Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn President Bill Clendaniel Retires | Page 4

Many Accomplishments Bill’s achievements are varied and impressive. During his tenure and under his leadership, Mount Auburn • Completed a comprehensive Master Plan for the grounds and historic monuments in 1993 that was given an Honor Award by the American Society of Landscape Architects; • Established the Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery as a charitable trust in 1990 and initiated fundraising programs for historic preservation, landscape renovation, and public outreach; • Completed major renovations of the Administration Building, Story Chapel, Bigelow Chapel and the Service Yard, now called the Operations Center, and in 2003 constructed a new Preservation Services Building; • Refurbished large portions of the landscape and suc- ceeded in having the Department of the Interior designate the Cemetery as a National Historic Landmark in 2003; • Created a preservation program for all of Mount Au- burn’s built structures and archives; and • Expanded and professionalized the staff, hiring the first Directors of Horticulture, Preservation, and Planning & Cemetery Development, as well as the Curators of Plant Collections and Historical Collections and Vice Presidents of Development and Cemetery Services. —In short, Bill dramatically changed Mount Auburn for the better and made the world take notice of those changes. He took the job of President, convinced that the Board of Trustees was “eager for strong leadership and willing to think about new things.” Bill was “very interested in open- ing us up to the community, making the Cemetery more accessible and sharing what we did here with a wider audi- ence. And I certainly was pretty quickly aware of preservation issues.” Bill’s first challenge was completing a badly needed renovation of the Administration Building, including convert- ing a dank basement into a series of comfortable air-condi- tioned offices, including one for the archives, complete with climate-controlled storage to prevent fragile books, papers, maps and photographs from literally becoming a thing of the past. “Bill is extraordinarily innovative. His vision of what Mount Auburn could be was way beyond what the Trustees at the time he arrived had imagined… And it will be tough to replicate Bill’s public persona. He is a very strong advocate for historic landscape preservation on the regional and national level. Prior to Bill, people thought of Mount Auburn as a local institu- tion, not as a national historic landscape.” — Jim Storey, of Boston Chair of the Mount Auburn Cemetery Trustees 2 | Sweet Auburn Bill leads a tour through the Cemetery, Spring 2007. Photo by Jennifer Johnston While the pre-Clendaniel staff was aware of Mount Au- burn’s uniqueness as a historical and horticultural treasure, they were making decisions on a utilitarian basis, replacing architectural elements such as downspouts and floor tiles with modern versions not in keeping with their Victorian surroundings, filling in the spaces between curb lots, or planting a new tree whenever an old one died—all without any overall plan. The staff paid little attention to historical details in either structures or horticulture. The whole idea of protecting historic landscapes was in its infancy in 1988. “You had the sense that this was all pioneering work,” Bill says. He remembers his first meet- ing with the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation at Olympic National Park in Washington State, sitting outdoors on the ground with colleagues now considered founders of the field such as Charles Birnbaum, Tim Keller and Patricia O’Donnell, discussing proposed federal standards for landscape preservation. “We were trying to articulate what you do to preserve historic landscapes. This was a wonderful experience for me, being new at Mount Auburn, to begin to understand what the issues were. Alli- ance meetings have been very helpful throughout the years, putting me in touch with a lot of people and ideas that proved to be valuable to Mount Auburn.” Rather than make changes to this “iconic landscape” that were incremental, isolated, or out of context, Bill recognized the need to think big, far into the future—and to invest the time and money to draw up a comprehensive master plan. “At a site like Mount Auburn, you’re never going to go back and recreate the landscape that was here at any particular time. We’re not a landscape that lends itself to a single period of significance, so you keep adapting it for current uses, while trying to still retain a sense of its past.” Was he scared at first, afraid of making mistakes? Of course, he admits, which is why he chose to proceed with caution and only after a good deal of deliberation. To create the 1993 Master Plan, he hired the Halvorson Design Partner-