Through the Years

Succeeding years brought many companions to the little group named in the original Cultural Garden ordinance.

Following the Hebrew Garden came the German Cultural Garden, not far to the north, which, because of the removal of an heroic monument of Goethe and Schiller from Wade Park to the site chosen for the new link in the garden chain, immediately came into possession of an outstanding work of art as an imposing and dominating sculptural feature.

In an ordinance passed by the City Council, Feb. 17, 1930, the German Garden bore the name, German Poet's Garden. It is the mightiest poets and dramatists of Germany who occupy the key points in the German Garden today, namely, Goethe, Schiller, Heine and Lessing.

On August 25 of the same year, an ordinance was passed, adding the Slovak, Italian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian Gardens to the list.

A development of the depression era, the extension of Federal aid to public works through WPA, brought realization of a great Cleveland civic project with swiftness that had been undreamed of by the early pioneers and promoters. The labor costs under the Federal aid plan were defrayed by WPA and the various Garden groups were successful in raising funds for the cost of material, working under the general guidance of the city.

In rapid succession, new garden units came into being. On March 30, 1934, an ordina?nce was passed, establishing the Hungarian, Polish, Czech, and Jugoslav Gardens. To these were added the Rusin, Grecian, Syrian, American, Irish and American Legion Peace Gardens on Jan. 31, 1938.

The Federal contribution to the cost of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, during the period of WPA reached large proportions. This added to the city's contributions and to the large amounts expended by the individual Cultural Garden groups as sponsors in WPA projects and in the erection of statuary and plaques, has resulted in a total estimated valuation well in excess of $1,250,000.

Governor Frank L. Lausche, Addresses Gathering at Dedication of Lincoln Bust




Mantell Sun Dial-Shakespeare Garden

The art and skill of T. Ashburton Tripp, as landscape architect, and of Frank L. Jirouch as sculptor, served the Cultural Gardens in their earlier stages and later development as well.

At the time of the 25th anniversary celebration of the Cultural Garden Federation, which occurred in 1950, in connection with the Federation's One World Day, there were more than fifty monuments and plaques in the various gardens. Those done by Frank L. Jirouch, include busts of Lincoln, Mark Twain, Artemus Ward, John Hay, Alexander Duchnovich all the busts as well in the Czech Garden the bust of Madame Curie in the Polish Garden and bronze plaques and portrait reliefs on the entrance gate to the Ukrainian Garden and the Brotherhood Shrine erected by the B'nai B'rith, on the upper boulevard, between the hillside entrance to the Shakespeare Garden and the Hebrew Garden.

In 1936, additional aid was given the project with the creation of a City Division of Landscape Architecture. Under the general supervision of Hugo E. Varga, then director of Parks and Public Properties, a study was made of proposed as well as existing gardens and a unification plan adopted, to bind the units into one general scheme by a series of bordered paths.

This scheme was carried out, thereby enabling the gardens to tell their story with even greater clarity and effectiveness. In fact, so successful was this landscape undertaking, that many visitors including Viscount Halifax, British Ambassador to the United States noted that the Cultural Gardens appeared amid their setting of trees and shrubs, as a single garden, whose elements were mingled in a pattern of harmony and beauty.

Keenly alive to the unity motive of the Cultural Gardens, Guillaume Fatio, Swiss historian and representative of the League of Nations, visited the gardens in 1935 and planted a tree near the Superior Avenue entrance.

"Cleveland's Cultural Gardens are accomplishing in their community the same thing that the League of Nations is trying to do for the world," he said in his address.

The League representative who was in Cleveland under the auspices of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, to speak for the cause of the League of Nations, stated that the Cleveland Cultural Gardens would serve as a model in miniature for the landscaping of the grounds around the League's palace at Geneva, which were to be opened in the summer of that year.

Eighteen years after the visit of the Swiss historian, another visitor to the gardens, standing on the spot where the League's spokesman had delivered his message of world peace, said: "I will return to Switzerland in the summer for a visit and then I will tell my grandfather that his tree is growing well."

The speaker, Pierre C. Zoelly of Columbus, the grandson of the Swiss historian, had come to Cleveland to attend a meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians, and had arranged to visit the Cultural Gardens at the request of his grandfather, then eighty-eight years of age.

Through the years that had elapsed since Guillaume Fatio planted his tree, the Cultural Gardens had continued to tell their story of brotherhood and peace, loyal to the purpose of their founders and to the doctrines of the Nation and the City that had supported their creation and development.

Dedication of Jahn Memorial German Cultural Garden


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