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East Lansing in Ingham County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

W.J. Beal Botanical Garden

 
 
W.J. Beal Botanical Garden Marker - Side 1 image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, July 19, 2017
1. W.J. Beal Botanical Garden Marker - Side 1
Inscription.
Side 1
Botany pioneer William James Beal was born March 11, 1833 in Adrian, Michigan. Taking up teaching after earning degrees from the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and the University of Chicago, he was named professor of botany and horticulture in 1870 at what was then the State Agricultural College.

Beal began to experiment with a wide variety of plants and in 1873 planted different forage grasses and clovers in small plots in the depression now known as Sleepy Hollow, across West Circle Drive between Beaumont Tower and the Music Building.

Likely inspired by Harvard's arboretum, Beal proposed one of the same caliber here: "For this we still hope that the day is not distant when it will be thought best to keep up at least one good (botanic) garden in the state." He expanded the garden into its present primary location, south of his clovers and grasses collection, in 1877.

Side 2
The newer plot was known as the "Wild Garden," although Beal's reports to the State Board of Agriculture eventually referred to it as "the Botanic Garden." It became a popular destination and was the site of Beal's famous 1878 work to hybridize corn. Inspired by the work of evolutionist Charles Darwin.

Beal added soil to the garden
Side 1 - Lower Left Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, July 19, 2017
2. Side 1 - Lower Left Image
Professor Beal in the Botanic Garden
through the late 1800s and early 1900s to protect it from flooding of the Red Cedar River. A stream that flowed into the Red Cedar River through the garden and Sleepy Hollow was enclosed and covered to serve the community as an underground sewer.

Beal retired in 1910 and directorship of the garden passed to Professor Henry T. Darlington until 1930. It was officially named the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden by the State Board of Agriculture in 1924.

Michigan State College, as MSU was known then, grew rapidly in the post-World War II years, necessitating a new library that displaced aging botany department greenhouses. President John Hannah instructed Campus Park and Planning director Harold Lautner to reinvigorate the botanic garden to fulfill Professor Beal's vision for a living laboratory and classroom. Under the leadership of campus landscape architect Milton Baron, the garden was redesigned in its current form of distinctive plant collection beds and plant assemblages along the garden slopes.
 
Erected by Michigan State University.
 
Location. 42° 43.856′ N, 84° 29.115′ W. Marker is in East Lansing, Michigan, in Ingham County. Marker can be reached from West Circle Drive 0.1 miles east of Kalamazoo Street. Touch for map. Marker
Side 1 - Lower Right Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, July 19, 2017
3. Side 1 - Lower Right Image
The Botanic Garden in 1897
is on the campus of Michigan State University, along a paved path on the north side of the Cedar River, between the IM Sports-Circle and the MSU Libraries building. Marker is in this post office area: East Lansing MI 48824, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Botanical Laboratory (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Spartan (about 600 feet away); Sleepy Hollow (about 600 feet away); Walter Adams Field (about 700 feet away); Michigan State University (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Rededication of the Beaumont Tower Bells (approx. 0.2 miles away); Alice B. Cowles House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dora Hall Stockman (approx. mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in East Lansing.
 
Also see . . .
1. W. J. Beal Botanical Garden. Wikipedia article (Submitted on August 10, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.) 

2. Timeline History of the Garden. History on the Botanical Garden's website. (Submitted on August 10, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.) 

3. William James Beal. Wikipedia article (Submitted on August 10, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.) 
 
Categories. Horticulture & Forestry
 
W.J. Beal Botanical Garden Marker - Side 2 image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, July 19, 2017
4. W.J. Beal Botanical Garden Marker - Side 2
Side 2 Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, July 19, 2017
5. Side 2 Image
Professor Beal with Peony Plant
W.J. Beal Botanical Garden Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, July 19, 2017
6. W.J. Beal Botanical Garden Marker
View looking north.
W.J. Beal Botanical Garden image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, July 19, 2017
7. W.J. Beal Botanical Garden
View of the garden looking to the east.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 10, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 10, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 77 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on August 10, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.
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