Drum roll, please. The Landscape Committee presented a much-awaited landscape plan for the Society’s McKinney House property at the recent Annual Meeting. After months of work, the committee, comprised of Board members Tracey Stotz, Jim Newland, Kristin Dooley, and Alex Quintero, with input from Landscape Architect Karen Adams, developed a schematic for the site. A comprehensive plan was last done is 1995 and with the loss of the 103-year-old Monterey Pine earlier this year it was time to update the design.
“The goal of the plan is to make the site more useable for Society events as well as for programming that will allow for more public engagement,” said Committee Chair Tracey Stotz. As a historic site, it is also important to retain the character of the historic landscape. To that end, Newland and Adams have spent hours reviewing photos of the McKinney House that were taken during our interpretive period (1908-1920) to pin down plants and landscape elements that could be used in the current landscape. An obvious example is the enormous pine tree that was an important part of the site. We will be planting another tree as well as preserving the original pine with the help of artisan Brian Pederson who will carve a section of the tree into a bench. We also will be adding period climbing roses and other plantings and hardscape elements, such as a trellis, that were present in the interpretive period.
“It isn’t about recreating the past,” Stotz added, “It is about honoring the past while making the site more engaging in the present.” To that end, the plan allows for a flex-use area in the backyard that can be used for educational programs and events. It also incorporates a large display case near the Archives Building that will provide the Society with a place to permanently display large objects that don’t have a place in the McKinney House such as a printing press from The Scout and historic signage from the La Mesa Pharmacy. The committee is in the process of bidding out the elements of the project as well as gathering volunteers and donors.