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About Founders Memorial Garden & House

About Founders Memorial Garden & House

The gardens on the property were conceived, designed, and installed during the tenure of Hubert Owens, the founder and first dean of the landscape architecture program at the university during the 1940s. Financial support for the installation of the Gardens came from several individual garden club organizations around the state. Today, the Garden is maintained by the College of Environment and Design, and serves as a teaching resource for the College as well as for other units across the campus.

The Founders Memorial Garden commemorates the twelve founders of the first American Garden Club, the Ladies Garden Club of Athens, which was founded in 1891. With funds raised by the Garden Club of Georgia, Dean Hubert B. Owens, his staff, and students of the Landscape Architecture Department designed the garden. The layout of the two and one-half acre series of gardens, the grounds of the former Headquarters House for the Garden Club of Georgia, consists of a formal boxwood garden, two courtyards, a terrace, and a perennial garden as well as two informal areas. The rose-brick, Greek Revival style house was built in 1857. The house and garden are on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Georgia Register of Historic Places.

The garden is also the home of the Robert J. Hill Courtyard. Professor Hill taught landscape architecture at UGA for 30 years, and served as the director of the garden for 20 years. The courtyard, tucked between the kitchen house and smokehouse in the center of the Founders Garden complex, is the first piece of UGA property in CED stewardship to be approved for naming by the Board of Regents.

Built in 1857, the historic Greek Revival house with its adjacent kitchen building and smokehouse serves as a pivotal point for the Founders Memorial Garden. Originally built as a faculty residence, the house served as student housing and dining hall from 1898 to 1919; as the residence for the first Dean of Women, Mary Lyndon, in the early 1920s; as home to the first campus sorority, Phi Mu, in the late 1920s; and home to the Department of Landscape Architecture during the 1940s and 1950s. The Garden Club of Georgia occupied the house as its state headquarters from 1963 to 1998.