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.

1902:

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

1913:

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

1921:

Fred Lape earns degree in Eng­lish at Cor­nell University.

1923:

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

1928:

Fred returns to the now-vacant Oak Nose Farm

1930s:

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

1937:

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

1938:

Her­man Lape dies in typhoid epidemic.

1940:

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.

1940s:

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.

1951:

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. 

1957:

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.

1966:

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.

1970s:

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

1971, Octo­ber 29:

Absolute Char­ter granted.

1977:

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.

1985:

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

1998, May:​

Fred Breglia starts as Head Hor­ti­cul­tur­ist and Oper­a­tions Manager.

1998:

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.

2002:

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.

2018:

Green­house ren­o­va­tions completed.


Fall 2018

Volume 36 , Number 4

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