Edward Drummond Libbey Monument

The Edward Drummond Libbey Monument is the final resting place for the founder of Libbey Glass, Libbey Owens Ford, and the Toledo Museum of Art. Mr. Libbey, his wife Florence Scott Libbey, their infant son, and Mr. Libbey’s sister are entombed in this beautiful marble memorial.

When considering the landscape for this project, many facets needed to be taken into consideration. First and foremost is Mr. Libbey himself, who contributed to the city of Toledo with his business, to the glass industry by revolutionizing the production of glass, and to the art world in general with the establishment of a fine museum with free admission and education at its core. The second consideration was the location of the monument, in the historic, rural Woodlawn Cemetery. This type of cemetery grew out of the urban/churchyard cemetery, which had become crowded and posed a health risk. Heavily influenced by Frederick Law Olmstead, rural cemeteries became much like public parks where families would picnic, play ball, and spend the afternoon. With high canopy trees, low plantings, sweeping hills, and meandering drives, they were pleasant places to enjoy nature. Monuments were the artwork and focus, not to be in competition with the plantings and other ornamentation. The third consideration was the monument itself, built in 1927 by Edward B. Green & Sons, the same firm that had built the museum just 15 years beforehand. Constructed from the same type of marble with similar granite steps, the classic Greek style and ionic pillars of the monument mimic the museum’s grandeur.

As I walked around the monument for the first time, I noticed an old concrete stepping stone and thought “What if this were glass…?” I knew then I had to incorporate glass in the landscape in some way, but I was unsure how or if it was even possible. But I did know where to start: The Toledo Museum Glass Pavilion.

The glass feature itself took almost 2 years of collaborative design work. Outdoor elements, vandalism and longevity were just a few of the parameters within which we had to work. Many talented people contributed to the final design and construction of the glass feature, and the final design is representative of the original fountain that was once in front of the museum. The three lenses were hand-cast and hand-cut in an original Libbey design ‘Hobstar’ which can be found on the award-winning Libbey punch bowl. The glass pavers that represent water are set on sand as a nod to the main ingredient in creating glass. The bronze cover relates to the bronze roof of the museum and will eventually feature a patina of beautiful green. Even the granite surround matches the steps of the monument.

The landscape plan is intentionally simple. Low, dignified plantings allow the monument to be viewed at any angle. The evergreen boxwood acts as a frame that guides visitors through to take in the view of the lake and allows them to discover the glass feature. According to the directive of Mrs. Libbey’s will, annuals are to be planted each year, so a bed was created for them. Calming and reflective, the landscape complements the monument and seamlessly brings together the style of the rural cemetery and the city museum, honoring the type and time of the architecture of the monument and paying tribute to the man responsible for making Toledo the “Glass City.”

  • Public 20 November 2015
  • Client Libbey Glass
  • Client Website www.libbey.com/