In 1902, George Eastman purchased the last 8.5 acres of the Marvin Culver Farm on East Avenue in Rochester. Assisted by landscape architect Alling Stephen DeForest (1875–1957), Eastman transformed the farmland into a unique urban estate that integrated a working farm with informal gardens and elegant formal gardens. More gardens were added in 1916 when he bought the adjacent property to the west and commissioned architect Claude Bragdon to do the design.
Today, the George Eastman Museum landscape collection comprises lawns, trees, ornamental shrubs, vines, and five restored or adapted garden areas planted with perennials, bulbs, annuals, and ground covers typically grown during Eastman’s residency (1905–1932). Historic buildings, structures, and architectural elements such as the Loggia, Grape Arbor, Pergola, sunken oval lily pool, and seventeenth-century Venetian wellheads are also part of this collection.
The landscape collection is carefully restored, preserved, and interpreted for the public by museum staff, volunteers, and docents as it relates both historically and horticulturally to George Eastman. Preservation and restoration plans for this collection are based on estate photos taken between 1902 and 1932, correspondence, plant lists, and original architectural drawings and plans of the property held in the George Eastman Legacy collection.