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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Palatka in Putnam County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Garden Center History

Ravine Gardens State Park

 
 
Garden Center History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, March 13, 2019
1. Garden Center History Marker
Inscription. T.B. Gillespie, a road contractor was the father of the concept for Ravine Gardens then owned by the City of Palatka.

1,648 men were employed by the Civic Works Council for this $150,000 project. Richard Forrester of Jacksonville was the landscape architect.

Wilson Cypress Company of Palatka was a member of the Southern Cypress Assoc. which was headquartered in Chicago.

Dan Ellis was publicity Director for this association, he offered free publicity for Ravine Gardens if some cypress construction was built on this site. He also offered the plans for a cypress log cabin that created a lot of interest at the Florida exhibit at the Chicago Worlds Fair.

It was decided to build an administrative building from these plans on a slightly larger scale, along with some other structures. Only two of these structures remain, the one at the entrance gate and this building. Lumber from the Wilson Cypress Company was donated and they were completed in 1934. The City of Palatka decided to build a civic center in 1955 and moved this part of the building to its present site, donating it to the Garden Club of Palatka. It is unknown what happened to the other wing of the building.

This structure was built by the WPA labor, the interior is paneled in pecky cypress, floors of heart pine. The fireplace is made
Garden Center History Marker (<i>wide view; marker visible just right of the front entrance</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, March 13, 2019
2. Garden Center History Marker (wide view; marker visible just right of the front entrance)
of native stone. The exterior is of cypress half logs. Furnishings include five of the original tables made from logs and cypress knees.

The building is owned and maintained by the Garden Club of Palatka, Inc. and is used as headquarters for their activities.

Modern utilities have been added, but the building has no air conditioning being kept as much as possible to conform to the period in which it was built.
 
Location. 29° 38.2′ N, 81° 38.776′ W. Marker is in Palatka, Florida, in Putnam County. Marker can be reached from Twigg Street east of South 18th Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is located within Ravine Gardens State Park, at the Garden Center building, northeast of the Visitor Center parking lot. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1600 Twigg Street, Palatka FL 32177, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. William Bartram Trail (a few steps from this marker); Ravine State Gardens (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Civil War and the Ravines (approx. 0.2 miles away); Suspension Bridges and Amphitheater (approx. 0.2 miles away); Palatka Waterworks
Garden Center (<i>cypress doors</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, March 13, 2019
3. Garden Center (cypress doors)
(approx. 0.3 miles away); Native Americans at the River (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Hammock (approx. one mile away); Putnam County WW II Memorial (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Palatka.
 
Also see . . .  Ravine Gardens State Park History. Described in the 1934 Florida Municipal Record as the "Nations Outstanding Civil Works Administration. project," the 59 acre ravines were planted with over 95,000 azaleas including 64 varieties, 11,000 palm trees and more than 250,000 ornamental plants. The gardens were maintained by the City of Palatka until the park was deeded to the State of Florida in 1970. One of nine Florida state parks with New Deal Era structures, Ravine Gardens is the only park with a formal designed landscape. The extensive fieldstone terraces, rock gardens and massive cypress building construction is typical of the era. (Submitted on March 14, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
Garden Center (<i>northeast corner</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, March 13, 2019
4. Garden Center (northeast corner)
Garden Center Interior (<i>stone fireplace; cypress furniture, walls and rafters</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, March 13, 2019
5. Garden Center Interior (stone fireplace; cypress furniture, walls and rafters)
Garden Center (<i>southeast corner; exterior is cypress half-logs</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, March 13, 2019
6. Garden Center (southeast corner; exterior is cypress half-logs)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 14, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 14, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 52 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 14, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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