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Elizabeth Park 1904-1941

Former owner:
Pond, Charles
Landscape architect:
Wirth, Theodore
Meehan, Kathryn
J. Horace McFarland Company
City of Hartford
Physical description:
3 folders+ 55 photoprints, glass lantern slides and glass negatives; 6 postcards
Mixed archival materials
United States of America, Connecticut, Hartford County, Hartford
Elizabeth Park (Hartford, Connecticut)
Charles Pond, a wealthy businessman, bequeathed his estate to the City of Hartford in the late 1800s to be used as a horticultural park and named it after his wife, Elizabeth. In 1897, the Elizabeth Park Rose Garden was one of the first municipal rose gardens established in America. The rose garden was designed by Theodore Wirth, a Swiss landscape architect hired by the Olmsted firm, who finished training at London's Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. In 1904, the rose garden was constructed and planted. In 1912, the American Rose Society recognized its splendor and significance and requested that a half acre semi-circle be added and used as this country's first test rose garden. The garden was originally famous for its variety of Hybrid Perpetuals (eight original beds continue to bloom). By the 1960s the park became so neglected and weed filled that the American Rose Society would no longer recognize it as an accredited testing grounds. In 1977, the Friends of Elizabeth Park was formed and they hired a rosarian. A restored garden replanted with new vintage plants was installed. The American Rose Society reinstated Elizabeth Park as a test garden. Today, the garden has 15,000 rose bushes of about 800 varieties--mainly Hybrid Teas, Grandifloras, Floribundas, shrubs, polyanthas, and minis. In 1990, the All-American Rose Selections awarded Elizabeth Park the most outstanding garden award. Other gardens in the park include an annual garden; a perennial garden; an herb garden; a rockery; a Dahlia garden; and a large number of rare and unusual trees and shrubs.
This collection is made up of glass lantern slides, photo prints (color and b&w), glass plate negatives, and postcards. The images include the construction of the garden and early visitors. They also depict the pond and bridge; rose gardens; perennial beds; an aerial view; and expanses of lawn.
Persons and entities associated with the property and garden include: Charles Pond (former owner); City of Hartford and Town of West Hartford (present owners); and Theodore Wirth (park designer and supervisor, 1897).
The folders include catalog sheets and articles.
Garden has been featured in "New England Rose Gardens," Better Homes and Gardens
Garden has been featured in J. Horace McFarland, L.H.D.ed., The American Rose Annual (1916), pp.69-72; (1939), pp. 142-143
Garden has been featured in "Along the Garden Path; Elizabeth's Roses Are Still the Best," Victoria Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 6 (June 1994), pp. 35-36
Garden has been featured in Sydney Eddison, "Romance of the Old Rose," House Beautiful (June 1992)
Garden has been featured in Gitta Morris, "Restoration; New Elizabeth Park," Americana, Vol. 17, No. 1 (March/April 1989)
Garden has been featured in Knox Park Foundation, "Celebrating 100 Years of Elizabeth Park," The Green Thumb Print (Summer 1997)
Urban parks
Local number:
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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