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St. Leonard in Calvert County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Garden of Remembrance

 
 
The Garden of Remembrance Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, September 12, 2021
1. The Garden of Remembrance Marker
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The History of the St. Leonard Garden of Remembrance (1990 - Present)

The Original Garden
The Road and Garden of Remembrance began in the spring of 1990 as a project of a committee of the St. Leonard Area Citizens Association (SLACA). This committee, pioneered by Marie Andrews, envisioned a beautiful place of remembrance in the St. Leonard Town Center to honor and remember those who died at the nearby intersections of route 2/4, those who had contributed to St. Leonard as a community, and those who residents hold dear in their hearts. The intent was that a place marked by its lasting beauty and heritage would build a sense of respect and of caring for the community.

By July 1990, Marie Andrews aided by Barbara Cantor, Betty Gross, Ken Jackson, Pat Meagher, Mary Smolinski, and Nancy Zinn and created a concept where the "Road and Garden of Remembrance" would be placed both in front of the St. Leonard Volunteer Fire and Rescue Station, and on Calvert Beach Road. Fund raising began, planning was done, and on November 7, 1990, over 100 residents volunteered to plant trees and shrubs in a new garden in
The Garden of Remembrance Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, September 12, 2021
2. The Garden of Remembrance Marker
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front of the fire station, and to plant daffodils, which to this day still bloom in the spring, along the Calvert Road southern hillside across from the fire station. Additionally an avenue of 22 golden rain trees was also planted on the same north side of Calvert Beach Road as the fire station. "Books of Remembrance" were created wherein individuals could verbally honor a loved one, or note a family "milestone", and these books are brought to the Garden of Remembrance for viewing during public events.

The Present Garden
During 1993 two events took place that physically moved The Garden of Remembrance to its current location here on the grounds around and behind the Historic St. Leonard Polling House. In the fall of 1993 the historic Polling House, which had been restored in 1984 through the leadership of Mr. Vivian Marsh, was moved to this nearly one acre parcel of county land here on St. Leonard Road, route 765. Meanwhile, the St. Leonard Volunteer Fire and Rescue Station required expansion to property serve the area, and thus would need the ground occupied by the Original Garden of Remembrance. Therefore it was decided to move the Garden to the Polling House property in order to create the "St. Leonard Polling House Park and Garden of Remembrance". By November 1993 trees from the original Garden had already been moved and planted at their current location
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as had several varieties of Cherry Trees with their beautiful spring blossoms. Mary Alves, a garden designer who specializes in historic sites, then worked with Marie Andrews and her committee and County representatives to "plan" a new larger garden of history, beauty, and remembrance to complement the Polling House.

The Plan
The new, larger garden soon evolved into an Hourglass shaped walkway with several "themed" gardens placed along the path to add beauty and inspiration. The hourglass shape signifies the passage of time which is appropriate to the theme of the garden. A sundial in memory of Kirsten Russell was placed at the far end of the hourglass walkway to become the focal point of its main axis. The four "themed" gardens along the walkway include a garden for each of the presidential "First Ladies" who either were born near St. Leonard, Maryland, or who had family that colonized the St. Leonard, Maryland area. The plants chosen for these two gardens have a personal connection to these two women:

Mrs. John Quincy Adams (First Lady 1825 - 1829) (see photo and biography)
Mrs. Zachary Taylor (First Lady 1849 - 1850) (see photo and biography)

Other themed gardens found as one strolls around the hourglass path include: The Fragrance Garden at the far back of the property and the Butterfly Garden along the south
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western side of the hourglass walkway.

Eight wooden benches intended to provide restful observation stations were donated by local citizens, and were placed around the walkway with the small plaques installed by Ken Reid noting the names of the donors. Citizens have also purchased bricks with names of loved ones or other information to honor a family member, friend, or important family "milestone" events. These bricks have been placed in various walkways locations near the Polling house.

The Implementation
In early 1994 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) was signed between SLACA and the Calvert County Commissioners regarding the creation, implementation, and perpetual care of the Garden and Polling House grounds. This MOA made the Garden an "official" historic and beautiful park in the St. Leonard town Center conceived and implemented by volunteer citizens for the betterment of their community. The Calvert County Commissioners dedicated the Polling House Park and Garden of Remembrance on September 6, 1994, and a Community Dedication and Celebration Day was held on October 15, 1994. The Polling House and Garden of Remembrance continue to be jointly maintained by Calvert County and many Volunteer "gardeners".

