The pioneering landscape architecture and city planning firm Hare & Hare had a profound impact on the development of numerous North Texas cities and others across the state. The principal partners of the firm were the father/son team of Sidney J. Hare (1860–1938) and S. Herbert Hare (1888–1960). Their partnership began in 1910 in Kansas City, Missouri, following the younger Hare’s return from Harvard University School of Architecture’s newly-created master’s degree program in landscape architecture, where he studied under Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. He completed the course work as a special student but did not earn an actual degree. The elder Hare was a mostly self-taught landscape architect who, prior to the formation of the partnership with his son, worked for the Kansas City engineer’s office, where he was introduced to the influential landscape architect George E. Kessler. In 1896 he began work as a cemetery superintendent before opening his own firm in 1902. Prior to his partnership with his son, Sidney had several Texas commissions, including Mount Olivet Cemetery in Fort Worth (1907). At the time of S. Herbert Hare’s death in 1960, the firm’s work in Texas encompassed hundreds of commissions for city, park, and college master plans; subdivision and individual residential projects; cemeteries; and institutional designs with more than 200 projects in Fort Worth alone.
Fort Worth’s Board of Park Commissioners began its thirty-five-year relationship with Hare & Hare in 1925 when the firm began work on a park master plan. Completed in 1930, the plan built upon Kessler’s 1909 park master plan by recommending a connected system of parks linked by waterways, boulevards, and scenic drives. Herbert Hare made frequent trips to Fort Worth as the park board’s consultant and for private commissions. In 1950 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted that his impact on the city’s “physical appearance is probably greater than any other man’s.” He returned the compliment by remarking that “I feel that I’m a true Fort Worth citizen.”
As Texas cities experienced substantial growth between World War I and World War II, Hare & Hare helped shape that growth. The firm’s designs for residential development incorporated curvilinear streets and open spaces to take advantage of a site’s undulating topography or to create visual interest where it might be lacking. Picturesque portals sometimes marked the entrances, and graceful trees provided shady canopies. Subdivisions included Wolflin Estates, Amarillo (1927); Highland Park West (1923), Dallas; Monticello (1922, 1927–29), Park Hill (1924–25), Ridglea (1927–30), and Colonial Hills (1935) in Fort Worth; Estes Park (1939), Graham; River Oaks (1924–28) and Braeswood (1928) in Houston; San Antonio’s Olmos Park Estates (1927); and Country Club Estates in Wichita Falls. During this same era, Hare & Hare created landscape designs for the residences of prominent North Texas individuals such as Alex Camp of Dallas; Fort Worth’s Amon G. Carter, G. W. Haltom, John P. King, and John Marvin Leonard; Joe J. Perkins and Lois Craddock Perkins of Wichita Falls; and Houston mayor Oscar F. Holcombe.
During the Great Depression, many of the firm’s public improvement projects were executed with the assistance of federal funding through New Deal programs or other government sources. These included Fort Worth’s Municipal Rose Garden (1933), Dallas’s Dealey Plaza (1939–41), and Hermann Square’s formal foreground for Houston’s new modernistic city hall (1939). The firm was hired as the landscape architects for the master planning team charged with transforming Dallas’s Fair Park for the Texas Centennial Exposition scheduled to open in 1936. Despite completing extensive work, the firm was not acknowledged on the master plan. Fort Worth implemented many of the improvements proposed in Hare & Hare’s 1930 park master plan. The firm’s work perpetuated segregation during the Jim Crow-era as it designed improvements for African American parks such as a swimming pool and bath house in Houston’s Emancipation Park (c. 1938). It also supervised a citywide school grounds improvement program for the Fort Worth Independent School District. Work ranged from sidewalks and fences to park-like treatments. Herbert Hare and partner Donald W. Bush included three of the plans in an article they wrote for The American School and University annual yearbook in 1941. In 1939 Hare & Hare provided site designs for low-income housing projects in Fort Worth and Houston.
Following World War II, the firm assisted numerous cities and institutions as they planned for post-war growth and expanding highway networks. They included the city of Fort Worth highway right-of-way (1945), McMurray College (Abilene) master plan, Haltom City master plan (1954), Fort Worth park master plan (1957), and a master plan for downtown Amarillo (1959).
After Herbert Hare’s death in 1960, the firm continued under the name Hare & Hare until 1980. Mergers over the next three decades resulted in a successor firm named Ochsner Hare & Hare, the Olsson Studio. This firm was still in existence in 2020.