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Biography

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Elbert Peets received his B.A. from Western Reserve University and his M.L.A. from the Harvard University School of Landscape Architecture and City Planning. He worked for Pray, Hubbard and White, Boston landscape architects, for a year before joining with Werner Hegemann to plan Kohler, a company town founded by Walter S. Kohler, near Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Peets and Hegemann also collaborated in the planning of Washington Highlands, a subdivision in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; of Wyomissing Park, a subdivision in Reading, Pennsylvania; and in the writing of The American Vitruvius: An Architect's Handbook of Civic Art (1922). From 1923-1935 Peets worked in private practice in Cleveland, Ohio. He also worked on the planning for Greendale (near Milwaukee), one of three greenbelt towns built by the U.S. Farm Resettlement Administration headed by Rexford Guy Tugwell under Franklin D. Roosevelt. From 1938-1944 he was Chief of the Site Planning Section of the U.S. Housing Authority. With the firm of Loebl, Schlossman & Bennett, he participated in the planning for the town of Park Forest (near Chicago, Illinois), a project initiated by Nathan Manilow, Treasurer of American Community Builders, Inc., and Philip Klutznick, President. In the 1950s, Peets was a member of the Fine Arts Commission and served as consultant to the National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Peets did site planning in Washington, D.C., lectured at Harvard and Yale, and served as consultant to several private planning firms. He also wrote numerous articles on planning and landscape architecture.

CHRONOLOGY

May 5, 1886 Born Cleveland Ohio to Edward Orville Peets and Mary Curetta Houghton Peets
Graduated from Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio
1912 B.A. magna cum laude, Western Reserve University; First Scholarship Honors, Phi Beta Kappa
Foreman for H.U. Horvath, landscape architect and nurseryman while in college
1915 M.L.A., Harvard University, School of Landscape Architecture and City Planning; instructed in horticulture at Harvard, 1914-1915
June 1915-June 1916 Worked for Pray, Hubbard and White, Landscape Architects, making plans for land subdivisions
June 1916-Jan. 1917 Worked with Werner Hegemann on Kohler, Wisconsin, a "company" town, in Sheboygan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin--subdivisions, parks, playground, cemeteries
Jan. 1917-Dec. 1918 Civilian Planning Engineer with the U.S. Army, Camp Planning Section, Construction Division. Made plans for: Hospitals (Staten Island, Colonia, Otisville, etc.); Remount Stations
Jan. 1919-Apr. 1920 In practice with Werner Hegemann on: Washington Highlands, large subdivision in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Apr. 1920-Mar. 1921 Charles Eliot Traveling Fellowship: London, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam
Apr. 1921-May 1922 Continued practice with Werner Hegemann; collaborated with Hegemann in writing Civic Art: The American Vitruvius
June 1922-June 1923 Wyomissing Park, large subdivision including areas for working people, Reading, Pennsylvania
July 1923-July 1933 Private practice in Cleveland, Ohio; work included gardens, parks, land subdivisions; also wrote articles
July 1933-Nov. 1933 Cleveland City Planning Commission; parks, playgrounds, civic improvements
Nov. 1933-Apr. 1934 U.S. Department of Agriculture; layout of roads and other site planning work at Beltsville, Maryland; representative of A.D. Taylor, President of ASLA
May 1934-Nov. 1935 Private practice in Cleveland; writing
Nov. 1935-Feb. 1938 U.S. Farm Resettlement Administration in Washington; principal town planner for Greendale, Wisconsin
Feb. 1938-Apr. 1939 Catalina Island, California; plans and report on the future development of the Wrigley Estate and the town of Avalon
Apr. 1938-1944 Chief of Site Planning Section, U.S. Housing Authority, and Federal Public Housing Authority
1939 Report on City Planning and Housing for San Juan, Puerto
1941 Report for the National Resources Planning Board (NRPB): "An Interior Program of Planning Studies for the Physical Development of Puerto Rico" (with Hale Walker and Tracy Augur)
1944 Lectured at the New York Museum of National History on Aerial Urban Reconnaissance and Site Recognition
1945 Consultant in Town Planning for FPHA and USHA
1945-1948 Prepared plans for the extension of Greendale; drafted a zoning ordinance for Greendale
1945-1951 Housing consultant and site planner for the Municipal Housing Authority of San Juan, Puerto Rico
1946-1947 Site and City Planner for Phillip Klutznick, American Community Builders, Park Forest, Illinois
1950-1954 Member of the Fine Arts Commission, Washington
1951-1953 Consultant to the National Capital Park and Planning Commission
1950-1960 Lecturer at Yale and Harvard; consultant to several private planning firms; Harland Bartholomew; McGaughan and Johnson; plan for the S.W. Washington Redevelopment with Louis Justement
1951-1962 Worked with sculptor Felix de Weldon on site planning for memorials: Plaza Bolivar, Washington, D.C.; monument to General Calixto Garcia, Havana, Cuba; Pershing Memorial, Washington, D.C.; Stone Mountain Memorial, Atlanta, Georgia; National War Memorial, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1963 Site plan for U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, D.C.
1964-1968 Health problems prevented further work
Mar. 26, 1968 Died in Austinburg, Ohio

This sketch was largely done by Paul Spreiregen, editor of On the Art of Designing Cities (1968), a collection of Elbert Peets' writings. Several additions and corrections have been made since the arranging of the Elbert Peets Papers.