Petition calls for Four Seasons Total Landscaping to be named to the National Register of Historic Places
Should the Four Seasons Total Landscaping be listed on the National Register of Historic Places?
More than 2,000 people seem to believe this because they signed a petition recommending that the landscaping company’s home in northeast Philadelphia be recognized for the brief but significant role it played in the 2020 presidential election.
“We as a nation need to remember where the travesty of the Trump administration died with a whimper,” said change.org’s petition, headed “Add Four Seasons Total Landscaping” in the national register of historic places.
“That’s what I’m here for. I haven’t been so excited about a nomination since the Longaberger Basket, ”Lauren Manning, a Kansas City conservation planner, wrote on Facebook.
“This is a truly historic place,” agrees petition signer James Cole of South Bend, Indiana. “What better sign of pure American charlatanism than this?”
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani held a late morning press conference on Nov. 7 at the property at 7347 State Road in northeast Philadelphia. At the same hour, major media outlets declared Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Giuliani wanted to challenge the vote count in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, whose 20 votes in the electoral college brought Biden to the 270 votes he needed to be elected president.
Trump, who played golf in Virginia, had originally tweeted that morning to announce a “Lawyers News Conference Four Seasons Philadelphia”. 11:00 AM, ”which led many to believe he was referring to the upscale hotel in Center City, Philadelphia. Trump later sent out a second tweet making it clear that he meant Four Seasons Total Landscaping and journalists from around the world were on the site, including crews from Japan, Germany and the UK.
What they found was an indescribable industrial building next to the Fantasy Island adult bookstore and across from the Delaware Valley Cremation Center. Located off Interstate 95, the company is an independent garden center that sells mulches, weed killers, and other lawn care products, and provides landscaping for others, including Philadelphia International Airport.
The Trump campaign had a lectern with a red and white Trump 2020 sign in the back parking lot, but the ambiance was less than the president’s.
Just before Giuliani could speak, major television networks declared Biden the winner in Pennsylvania, and therefore the nation, prompting many journalists to rush to submit stories about it.
For those who stayed, Giuliani downplayed the importance of “all networks” in the election, claiming that dead people would vote in Philadelphia. His press conference was ultimately interrupted by yelling between Biden and Trump supporters gathering in the street and the honking of car horns in response to news that the election had been set for Biden.
The bizarre event has been mocked as the ultimate symbol of Trump’s failure to win a second term, including stinging criticism of the website. Observers noticed the germination of the place next to a porn store and called it the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company’s worker equivalent, the less than upscale environment for office workers in the office.
Some asked if Four Seasons Total Landscaping was a throwback after the luxury hotel posted its own tweet saying that “President Trump’s press conference will NOT be held at the Four Seasons Hotel” and that the landscaping company “has no relationship with the hotel Has”. Others said it was a wise choice because it sounded good and was in one of the few parts of Philadelphia that wouldn’t be completely hostile to Trump.
Corey Lewandowski, a Trump adviser who attended the event (who subsequently tested positive for COVID-19) tweeted that the election was intentional: “All of the great Americans in PA are using Four Seasons Total Landscaping,” he wrote. “You love this country and are American patriots. Many Thanks!”
The New York Times reported that the confusion was “not in the booking, but in a mangled phone game” in which Trump was told the name of the landscaping company but mistakenly thought it was the hotel and tweeted the wrong place.
There was exhilaration and the event took on a life of its own. Four Seasons Total Landscaping has attracted even more attention since then, as evidenced by the petition and other responses in print and social media.
Inspired by Giuliani’s venue, a charity first announced that they would be holding an 11-mile race called the Philly Fraud Street Run on November 29th, which would start and end at “the famous Four Seasons Total Landscaping.” “Lesser Known Four Seasons Hotel”.
But the organizers – a college web developer and comedian who have a podcast called Junk Miles with Chip & Jeff – had to make it a virtual race because there was so much interest and they had to avoid large crowds due to COVID-19. “Too Popular,” was a headline for the Philadelphia Inquirer. (Runners are now supposed to just run anywhere they want on November 28 or 29 and post photos online to prove it.)
A Reddit user developed a Lego-scale model of the scene that replaced the Trump 2020 sign on the lectern with LOSER 2020. Others created a fake book jacket for a potential bestseller: “Between the Dildo Store and the Crematorium, A Memoir by Rudy Giuliani” – and a prototype for an old historical marker with a suggested wording.
The company itself, a 28-year-old minority women-owned company founded by President and CEO Marie Siravo, made the most of the attention, saying on social media that it was not for Trump and it would have been an honor to accept one hold press conference for each presidential candidate. “We believe strongly in America and in democracy,” said the company.
The day after the press conference, the company capitalized on its new prominence by launching a range of T-shirts, hoodies and stickers with the slogans “Lawn and Order” and “Make America Rake Again”. A photo of the parking lot was also displayed on Twitter, which can be used as a background for Zoom meetings.
The next day, Monday, the company added face masks to further strengthen the fulcrum for selling apparel. Almost everything was sold out by Tuesday. “We are overwhelmed with the support we have received!” posted it on facebook. “You are all amazing!”
What helps to make an argument for designating a national register is the key role that both the event and the location played on the day of the election.
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.
“It’s so funny and so completely harmless and random and silly that it was like a collective exhale,” said Wendy Gordon, a Philadelphia native who now lives in Washington, DC, who bought a Four Seasons Total Landscaping T-shirt said NPR.
In reporting the event, quite a few journalists identified Four Seasons Total Landscaping, with its gravel lot and yellow and green hoses on the wall, as the place where the Trump presidency officially ended.
They said it was for sure total – the total opposite of the golden escalator in Manhattan that Trump descended on to announce he was running for president. New York Magazine, now the parent company of Curbed, called it “the golden escalator of 2020”.
“The name itself is great Trumpian, followed by that totally meaningless, grandiose modifier that suggests the company is dynamising mountains or, on a different scale, mowing down any body hair stain its clients want,” he wrote architecture critic Justin Davidson.
But the “dilapidated industrial zone” is even more symbolic than the name, Davidson continued.
“The end of an administration characterized by episodes of dirty sex, wishful thinking and mass deaths took place next to a dildo and porn shop called Fantasy Island and across from a crematorium. If you were looking for such an emblematic stage, how would you google it in the first place? “
“I can’t think of a clearer visual metaphor for the collapse of Trump’s presidency,” wrote Claire Lampen for The Cut.
“I saw Donald Trump’s presidency collapse at Four Seasons Total Landscaping,” wrote Richard Hall for the Independent. The Independent supplemented Hall’s report with video clips showing a Trump impersonator disguised as Uncle Sam. A Trump supporter in his underwear mocks “Sleepy Joe” Biden and a Biden supporter does a backflip in the street.
The signatories of the National Register petition have argued in comments that while the property doesn’t stand out as a particularly notable architecture, it is worth listing as a landmark given its links to Trump and the presidential campaign. Some have even suggested that Four Seasons Total Landscaping, the porn shop, and the crematorium be listed together as the National Register’s Historic District.
And if Four Seasons Total Landscaping doesn’t make it onto the national register, there may be other forms of recognition. Support is given to the company’s owner being named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Another option suggested by late night host James Corden: “I can’t think of a better location for the future Donald Trump Presidential Library. “