Municipal Rose Gardens – Botanic Gardens

Following the recommendations of the 1907 Kessler plan for public park development, the City of Fort Worth purchased in 1912-13 the swampy area south of Trinity Park now covered by the Botanic Garden. Improvements were delayed until well after the issuance of a $300,000 bond in 1925 to develop a plan for parks; Hare and Hare, consulting landscape architects of Kansas City, Missouri, were retained by the City to create the plans. Several phases of evolution took place at the site, then called Rock Creek Springs Park. One phase of Hare and Hare’s plans included a municipal rose garden as the centerpiece of an arboretum. Cooperation between city, county and federal officials brought the first Depression relief project to Fort Worth. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation loaned $340,000 in 1933 to fmance the project, which was completed by the Civil Works Administration the following year. Construction of the rose gardens employed 750 stonemasons, carpenters and unskilled workers. In a design inspired by the axiality of Renaissance garden design, the formal garden was constructed as a main shelter on a hill with terraces and waterworks cascading down to a smaller shelter far to the east, on the bank of Trinity River. The geometric layout also features a north-south secondary axis of a long pergola with trellises. Shelters, walkways and water courses are of Palo Pinto County sandstone; details are of cast stone. Fifteen thousand rose bushes have been planted under the sponsorship of the Tarrant County Rose Society; a number of plants were donated by the relief workers themselves. The Municipal Rose Garden was dedicated October 15, 1933; in 1935 the park name was changed to Fort Worth Botanic Garden. The long east-west axis between the park shelters is now bisected by University Drive. When Hare and Hare drew their plan for the garden in 1930 the current road did not exist. Constructed in 1936-38 as Burleson Street, the name of the roadway was later changed to University Drive. The rose gardens and park shelter remain in excellent condition, and continue to be enjoyed by the people of Fort Worth. The complex appears to qualify for National Register listing.

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