Village Of Pinehurst’s History Of Timeless Beauty Alive And Well As Area Prepares For Dual US Opens In 2014
June 18, 2013
PINEHURST, NC - Taking a leisurely stroll through the undeniable quaintness that is the Village of Pinehurst will easily provide a test of your sensory system like few places can. And it will no doubt amaze the visitor who, like a previous guest arriving in the darkness of night, wakes up to the absolute pristine beauty of the century-old community.
The timeless story of Boston soda-fountain entrepreneur James Walker Tufts and his determination to make the proverbial “silk purse out of a sow’s ear” from the very early Pinehurst is well-known.
According to historical research done by local landscape architect Robert Hayter, the area was by-passed by North American Indians and early European settlers. There were no natural water sources, no fertile soil or abundant wildlife. Few folks saw potential in those “pine barrens.”
By the 1800s, rail transportation offered wealthy New Englanders the opportunity to escape the cold northern winters, and one such traveler was Tufts, who found the area acceptable for his wish to build a health resort for the average folks. He liked the fresh air and the pine aroma; his decision to hire the famous New York landscape firm headed by Frederic Law Olmsted became a defining moment for the beauty and serenity which awaken one’s sense of smell and sight of the Village.
Olmsted’s plan was eventually carried out by his employee Warren Manning, a visionary horticulturist, who ordered a staggering number of plants, flowers, shrubs and trees to transform the austere Sandhills acreage that had been circumvented by early settlers and travelers. The original plan of curved and winding streets for the central village commons included lists of evergreens and foliage which would provide four seasons of color and fragrance.
That historical, 225,000-item plant inventory included, but was not limited to, cedars, camellias, pyracantha, laurel, gardenia, jessamine (jasmine), holly, privet, honeysuckle, magnolia, pines, roses, and periwinkle.
To fully appreciate the magnitude of what Tufts, Olmsted and Manning accomplished through their enormous visions, visitors and locals should spend some time traversing the many tree-lined paths and shady lanes which make up the Village of Pinehurst today. The rustling breeze of the long-leaf pines calms and refreshes. The sweet memory of a freshly-opened magnolia blossom or the wafting aroma of flowering hollies and jasmine, combined with the knowledge of how they arrived, become the “essence of place” that defines the Village of Pinehurst. All pieces of the picture work together to form a whole: the plan, the original buildings, the history, the various senses that are touched and the mind that flashes back to more than 100 years ago.
The partnership between Olmsted and Manning, both landscape icons, helped establish Pinehurst as the embodiment of the best in resort and community planning. These important historical developments impacted the Village of Pinehurst’s 1996 designation as a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior.
The Village hasn’t taken this distinction lightly. It has no intention of ever being that area that everyone disregarded centuries ago. Carefully approved enhancements are currently in progress in anticipation of the back-to-back US Open Golf Championships scheduled for June 2014.
Andy Wilkison has served as Village Manager for 25 years. During his tenure, he has seen exciting and satisfying partnerships extend the beauty of Pinehurst.
“The Village of Pinehurst has never looked better, and it will be a showcase when the US Opens arrive next year,” Wilkison commented. “Our Village is all about history, charm and southern hospitality, and we will continue to look the part for years to come, thanks to the efforts of so many.”
One of the keys to its unmatched ambience is the excellent working relationship with the Pinehurst Garden Club which assists with the maintenance, year -round and bi-annual plantings for the many intersections and roadside areas. Green areas leading into the Village have been planted with indigenous hollies, shrubs, trees, and seasonal flowers, some within stone containment structures. New street signs and directional signs point visitors to the center of the Village where planters of colorful annuals like petunias, marigolds and evergreens decorate the side streets and the Village. Dark green lamp posts hold more than 60 colorful hanging baskets bursting with flowers all year.
Various branches of the Garden Club take tremendous pride in their beautification projects, with club names reflecting the history and tradition of the area. The members of Holly Branch, Dogwood, Azalea and Pine clubs have also assisted with creating and placing Christmas swags on street names signs each holiday season, in addition to the annual spring plant sale, a 25-year tradition.
With its most industrious project nearly complete, the Village recently held a public celebration for the newly -redesigned Village Green in June. Located in a triangle of approximately 13 acres, the Green will connect trees, additional Village parking and a grassy area to the Given Memorial Library to the north and south to The Village Chapel. Parking has been expanded and features a new, non-sand consistency.
A free public concert by the Carolina Philharmonic will allow the citizens of Pinehurst to be among the first to enjoy the Village Green in the manner originally intended by the founders of Pinehurst: a public gathering place on a central green.
“The Village Council wants the Tufts Park on the Village Green to be used often in this fashion,” Wilkison added, “and we want it to be a place of relaxation and passive recreation for the citizens and visitors alike for years to come.”
Just outside the Village Center, a second phase of improvement to the Traffic Circle to enhance visual safety was recently concluded. The makeover has enhanced the look of the structure by moving seasonal plantings out of the points of the four surrounding islands and replacing them with brick pavers. The plantings will now be done in those new areas based on plant type, size and color.
The Village’s Public Services division also partnered with the North Carolina Department of Transportation in thinning the underbrush throughout the circle, opening up the interior to give more of a longleaf pine forest-look. Wilkison was delighted with the long-range effect of the joint operation.
“We were so pleased with the initiative of the NCDOT in helping us improve the overall appearance of the traffic circle, and at the same time, we could maintain the traditional design of this important and well-known gateway into the Village,” he continued. “We feel that the addition of the hardscapes on the triangular island points will improve the year-round appearance of the circle.”
In a wonderful tip of the hat to the talented gentleman who visualized Pinehurst as that “silk purse” over a hundred years ago, a two-part Warren Manning Beautification Award program was established by the Pinehurst Village Council in 2012 to recognize the efforts of individuals and business owners for their contributions toward maintaining the beauty of the area. Three awards have been presented in the categories of new development, as well as addition/alternation/renovated projects and non-residential (commercial) projects.
A part of the Award criteria focuses on whether the winning landscape design would meet the vision that Mr. Manning had for the Village. Hayter, the landscape architect, says that Pinehurst, as a place, is a matter of time.
Pinehurst is then that place where time, vision and senses all fit together-- that “essence of place.”
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, NORTH CAROLINA
The Village of Pinehurst is a charming, vibrant community which reflects our rich history and traditions, enhanced by a unique combination of cultural arts and recreational activities. It is located in the Sandhills of North Carolina and is preparing to host both the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open Championships, marking the first time in history that both tournaments will be played in the same year, on the same course—Pinehurst No. 2.