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Terracotta Angel, c.1896
Watts Chapel, England

Photo ©: Jeff Saward/Labyrinthos

 

 

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Hedge mazes first reached the Americas during the early years of the 19th century. The Harmonists, a group of religious dissidents, left their native Germany in 1803 and established three communities in Pennsylvania and Indiana between 1805 and 1825. At each they built a hedge maze (although the design was based on a classical labyrinth) to symbolize their spiritual quest, based on a curious mix of mysticism, alchemy, and the imminent return of Christ. Although all three of the original labyrinths have perished, a recreation (1941) of one of these at New Harmony, Indiana, survives.

The fashion for landscape gardening, imported from Europe in the mid-19th century, with its roots in 17th century France and the garden layouts of the Italian Renaissance, gained widespread popularity among the newly wealthy industrialists and entrepreneurs of middle-class America. The development of holiday resorts and public parks in cities across the nation resulted in the planting of a number of hedge mazes from the 1850's onwards, often copies of the Hampton Court maze. Early photographs and postcards of these mazes are often the only record of their designs. The collapse of the stock market in 1929 and the subsequent depression brought an abrupt end to the fashion for expensive formal gardens, and soon most of these hedge mazes became overgrown or were uprooted.

Historic American Hedge Mazes

Cedar Hills, Waltham, MA

Hotel Del Monte, Monterey, CA

Hotel Del Monte, Monterey, CA

Piedmont Park, Oakland, CA

Centennial Park, Nashville, TN

Great Maze, San Rafael, CA

 

 

 

 

New Harmony, IN

New Harmony, IN

Plan of New Harmony Maze, IN

 

 

 

 

Plan of Economy Maze, PA

Castle Hill, Ipswich, MA

Governor's Palace, Williamsburg, VA

 

We also have images and graphics of historic hedge mazes in Europe and Australia - click here to see some of our collection.

 

All of the images on this page (and many more besides!) are available in high resolution digital formats for licensed reproduction. For details of reproduction fees and permission procedures, send us an e-mail with details of your planned usage and format requirements. We have many more graphics and images in our archive and can produce plans and graphics to order. If you have specific requirements, please ask.

Governor's Palace, Williamsburg, VA

Hedge maze, New Harmony, Indiana

Photo ©: Jeff Saward/Labyrinthos

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