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Mabel Choate & Fletcher Steele

Mabel Choate & Fletcher Steele

Naumkeag, Stockbridge, MA, ca. 1955

Photographer unknown

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

For 30 years, Mabel Choate (1870-1958) and landscape architect Fletcher Steele (1885-1971) worked together to shape Naumkeag’s gardens. During one of her many trips abroad, Choate sent many outdoor objects back to Stockbridge. Upon her return, Steele works with her to create the Chinese Temple Garden. Surrounded by massive walls sheltering a hidden courtyard, a collection of authentic Chinese statuary, walking paths, and a stately Temple structure, the garden represents one of the most complex, recognizable, and prominent landscape features on the property. Construction of the garden began as early as 1917 and continued through the completion of the Moon Gate (seen here) in 1955.

In 2013, The Trustees undertook an extensive, $3.3 million garden and landscape restoration at Naumkeag. Thanks to a rich archive of original plans, archival drawings and notes from both Steele and Choate, project planners in the 21st Century were guided in their restoration efforts by the historical records pertaining to the original construction and conception of the gardens to keep Choate and Steele’s vision alive.

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