It's official: Lakewold Gardens is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lakewold Gardens was added to the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation in December. The City first brought news of the local landmark’s nomination late last year.
The Suburban Times reported the garden’s acceptance to the National Register over the weekend.
The 10-acre complex – which is canvassed with rare and native plants, State Champion trees, more than 900 rhododendrons, 30 Japanese maples and a stunning statuary – is also recognized by the Washington Heritage Register.
Lakewold Gardens have been a staple of life in Lakewood for more than a century, even before they made their first headline in the Tacoma Daily Register in 1913. Back then, the gardens were owned by the Alexander family, the land’s original buyers.
George Corydon and Eulalie Wagner purchased Lakewold in 1938. Eulalie Wagner shaped the gardens into the form that we recognize today in 1958, with the help of famous landscape architect Thomas Church. The two would spend decades refining Lakewold to draw people to the garden.
The gardens are broken into formal and informal outdoor “rooms”, a reflection of European landscape architecture at the time. Visitors can still see Eulalie. Wagner’s influence in the gardens’ naturalist displays, especially her passion for Rhododendrons.
Lakewold Gardens features over 250 species of Rhododendrons, Japanese maples and other unique trees, shrubs and groundcovers from around the world.
Eulalie Wagner donated the gardens to the Friends of Lakewold in 1987, nine years after her husband’s death. According to the Lakewold Gardens website, she wanted to ensure the gardens were cared for: "As we become more and more city creatures, living in manmade surroundings, perhaps gardens will become even more precious to us, letting us remember that we began in the garden.”
Lakewold Gardens officially opened in 1989, two years before Eulalie Wagner passed away. Today, her wish lives on. More than 7,500 visitors come to see the gardens every year. Another 4,000 visitors come for weddings and other special occasions.
Learn more about Lakewold Gardens at their website: http://www.lakewoldgardens.org/ You can also purchase the book “Lakewold: A Magnificent Northwest Garden” or their documentary “Where the Blue Poppy Grows” online or at the gardens.
For more about historic preservation and what it means to be listed on the Washington Heritage Register, check out their website at http://www.dahp.wa.gov/washington-heritage-register .