In case you weren’t able to join us last night for the Garden Month lecture, “The Olmsted Garden,” here’s what you missed.
In the early 1900s, magnificent gardens surrounded the Riverside Avenue homes of one of Jacksonville’s most prominent families, the Cummers. The Olmsted Garden was part of the estate of Waldo and Clara Cummer, the brother and sister-in-law of Museum founders Arthur and Ninah Cummer. In the early 1930s, they hired the renowned Olmsted Bros. firm to complete a renovation of their grounds.
Their gardens were partially obliterated in the early 1960s, when both Cummer homes were demolished to make way for the new museum building, the Red Cross, and the former Barnett Building, which now houses the Museum’s interactive center, Art Connections.
Plans have been underway to restore these gardens to their original glory for many years. The completion of the Olmsted Garden, which has never been open to the public, nearly doubles The Cummer’s current Riverfront footage, and provides the Museum with yet another platform to discuss art, design, history, and environmental conservation, all through the use of our landscape. The Cummer Gardens, including the Olmsted Garden, were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.
Be sure to join us for the public opening in April!