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams
(Mrs. John Quincy Adams) First Lady 1825 - 1829

Louisa Catherine Johnson was born in London, England in 1775. The daughter of Joshua Johnson and a niece of Thomas Johnson, who became the first Maryland State Governor for whom the Patuxent River Bridge in Solomons, Maryland is named, Louisa had close family members who lived on the St. Leonard Creek shoreline. She was educated in England by tutors and at a convent school in France. "Education" for a lady then included playing pianoforte and harp, but the record shows that she also read widely. She met John Quincy Adams in 1795, when he was the youthful American Minister to the Netherlands. They married in 1797 in London.

Louisa Adams traveled with her husband as his political career advanced, while also mothering their five children. In 1802, when John Quincy Adams was elected to the U.S. Senate, he and Louisa move to Washington, D.C. A time in Russia and then London followed. In 1817 the family returned to Washington when Adams became Secretary of State for President James Monroe.

The role of "Campaign manager" for her husband's effort to be nominated president in 1824 was the next challenge for Louisa Adams. At that time, when Congress made presidential nominations, dinners and other social contacts with Congressional couples were part of the campaign process. On January 8, 1824, social historians note that she sent out 900 invitations to a dinner and dance in honor of General Andrew Jackson. Adams was elected president in 1825 but served for only a single term during which Louisa "served" as the First Lady.

During Adams' subsequent seventeen years of Congressional service (1831-1848) after the Presidency, both he and Louisa joined forces with the anti-slavery and women's rights movements. Louisa Johnson Adams left to the future her letters, diary entries, poetry and autobiographical notes.

Margaret Mackall Smith Taylor
(Mrs. Zachary Taylor) First Lady 1849 - 1850
Margaret Smith was born in September 1788 to Ann Mackall and former Major Walter Smith (veteran of the American Revolution), who lived on the shore of the St. Leonard Creek. Unlike Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams, Margaret's education was largely practical, a matter of learning how to help organize life on the family tobacco plantation.

Margaret met Zachary Taylor in 1809 while living with her married sister, Mary Anne Taylor Chew, in Louisville Kentucky. They were married in her sister's log cabin in 1810. Her practical background made her a fine partner during her marriage to army officer Taylor. She was challenged by living in the tents and log cabins that marked the frontier places to which Zachary Taylor was posted. She was also noted for her work with the sick and wounded. During these years she bore five daughters and a son, but two of the daughters died at a young age.

Margaret was noted for her calm lack of pretension and warm cheerfulness. She preferred a simple farm or frontier life to the complex one demanded by Washington politics or society. Therefore when war hero General Zachary Taylor was elected President in 1848, Margaret promptly asked her 24 year old married daughter, Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Taylor Bliss, to take over as the "Lady of the White House".

President Zachary Taylor "mysteriously" became very ill just after he led the cornerstone laying ceremony for the Washington Monument in 1850. He died several days alter, and Margaret Taylor soon left Washington to return south to be with her daughter Betty Bliss and son Richard Taylor where she quietly spent the remaining two years of her life.

Mrs. John Quincy Adams' Garden
Mrs. Adams' Memorial Garden reflects her cosmopolitan and elegant lifestyle both in the United States and in Europe by incorporating classic European plants such as the White Rose of York, England brought to this St. Leonard memorial garden from Quincy Massachusetts.

The Fragrance Garden
This Fragrance Garden located at the far back of the property contains lavender, thyme, lemon balm, two boxwood plants, and sweet alyssum, all surrounding a formal eighteenth century styled sundial (donated by the Russell Family).

The Butterfly Garden
The Butterfly Garden (donated by the Compassionate Friends) symbolizes the varied stages of life through the numerous physical changes of the life cycle of the butterfly, contains butterfly attracting plants, and is found along the south western side of the hourglass walkway.

Mrs. Zachary Taylor's Garden
Mrs. Taylor's Memorial Garden reflects her frontier heritage while representing a piece of the prairie featuring native American plants and grasses she would have been familiar with from nearly a lifetime of military frontier outposts.
 
Erected by K. Russell.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Horticulture & ForestryParks & Recreational AreasRoads & VehiclesWomen. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #05 James Monroe, the Former U.S. Presidents: #06 John Quincy Adams, the Former U.S. Presidents: #07 Andrew Jackson, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #12 Zachary Taylor series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1990.
 
Location. 38° 28.317′ N, 76° 30.343′ W. Marker is in St. Leonard, Maryland, in Calvert County. Marker is on St. Leonard Road (Maryland Route 765) 0.1 miles south of Calvert Beach Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5095 St Leonard Rd, Saint Leonard MD 20685, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Turning Point (a few steps from this marker); The St. Leonard Polling House (a few steps from this marker); St. Leonard Polling House and Garden of Remembrance (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Leonard Creek (approx. 1.7 miles away); Early Settlements (approx. 1.7 miles away); Brewhouse (approx. 1.7 miles away); Christ Church (approx. 2.3 miles away); One-Room School (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Leonard.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 14, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 14, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 40 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 14, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Nov. 30, 2021