Southeastern PA

Bucks craftsman's complex now a national landmark

George Nakashima Woodworker Complex is in New Hope

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The George Nakashima Woodworker Complex in New Hope, Bucks County, has been recognized as a National Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Internationally-renowned furniture designer George Nakashima is recognized as one of America's most eminent craftsmen.

His complex is significant for its innovative Japanese-influenced International Style structures designed by Nakashima and built under his direct supervision.

As a self-proclaimed "woodworker," Nakashima became an important voice for the artist craftsmen, helping to create a new  standard for studio furniture production in the postwar period.

"As the State Historic Officer for Pennsylvania, I am pleased with the recognition of this very significant artist and artisan," said Jim Vaughan, executive director of the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission.

"His works can be found in museums around the world and an appreciation for his work has only grown since his death in 1990."

Nakashima's work expresses a worldview that is based upon a unique set of circumstances, including his formal education in architecture, his exposure to European Modernism, Eastern religious philosophy, and traditional Japanese craft traditions.

Those traditions include instruction from Issei carpenter Gentaro Hikogawa while both were confined at the Minidoka Relocation Center, one of 10 internment camps established for Japanese Americans during World War II.

The designation of the Nakashima's Woodworker Complex, along with three other sites, was made by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis as part of National Park Week.

The sites announced Wednesday join 2,540 other sites across the country recognized as places that possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.

Other sites receiving this designation include Adlai E. Stevenson II Farm, Mettawa, Illinois; The Detroit Industry Murals, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan and the 1956 Grand Canyon TWA-United Airlines Aviation Accident Site, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

The National Historic Landmarks Program, established in 1935, is administered by the National Park Service. The agency works with preservation officials, private property owners, and other partners interested in nominating properties for National Historic Landmark designation. Completed nominations are reviewed by the National Park System Advisory Board, which makes recommendations for designation to the Secretary of the Interior.

Additional information on the designations can be found online.

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