SUNNYSIDE GARDENS — A street in Sunnyside Gardens will be renamed this weekend after the landscape architect whose designs shaped the leafy historic district.
The city will name 45th Street and Skillman Avenue after Marjorie Sewell Cautley, who helped design the neighborhood's plants, gardens, roads and courtyards, and was "one of the first generation of women" in her field.
"[She was] a landscape architect for a whole series of very important early garden city projects," said Dr. Thaïsa Way, an associate professor at the University of Washington who wrote a book about women in landscape architecture.
Way will help lead a walk through Sunnyside Gardens on Saturday following the unveiling ceremony for "Marjorie Sewell Cautley Way."
The street renaming is being organized by the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance and Council Jimmy Van Bramer's Office, and is believed to be the first street in the city named to honor a landscape architect, the groups said.
"[Cautley] is a prime reason why this neighborhood is historic, and for those who live here or visit, its garden environment continues to reward us as it continues to honor her," Herbert Reynolds of the Sunnyside Preservation Alliance said in a statement.
Built between 1924 and 1928, the 17-block Sunnyside Gardens district is made up of red brick homes which were designed around shared garden spaces, according to the Preservation Alliance's website.
Cautley, who died in 1954, also did the landscape design for the nearby Phipps Garden Apartments.
She believed that effective landscape design could improve the lives and health of the poor, especially by providing urban families with ample outdoor green spaces, according to Way.
A mother herself, she designed Sunnyside Gardens' shared interior courtyards in a way that would make it easier for women of the time to keep an eye on their children as they played outside, Way said.
"It was all designed to be safe," she said. "She really believed in the power of landscape to create and foster community."
The Preservation Alliance says that 45th Street, to be named for Cautley, is one of the great examples in the neighborhood of her planting designs.
Both sides of the street have London plane trees planted "not at curbside but within the front gardens of the homes, which has helped the trees to grow larger and healthier than street trees elsewhere," according to the alliance's website.
The street renaming will take place Saturday at the corner of 45th Street and Skillman Avenue starting at 1:30 p.m. Cautley's granddaughter is expected to attend the ceremony.