John Nolen: Neighborhood Maker

Created by Levine Museum of the New South in partnership with architect and author Tom Low, John Nolan: Neighborhood Maker showcases the Charlotte work and national impact of one of America’s foremost landscape planners.

100 years ago in Charlotte, NC, John Nolen began a career that would make him a world-renowned pioneer of urban design. In May 1905 Nolen’s professors at Harvard gave him permission to skip final exams and travel to south to create his first project, Independence Park near uptown Charlotte. Soon after, he planned a greenway park along Little Sugar Creek – an idea being revived today. Nolen returned again in 1911 to create the gracious neighborhood of Myers Park. He took a tree-less cotton farm, designed curving avenues, laid out parks, and moved in hundreds of trees to make Myers Park one of the South’s most important garden suburbs. Nolen’s detailed landscape drawings for Myers Park, discovered in the archives of Cornell University, are the exhibit’s highlight. Photos trace his nationwide career and explore his recent rediscovery by a whole new generation of designers.

Based in Massachusetts, John Nolen planned over 400 projects nationwide – neighborhoods, parks, entire cities. Today his ideas are inspiring the “New Urbanism” movement, including such developments as Baxter, Birkdale and Vermillion in the Charlotte area.

Exhibit Size:

20 running feet.

Consists of two “trade-show pop-up” units, each gently curved, about 10 feet long and 8 feet high. Can be set up in any configuration, as long as there is room for visitors to walk along both sides of each unit.


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