Horseshoe hedge, before and after replacement.
Date: April 18, 2014
Saint-Gaudens NHS Visitor Center Driveway and Hedge Project
This spring, Saint-Gaudens NHS will be undertaking a project to resurface the driveway to the park visitor center and replace an overgrown hedge. These projects will be visible from Saint Gaudens Road but should be substantially complete by the time the park opens for the season on Memorial Day weekend.Though the projects will be adjacent to the road, the park does not anticipate any travel delays along Saint Gaudens Road at this time.
Visitors to Saint-Gaudens NHS leave their cars in the parking lot and walk via a woodland trail to a crossing of Saint Gaudens Road and then up the visitor center driveway to the visitor center. Presently, the driveway is made of asphalt. The asphalt has been cut and cracked in several places and the cuts and cracks have heaved and subsided a great deal with time. It has reached the end of its life cycle and needs replacement.
The new driveway surface will be textured and tinted to make it appear more like the dirt or gravel surface that it was during Saint-Gaudens' time at Aspet. A chip-seal type treatment will be placed overtop of a new layer of asphalt to give the driveway a more historic feel. Currently, the asphalt leads all the way up to the front door of the visitor center, creating an "industrial" feel as visitors approach. To alleviate this, the overall amount of asphalt/chip seal surface of the driveway will be significantly reduced, particularly in front of the visitor center where a small patio of stone pavers will create a more defined and welcoming entryway to the building. The patio as well as some regrading will also help solve several drainage problems around the visitor center.
Concurrent with the driveway resurfacing, the park will be undertaking some hedge replacement work along Saint Gaudens Road and the visitor center driveway. This is the latest in a series of hedge replacements that the park has undertaken, including the horseshoe hedge in 1996 (pictured) and the lower field hedge in 2008. The hedge bordering Saint-Gaudens Road and the visitor center driveway has grown out of scale—the target height for the hedge is approximately 8 feet tall and the hedge is presently more than 12 feet tall.New white pine and hemlock hedge stock will be planted at the 3-4 foot height and allowed to grow to reach the targeted 8 foot height.
At its current size, the hedge also creates some visitor safety problems, obstructing the view of pedestrians and vehicles that use the visitor center driveway.The park has noted some near misses between passengers and vehicles along the drive, despite the placement of a mirror to help see around the hedge.An appropriately scaled hedge will help alleviate this significant safety concern and will return the hedge to its intended historic height and mass.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ brother, Louis, was also an accomplished sculptor. The sculptures in Washington, D.C.’s Union Station are by him. He worked with Augustus in Cornish, N.H., and married Annetta Johnson, also a sculptor