• Rachel Peterson

How Kingwood's history paved the way for the Garden Gateway

Connecting our historic past to our growing future - a project many years in the making

The Dedication Ceremony marking the opening of Kingwood as a public garden was held on the south lawn in 1953.

The "Honoring the past - Growing the future" capital campaign is the first of its kind for Kingwood Center Gardens. In this post, we look back at Kingwood's history and how it inspired this incredible project.

In 1937, Charles Kelley King commissioned the National Recreation Association to make recommendations on how to utilize his estate following his death. His desire was to provide a wide array of quality-of-life enhancements to the citizens living Mansfield, the surrounding vicinity, as well as the entire State of Ohio.

Inspired by the commissioned report, Mr. King completed the final draft of a Trust Agreement in 1945 thus to be called Kingwood Center.

Growing the Gardens

Mr. King died in 1952 and Kingwood Center was dedicated and opened to the public in 1953 (shown above). From the beginning, Kingwood was not only the home to beautiful gardens but also hosted concerts, performances, lectures, art shows, and other cultural activities. Although not on the same scale as our upcoming changes, we evolved over the years as expectations and visitation grew.

Mr. King's greenhouse was more than quadrupled in size and an orangery was added at the greenhouse entrance. The original barn, chicken coup, and garage were converted to activity centers. A new service building complex was constructed, as was a new parking lot and entrance. In more recent years, we've seen the exciting renovation of the Carriage House along with an addition and much needed updates to the service building, now known as the Horticulture Services Building.

Now as we prepare to break ground on the Garden Gateway Center on April 4, 2019, make sure to stay tuned here on our Project Blog for news, updates, and more.

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