American Colonial Cultural Garden

The American Colonial Cultural Garden is planted with native varieties of trees, shrubs and vines to create a forest in the gardens. It also contains a number of busts made by Frank Jirouch.

On May 24, 1935, the Parent Teachers Association Council presided over the dedication of what was then known as the American Cultural Garden. They were aided by numerous Cuyahoga County schoolchildren and their mothers who sang folk songs. Those same schoolchildren also collected pennies toward the purchase of a bust of Mark Twain. The bust was finally unveiled on December 6th, 1935, the 100th anniversary of his birth. On July 23, 1939, the B'nai B'rith presented the garden with a bust of John Hay; secretary to Abraham Lincoln, Secretary of State from 1898-1905 and husband of Clara Stone of Cleveland. On August 2, 1948, The Plain Dealer presented a bust of Artemus Ward (pen name of Charles Farrar Browne); noted lecturer, humorist and member of the Cleveland Plain Dealer staff in 1859, to the city. In later years the Tuskeegee Airmen Alumni association of Cleveland donated a bust of educator, author, orator and political leader Booker T. Washington. The Pearl Harbor and Space Exploration Monuments were also added to the Garden.

Audio

"A Great Hope For a 7th Grader" Matthew Young, a middle school science teacher at Hawken School, describes the enthusiasm with which his students approached their role as stewards of the American Cultural Garden Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
Meeting the Neighbors Matthew Young, a middle school science teacher at Hawken School, describes introducing himself and his students to the community upon taking over stewardship of the American Cultural Garden. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

Abraham Lincoln The bust of President Abraham Lincoln was dedicated at the American Garden on July 22, 1950. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
Twain Bust, Dec. 1935 A couple pose in front of the bust of author Mark Twain on the day of its unveiling, December 6, 1935. Schoolchildren from around Cuyahoga County donated pennies to help pay for the cost of the bust. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
John Hay Memorial, 1939 Dignitaries gather around the flag-draped bust of statesman John Hay on the Cleveland Mall. The memorial was installed at the American Colonial Cultural Garden in July 1939. The inscription on the bust reads: "Companion and biographer of Lincoln, ambassador to Great Britain, Secretary of State under McKinley and Roosevelt, author, journalist. Presented by B'nai B'rith on the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Hay, in recognition of his championship of the cause of the persecuted, and his merited distinction as a statesman of good will." Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
Vandalism, Sep. 1966 The bust of Artemus Ward is covered in graffiti in this photograph from September 9, 1966. The artwork in the American Cultural Garden was a target for vandals as the neighborhoods surrounding the Cultural Gardens dealt with escalating racial tensions in the decades following World War II. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
Booker T. Washington A bust of Booker T. Washington was installed in the American Colonial Cultural Garden in 1970. Vandals often targeted this bust in the years following its unveiling. Image courtesy of The Center for Public History + Digital Humanities

Location

The garden is located north of Superior Ave on East Blvd near its intersection with E 98th St.

Metadata

“American Colonial Cultural Garden,” Cleveland Historical, accessed October 5, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/125.