The Ozaukee Washington County Land Trust (OWLT) is engaging in another valuable preservation project: the restoration of the stone bridge and pool house at the Donges Bay Gorge.
The Donges Bay Gorge is a 23-acre Lake Michigan property, one of the Ozaukee County’s last remaining parcels along the lake was developed with influences from visionary landscape designer Jens Jensen, and prominent Milwaukee architect Thomas VanAlyea. This property provides scenic views of the lake, while also serving as a natural habitat for abundant wildlife including bald eagles.
The contributions of its renowned designers are well-represented, according to Shawn Graff, executive director of OWLT. “The landscape and structures are historically significant,” Graff said, adding that “the landscape has degraded over time, but much of Jensen’s influence still remains.”
Jensen was described by Frank Lloyd Wright, with whom the landscaper sometimes collaborated as “a native nature poet - a true interpreter of the peculiar charm of our prairie landscape.” A clear bonus is that the property is home to two VanAlyea-designed historic structures, including a pool house which remains in good condition.
None of the work would be possible without startup funds from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, according to a recent press release. “We are honored to provide this grant to the Ozaukee Washington County Land Trust,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the Trust said. “These funds will help preserve an important piece of our shared heritage,” Meeks added.
Graff said there are two goals in 2011 for the project: First, to restore the property’s pool house and stone bridge; and second to develop and restore the historic Jensen landscape.
For more information on the Donges Bay Property click here