relaxation. After all, that’s certainly what the landscape often intends to do.

Victorian landscapes whether surrounding a home or a resort were also outdoor spaces to showcase a lawn and other plants.

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