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Blog / 2012 / May / Meet Our Neighbors: Garfield Park and Co

Meet Our Neighbors: Garfield Park and Conservatory

May 18, 2012 by Mark Cline

The 136 acres of gardens and greenways that constitute Garfield Park on Indy's southeast side have been a destination for recreation since it was little more than a forested pasture. Originally developed as Southern Park, the land received a new dedication in 1881 to honor the recently assassinated President Garfield.

Today, it is the oldest park in Indy.

While usage was scarce for the rest of the 19th century, amenities were added in the early 20th century that turned Garfield Park into the recreational and educational destination that it is today.

One of the most notable features of the park is the Sunken Gardens. Dedicated in October of 1916, the Sunken Gardens were designed by German landscape architect George Edward Kessler (yes, the boulevard guy). The gardens are open year round, but are best enjoyed when the tulips bloom in mid-April, the summer annuals blossom June through August, and the fall mums flower in September.

Another design of Kessler's that still stands today is the 10,000 sq. ft. Garfield Park Conservatory that sits in front of the Sunken Gardens. Home to koi ponds and tropical plants from around the world, the Conservatory is open all year and is a unique offering here in Indy. 

Also housed on the grounds of Garfield Park:  

Family Aquatic Center 
Arts Center 
MacAllister Center for the Performing Arts

Thanks to Indy Parks and the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, Garfield Park has been a city treasure for more than 130 years. 

Information for this post was gathered from the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development Division of Planning.


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