An Historical Timeline of the Landis Arboretum

By Lee Lattimer

It has been over 100 years since the Lape Fam­i­ly, father Her­man, moth­er Emma and son Fred, took up res­i­dence on Oak Nose Farm in Esper­ance, NY. Many changes have tak­en place since then – some joy­ous, some sad­den­ing. This is a time­line of the most sig­nif­i­cant events in the his­to­ry of the Arbore­tum. The first 50 years cen­ter around Fred and his fam­i­ly. Then the focus shifts from the Lapes to the George Lan­dis Arbore­tum, found­ed by Fred in 1951

Please note that due to space restric­tions, the list of events is hard­ly com­plete. But please con­tact us through email at info@​landisarboretum.​org or phone at 5188756935 if you have any sug­ges­tions or corrections. 

1820 or 1830:

Farm­house and barn built.

1900, August 20:

Fred Lape born in Hol­land Patent, NY, to Her­man and Emma Lape.


Fam­i­ly moved to Esper­ance. Oak Nose Farm pur­chased in 1903.


Fred Lape goes to Alta­mont High School. Fam­i­ly moves to vil­lage to short­en his com­mute. Farm now rent­ed out.


Fred Lape earns degree in Eng­lish at Cor­nell University.


Fred Lape begins teach­ing at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, Palo Alto, CA.


Fred returns to the now-vacant Oak Nose Farm


Fred attracts artist and writer crowd and over­sees refor­esta­tion of west­ern boundary.


Fred Lape starts a part-time teach­ing posi­tion at RPI. Friend­ship with Har­ri­et Peck and George Lan­dis begins.


Her­man Lape dies in typhoid epidemic.


Great White Oak and many oth­er trees severe­ly dam­aged in ice storm.

Late 1941 or 1942:

Fred Lape applies for con­sci­en­tious objec­tor sta­tus, con­se­quent­ly los­ing his job at RPI. He decides to farm for his liveli­hood: sheep, cows, chick­ens, veg­eta­bles. Sells but­ter in the village.


While build­ing and land­scap­ing a home for George Lan­dis, Fred and George get the idea of start­ing an arbore­tum at Oak Nose Farm. Plant­i­ngs begin.

1950, Decem­ber 5:

George Lan­dis dies acci­den­tal­ly, leav­ing most of his estate to Fred, who quits farm­ing and puts full time into devel­op­ing an arbore­tum: 50 acres of trees and shrubs. 

Fred begins study­ing tax­on­o­my with var­i­ous experts with help from Arie Kruik, a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist who works two sea­sons at the Arbore­tum with his wife, painter Cock van Gent.


Arbore­tum named for George Lan­dis, the friend who had made it all pos­si­ble both in life and in death.” Friend­ship start­ed with LeV­an Love­land, banker, flower gar­den­er, finan­cial advisor. 


Emma Lape dies, free­ing Fred Lape to trav­el and to spend many win­ters in warmer climes, most­ly Mex­i­co. Van Love­land becomes a fix­ture” at the Arboretum.

1960s and 70s:

The hal­cy­on days of the Arboretum.


Arbore­tum deed­ed to Corporation.

1967, Novem­ber 18:

Pro­vi­sion­al Char­ter grant­ed by NYS Regents and incor­po­rat­ed as an edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tion to oper­ate and main­tain Arboretum.

1967, Novem­ber 29:

IRS grants 501© 3 sta­tus to Arboretum.


Lawns let go, gas too expen­sive. Lape and Love­land get­ting old.

1971, Octo­ber 29:

Absolute Char­ter granted.


LeV­an Love­land dies in Mex­i­co, buried at Jocote­pec. Fred Lape inher­its estate of Van Love­land, but mon­ey is not enough to make up for the loss of Van’s labor. The decline of the Arboretum’s grounds, already begun, is hastened

1982, Jan­u­ary:

First issue of the Arboretum’s newsletter

1982, April:

The Great White Oak adopt­ed as logo.

1982, Sum­mer:

Fire­proof library/​herbarium build­ing completed.

1983, Octo­ber:

NYS local ini­tia­tive grant for con­fer­ence cen­ter construction.

1985, March 1:

Fred Lape dies in Mex­i­co, buried at Jocotepec.


George Lan­dis Con­fer­ence Cen­ter (cur­rent­ly referred to as Meet­ing House) completed.

1998, May:​

Fred Breglia starts as Head Hor­ti­cul­tur­ist and Oper­a­tions Manager.


Barn total­ly ren­o­vat­ed includ­ing new walls, foundation.

1998 – 1999:

Arbore­tum grounds are reha­bil­i­tat­ed – are in the best shape in many years.

1999 – 2000:

Plant­i­ng of new trees, first time in many years. Grounds con­tin­ue to improve.


First plant­i­ngs in Ed Miller’s Native Plant Trai

2011, April:

Fred Breglia becomes Director.

2011, August:

Great White Oak is fur­ther dam­aged by Hur­ri­cane Irene, con­sid­ered life­less in spring of 2013.

2012 – 2013:

Meet­ing House ren­o­vat­ed includ­ing new win­dows, floor­ing, and deck.

2017, Sum­mer:

Barn repaint­ed.

2017, August:

New win­dows installed in Farmhouse

2018, Spring:

Wel­come cen­ter with sid­ing, elec­tri­cal work, and floor­ing, completed.


Green­house ren­o­va­tions completed.

Fall 2018

Volume 36 , Number 4

Share this

The Latest from Landis

Oct 07, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

The Landis community mourns the loss of Anne Donnelly on October 4, 2023

Anne Donnelly was the first of the many friends I’ve made at the Arboretum and... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Fred Breglia, Executive Director

From the Director’s Desk: Update on the Big Tree Search

Landis Arboretum has successfully kicked off its most recent Big Tree Search, and the tree... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Erin McKenna Breglia

From the Garden: Your Autumn Garden Must Haves!

It’s certainly been a rainy summer, but the rain has helped keep our plants green... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

Landis Portraits: A Series About the People Behind the Plants at the Arboretum - Chuck Mueller

Chuck Mueller Volunteering, Chuck Mueller said, “is something you have to believe in . ... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

Volunteers Celebrate Meeting House Renovation

Shawn Bevins, Jim Paley, Craig Blevins, Fred Breglia, and Peter Bakal On a Sunday afternoon... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Sam McClary

Apples and Man: A Book Review

Apples and Man, by Fred Lape “Apples and Man,” written by Arboretum founder Fred Lape... read more

News Archive