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By Robert Connors
Managing Editor 

Bok Tower Garden's Olmsted Landscapes Receive $500,000 Grant

National Park Service Announced the Award, Part of "Save America's Treasures" Program

 

Last updated 9/22/2022 at 1:56pm

Courtesy Bok Tower Gardens

The famous and beautiful gardens of the Mountain Lake Sanctuary were among the many outstanding landscapes created by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.

A $500,000 grant to Bok Tower Gardens for "Saving the Olmstedian Landscape Gardens at Mountain Lake Sanctuary – Lake Wales" has been announced by the National Park Service (NPS).

The grant is awarded "in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services," according to an accompanying press release.

"This project will complete the rehabilitation and reinvigoration of the original landscape design including the restoration and conservation work for the Exedra fountain located in the Western Outlook Garden," the press release said. Bok Tower Gardens will provide $933,464 in matching funds.

Bok Mountain Lake Sanctuary and Singing Tower is a National Historic Landmark designed by Frederick Law Olmstead Jr. for Edward Bok as a garden sanctuary for birds, wildlife, and humans.

Olmsted is also credited with authoring the mission and purpose of the National Park Service. Olmsted famously shepherded the McMillan Plan which reconceived the nation's capital, including the grounds of the Capitol building, the White House, the Tidal Basin, and Rock Creek Park.

Olmsted went on, at the behest of Edward Bok, to create a landscape plan for the entire City of Lake Wales in 1929-30. That plan, only partially competed at the time, has been taken up as a project by Lake Wales Heritage, a local not-for-profit which sees its completion as a multi-year undertaking and is raising funds for that purpose.

Robert Connors

Olmsted is credited for landscaping much of the city of Lake Wales in 1929-30. His designs covered about three square miles, but much was left unfinished after the Great Depression interrupted the work. Today Lake Wales Heritage has undertaken the completion of the project.

The grant is part of $24.25 million in Save America's Treasures grants being offered to fund 80 projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

"Through private and public investments, the Save America's Treasures program supports community-based preservation and conservation work on some of our nation's most important collections, artifacts, structures, and sites for the benefit of future generations," said NPS Director Chuck Sams.

Save America's Treasures, funded through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), provided $356 million to more than 1,326 projects between 1999 and 2020. Requiring a dollar-for-dollar private match, these grants have leveraged more than $500 million in private investment and contributed more than 16,000 jobs to local and state economies.

Buildings and collections which have previously received Save America's Treasures grants are not eligible to receive a second grant for the same project. This award of $24.25 million will leverage more than $69 million in private and public investment and support projects.

 

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