Boerner Botanical Gardens


The Botanical Gardens, a highlight of Milwaukee County’s nationally-recognized PARK system, are a product of Depression-era labor. CHARLES WHITNALL, a long-time member of the County Park Commission, pushed for the acquisition of park land in the 1920s. He envisioned such space as an escape from urban life.[1] The gardens were built in the park named for Whitnall and designed by landscape architect Alfred Boerner.[2] Once the New Deal was launched, the Commission quickly put its long-term plans for park development into action and secured federal relief funds.[3] Workers in the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration constructed the five original gardens.[4] Two years after Boerner’s death in 1955, the county board renamed the Gardens in his honor.[5]

Footnotes [+]

  1. ^ Harry H. Anderson, “Recreation, Entertainment, and Open Space: Park Traditions in Milwaukee County,” in Trading Post to Metropolis: Milwaukee County’s First 150 Years, ed. Ralph M. Aderman (Milwaukee: Milwaukee County Historical Society, 1987), 255-323.
  2. ^ Mary Alice Koehne, “A Spring of Flowers—Gardens Make Lots of Scents,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 26, 2002, p. 8.
  3. ^ Harry H. Anderson, “Recreation, Entertainment, and Open Space.”
  4. ^ Meg Jones, “They Planted Forests, Legacies of Depression-Era Workers Meet Young Counterparts,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 21, 2008, p. 1.
  5. ^ “Boerner, Wife of Park Official,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 4, 1995, p. 6.

For Further Reading

Anderson, Harry H. “Recreation, Entertainment, and Open Space: Park Traditions in Milwaukee County.” In Trading Post to Metropolis: Milwaukee County’s First 150 Years, edited by Ralph M. Aderman, 255-323. Milwaukee: Milwaukee County Historical Society, 1987.

Albano, Laurie Mench. Milwaukee County Parks. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007.

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