Blueprint for the Blue Steps at Naumkeag

Blueprint of Iron Rail Details for the Blue Steps at Naumkeag

1938

Fletcher Steele

Mabel Choate Papers Regarding Naumkeag, 1855-1958,
The Trustees

Stockbridge, MA

This original blueprint of a railing for the now iconic Blue Steps at Naumkeag in Stockbridge, MA was created in 1938 by landscape architect Fletcher Steele (1885-1971). The Steps are one of the most recognized 20th-century landscapes in the country – a true expression of Steele’s belief that garden design should be considered one of the fine arts. The Blue Steps were designed in response to Mabel Choate’s desire for an easier path from the top lawn to her cutting flower garden. Steele’s ethereal creation is a harmonic expression of form and function.

The blueprint represents a larger collection of plans and drawings at the Archives & Research Center of the landscape work performed at Nuamkeag during Fletcher Steele’s 30-year working relationship with Naumkeag owner Mabel Choate (1870-1958). The Trustees referred back to original documents, like this one, when they began an extensive restoration of the Naumkeag gardens in 2013. The multi-year, multi-million dollar effort was designed to bring the grounds back to their former brilliance and original design intent. The restoration team conducted extensive behind-the-scenes research and planning over many months, including the careful culling of hundreds of original design plans, historic photos, notes, letters, and documents from Fletcher Steele and Mabel Choate in order to create a thorough and authentic restoration plan. The restoration work was completed in 2016.

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