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Middlegate Japanese Gardens, ca.1924-2009

Former owner:
Hecht, Rudolph S 1885 - 1956
Landscape architect:
DeBuys, Rathbone 1875-1960
Provenance:
The New Orleans Town Gardeners, Inc
Physical description:
2 folders + 2 35mm. slides (photographs) + 134 digital images
Type:
Mixed archival materials
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1924
1924-2009
ca1924-2009
Topic:
Gardens
Local number:
MS040000
Notes:
Located on three acres in the town of Pass Christian, Mississippi is the site of Middlegate Japanese garden. Its original owners, Rudolph and Lynne Watkins Hecht were inspired by a 1924 trip to Japan and began cultivating their own Japanese-style garden upon their return. Middlegate was opened to the public in the mid-1930s. In addition to public visiting hours, the Hechts frequently held private family events and even hosted dignitaries from abroad in their sunken garden. Private family events included an annual Easter egg hunt, weddings, and 4th of July celebrations.
An azalea lined path at the entrance of the garden led to a Torri gate, revealing a Shinto temple and a jasmine covered arbor. A bamboo walk featured a fountain, two monumental Japanese stone lanterns, and Japanese sculpture. A small red, lacquered "wishing" bridge led to a blue-tiled tea house with a Buddha sitting on a lotus blossom elevated twenty feet in the air sittings opposite the bridge. A large sunken garden with a fountain, fronting a guesthouse included lotus blooms, shrubs and trees. Traditional Japanese garden features and furnishings included stone lanterns, a Torri gate, a Buddha shrine, a rickshaw, sculptures, bridges, and stone pagodas. Other garden features included gazebos, arbors, terraces, a guesthouse, two teahouses, and a bath house. Water features such as waterfalls, a swimming pool, lakes, fish and lily ponds, and reflecting pools were scattered throughout the grounds.
In August 1969, Middlegate Japanese garden suffered damage when Hurricane Camille struck the Gulf coast. In August 2005, Middlegate Japanese garden was extensively damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
The garden possessed a variety of trees, shrubs, and vines, both native and imported. Plantings included forsythia, boxwood, weeping willow, English ivy, white and yellow jasmine bushes, timber bamboo, giant bamboo, Japanese cherry trees, Japanese maple, Mediterranean fan palm, Japanese plum trees, magnolia trees, pine trees, peach trees, almond trees, pecan trees, live oaks, lotus blossoms, azaleas, and Camellia japonica.
Persons associated with the property include: Mrs. Lynn Boyd Watkins (former owner, 1911-1923); Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph S. Hecht (former owner, 1923-1961); Rathbone DeBuys (architect, 1920s-1930s), Obata Takumi (sculptor, 1735)
Summary:
This folder includes: photographs, correspondences, drawings, invoices, purchase orders, garden designs, newspaper articles, magazine articles, a thesis, and party invitations.
Publications:
This property was featured in Country Life magazine, March 1935, New Orleans States Item newspaper, November 1946, Around the Face of the Globe, published in October 1952, Pass Christian Discovered published in 1997, and a 2004 thesis, "Middlegate Japanese Gardens: Preservation, Private Property and Public Memory"
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Bamboo path

Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Japan
Date:
1924
1924-1962
Ca. 1924-1962
Topic:
Bamboo
Kimonos
Garden walks
Women
Gardens, Japanese
Gardens
Local number:
MS040049
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Main house

Photographer:
Farwell, Frank Evans
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1962
Topic:
Houses
Lawns
Trees
Garden walks
Gardens
Local number:
MS040001
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Guest house

Photographer:
Farwell, Frank Evans
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1962
Topic:
Guesthouses
Lanterns
Garden walks
Trees
Gardens
Local number:
MS040003
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Buddha shrine

Photographer:
White, Lynne
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): col., JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
2006
Ca. 2006 May
Topic:
Weeds
Hurricanes
Stairs
Buddhist shrines
Gardens
Local number:
MS040109
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Shower house

Photographer:
Haliday Costain, Harold
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Design elements
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1935
Ca. 1935 Mar
Topic:
Bathhouses
Stone lanterns
Streams
Cranes (Birds)
Shrubs
Gardens
Local number:
MS040085
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Fountain by Sunken garden

Photographer:
Farwell, Frank Evans
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1962
Topic:
Fountains
Camellias
Shrubs
Stone lanterns
Gardens
Local number:
MS040004
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Second (St. Louis) street entrance

Photographer:
Farwell, Frank Evans
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1962
Topic:
Streets
Entrances
Gates
Garden walks
Tiles
Gardens
Local number:
MS040012
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Wishing bridge over empty stream

Photographer:
Farwell, Frank Evans
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1962
Topic:
Sculpture
Bridges
Streams
Rocks
Gardens
Local number:
MS040017
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Bronze Warrior statue; Buddhist shrine

Photographer:
Farwell, Frank Evans
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1962
Topic:
Buddhist shrines
Bronzes
Statues
Bamboo
Bridges
Gardens
Local number:
MS040019
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Fountain, pagoda, and stone statue

Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1924
1924-1962
Ca. 1924-1962
Topic:
Lampposts
Stone lanterns
Streams
Bridges
Exedrae (site elements)
Gardens
Local number:
MS040027
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Thought to be original Middlegate house

Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1924
1924-1962
Ca. 1924-1962
Topic:
Houses
Benches
Trees
Pine
Gardens
Local number:
MS040022
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Sunken garden with steps leading to guest house post Hurricane Katrina

Photographer:
White, Lynne
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): col., JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
2006
Ca. 2006 May
Topic:
Weeds
Hurricanes
Stairs
Gardens
Local number:
MS040095
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Fountain, Sunken garden and guest house in background

Photographer:
Farwell, Frank Evans
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1962
Topic:
Fountains
Guesthouses
Sculpture
Lanterns
Stairs
Gardens
Local number:
MS040005
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: View towards the garden from second (St. Louis) street entrance

Photographer:
Farwell, Frank Evans
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1962
Topic:
Lanterns
Tiles
Plants, Potted
Trees
Shrubs
Gardens
Local number:
MS040013
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: View of garden from the northwest corner of tea house

Photographer:
Farwell, Frank Evans
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1962
Topic:
Lanterns
Lawns
Bridges
Sculpture
Streams
Gardens
Local number:
MS040014
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Sunken garden and guest house after 1927 construction

Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1927
1927-1962
Ca. 1927-1962
Topic:
Guesthouses
Shoji
Dogs
Decks
Stone lanterns
Chairs
Tables
Stairs
Gardens
Local number:
MS040023
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Stone pagoda (12 feet high) and stone statue

Photographer:
Farwell, Frank Evans
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1962
Topic:
Gardens
Pagodas
Statues
Shrubs
Local number:
MS040008
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Little girl on stone dog statue in front of guest house

Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1924
1924-1962
Ca. 1924-1962
Topic:
Girls
Animal sculpture
Gardens
Local number:
MS040058
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

[Middlegate Japanese Gardens] [photograph (digital)]: Bridge over the pool with teahouse in background

Photographer:
Farwell, Frank Evans
Physical description:
1 photograph (digital): b&w, JPEG
Type:
Digital images
Place:
United States of America, Mississippi, Harrison County, Pass Christian
Mississippi
Pass Christian
Middlegate Japanese Gardens (Pass Christian, Mississippi)
Date:
1962
Topic:
Gardens
Bridges
Ponds
Teahouses
Lampposts
Trees
Roofs
Local number:
MS040002
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
Visitor Tag(s):

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