Is Four Seasons Total Landscaping a Historic Site? – SURFACE
Should Four Seasons Total Landscaping be listed on the National Register of Historic Places? According to an online petition, more than 4,300 people believe this. “We as a nation must remember where the travesty of the Trump administration died with a whimper,” writes Sheridan Hurd, who started the petition, on change.org.
First, a backstory: On November 7, just before Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election was scheduled, Donald Trump tweeted that his lawyers would host a press conference in Philadelphia. The location caused mass confusion, however – he initially said the conference would be held at the Four Seasons, Philadelphia, but later made it clear that he was not referring to the five-star hotel that had recently opened in the tallest building in the city. He was actually referring to Four Seasons Total Landscaping, a seemingly innocuous little business nestled between an adult bookstore and a crematorium ten miles away on the industrial outskirts of the city.
The dreary place seemed like a special place for Trump’s campaign to hold a press conference, especially to convince voters that he still had a chance to win an election that quickly turned against his favor. Many wondered if Trump had actually intended to book the Four Seasons Hotel and made a mistake sharing his location. (The hotel even tweeted a correction.) To make matters worse, his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who was thrown back from a wall of obsolete Trump pence campaign signs, insisted that Trump would not admit, groundlessly claimed that Pennsylvania’s ballot had been tampered with, and insisted that the campaign would file a lawsuit because Republican observers were not allowed to see ballot papers. Despite Giuliani’s claims, there is currently no evidence of significant election fraud, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Government Coordinating Council for Election Infrastructure declared the 2020 election “the safest in American history.”
There was widespread hilarity and ridicule over social media, and many viewed the spectacle as a poignant metaphor for the impending failure of the Trump campaign. Design critic Justin Davidson, who wrote for Curbed, summed up the scene with poetic prose. “Four Seasons Total Landscaping combines the slabs of the abandoned border wall and the graffiti-encrusted bathroom of Lafayette Square as the real monuments of an administration that cares about ugliness and pathetic facades. The photos that emerged from the event had the weakness of America’s worst cityscapes and the richness of an allegorical painting. The growling of the sound system cables lay sloppily on the asphalt, the emblem of every garbled message. At the center of it all is a little man behind a cheap lectern trying to convince a weary nation that this gim crack spectacle must never end. “
Despite the logistical sucker of the Trump campaign, Four Seasons Total Landscaping made the most of the spectacle. The company’s CEO, Marie Siravo, made it clear on social media that her company – which has now been catapulted into the public eye – is not for Trump but would have had the honor of holding a press conference for every presidential candidate. “We firmly believe in America and in democracy,” the company said in a statement. The day after the conference, Four Seasons unveiled a range of T-shirts, hoodies, stickers, face masks and other Gewgaws with the slogans “Lawn and Order” and “Make America Rake Again”. It also tweeted a picture of its now famous parking lot as a backdrop for Zoom meetings, and even hired a “freelance branding buff” to bolster its newfound social media fame.
But is the place even considered historical? According to the National Park Service, places can be included in the national register based on their architectural or historical importance, including association with notable people or events. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 provides that anyone can begin nominating a property for inclusion. An Old Slater Mill complex in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, was the first property to be added to the list.
Petition signatories argue that while the property cannot be classified as architecture of note, it should make it worthy of its worth given its inseparable link to Trump’s failed presidential campaign. “This is a truly historic place,” wrote James Cole, who signed the petition. “It marks the end of a stupid, incompetent, fascist regime in the most transparent way possible. What better sign of pure American charlatanism than this? “Even if the petition ultimately fails, Siravo should be named Time Magazine Person of the Year. We’ll be satisfied either way.