Birmingham Public Library
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Birmingham, Alabama 35203
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Birmingham Architecture & Design Collection
William H. Kessler, 1880-1966

William H. Kessler, 1880-1966
Business Papers
AR 68

Biographical Information

Study for General Arrangement of Lots 199 & 199A, Redmont Park. Pencil on tissue. File #68.8.33. Kessler, W.H. Papers. Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.William H. Kessler was born in Nebraska in 1880. As a young man he worked under P.J. Berkman of Fruitland Nursery in Augusta, Georgia. In the early 1900’s Robert Jemison, Jr. contracted with Fruitland Nursery to prepare landscape designs for the Mountain Terrace section of Birmingham. Kessler traveled to Birmingham as a representative of the company to oversee installation of the project and stayed after the project was complete to begin practicing as a landscape architect. Once referred to as the “L’Enfant of Birmingham,” Kessler planned and developed some of Birmingham’s finest residential neighborhoods including Redmont, Forest Park, Mountain Brook, and Central Park. He designed the grounds for some of the finest homes in the developments of his colleague and friend Robert Jemison, Jr., and he developed a plan for Woodrow Wilson Park (now Linn Park), the grounds for many churches and public buildings, and the model city of Corey (now Fairfield). The American Institute of Architects recognized Kessler’s great achievements in planning and landscape architecture by electing him an honorary member of the organization.

 
Scope and Content

Aerial view of home and grounds of John Kaul residence: 3710 Redmont Road. File #68.6.32. Kessler, W.H. Papers. Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.This collection contains personal correspondence, professional correspondence and invoices, sketches and specifications, drawings and plans, planting lists, and photographs of projects, residences, and other buildings and landmarks. Notable buildings, institutions, and organizations referenced in the collection include Brook Hill School, Birmingham Housing Authority, Birmingham Museum of Art Memorial Garden, Birmingham Parks and Recreation Board, Birmingham Southern College, Elmwood Cemetery, Mountain Brook Planning Commission, Oak Hill Cemetery, and the University of Alabama. Private residences in the collection are catalogued by street address

University of Alabama, General Plan for Future Development, 1925, Kessler & Schillinger Landscape Architects. File #68.8.39. Kessler, W.H. Papers. Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

Related Collections


Jemison, Robert, Jr. Collection

Gift of Kessler Family

Sources:

Aerial view of home and grounds of John Kaul residence: 3710 Redmont Road. File #68.6.32. Kessler, W.H. Papers. Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

University of Alabama, General Plan for Future Development, 1925, Kessler & Schillinger Landscape Architects. File #68.8.39. Kessler, W.H. Papers. Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

Satterfield, Carolyn Green. Historic Sites of Jefferson County, Alabama. Birmingham, Alabama: Lowry Printing, 1985. Prepared for the Jefferson County Historical Commission.

Study for General Arrangement of Lots 199 & 199A, Redmont Park. Pencil on tissue. File #68.8.33. Kessler, W.H. Papers. Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.
 
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