seal  Purdue News

May 27, 2003

1920s landscape recreated at Prophetstown by Purdue students

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University horticulture students turned back time by creating a landscape plan for the Museum at Prophetstown.

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The Battle Ground, Ind., museum was in search of a way to turn the Living History Farm into a 1920s time warp. Horticulture students in Purdue's advanced planting design class undertook the task of developing a plan that was later put into action by two clubs.

"The previous landscaping didn't fit with the farm's structures and historical time period," said Mike Dana, the course's professor. "The students' job was to propose planting that would look as if it had been growing in 1920."

Dris Abraham, director of operations for Museum at Prophetstown, said, "In a year from now, I will be able to hold up a J.C. Allen picture next to the house and not tell a difference. "I am elated at how beautiful the place looks."

Six teams made up of four or five students each developed plans. After consulting with the Prophetstown staff, a hybrid plan was formed. The Purdue Horticulture Society and Associated Landscape Contractors of America, Purdue Chapter, implemented the plan earlier this month by planting "time period appropriate" trees, shrubbery and other plants.

Dana said the project was a good learning experience, but students found having to design for a different time period to be difficult at times.

"This project was a challenge to students because they are used to designing and planting in contemporary layouts," he said. "The big shrubs commonly used in the 1920s aren't typically found in contemporary landscape planting."

Abraham was so impressed with the students' work that he hopes to have Dana's class work on the museum entrance next year.

Writer: Michelle Betz, (765) 494-8402,

Sources: Michael Dana, (765) 494-5923,

Dris Abraham, (765) 567-4700,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,;


Related Web sites:
Museum of Prophetstown
Purdue Horticulture and Landscape Architecture


Prophetstown volunteer Ann Pellegrino, of Lafayette, tends to one of the many trees planted recently by Purdue University horticulture students. Six teams of students developed landscaping plans that match the 1920s style homestead at the park, located near Battle Ground, Ind. (Agricultural Communications photo/Tom Campbell)

A publication-quality photograph is available at

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