Sunday, May 8, 2016

Cultural Gardens Part I (5/7/2016)

Saturday, May 7, 2016
The Cultural Gardens of Rockefeller Park began with Leo Weidenthal, a reporter with the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Shakespeare devotee, who had the idea of creating a Shakespeare Garden in Cleveland, which was dedicated in 1916 in conjunction with celebrations throughout Britain's sphere of colonial influence, marking the tercentenary/300th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death.
Weidenthal (at this time, editor of the Jewish Independent and community activist) founded the Cultural Gardens League in 1926, as a federation of nationality groups coming together "to foster the spirit of goodwill and fellowship among men, to weld harmony among Clevelanders of diverse origin, and to promote good citizenship." They succeeded in getting the city to designate the section of the park including the Shakespeare Garden as Poet's Corner, and dividing the hillsides into 15 separate garden areas for different cultures. Poet's Corner was also subdivided to add a Shakespeare Theater carved into the hillside and the Hebrew Garden.
The time of the Depression was a boost to the gardens as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) funded much of the labor and materials.
In 1952 the League changed its name to the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation (CCGF), but the 1960s and 1970s led to a decline due to community apathy and vandalism. By the 1980s, the CCGF had lost control over the park.
In 1981, a delegation from Cleveland's sister city of Taipei decided to make a gift of a Chinese Garden, which was constructed in Taipei and shipped to Cleveland in 1984. However; it sat in a warehouse since the local delegation has misgivings about the proposed location. The Chinese Garden ended up being installed in Wade Park in 1985.
After the Cold War there was an influx of immigrants from the former Soviet states, and also from India, and renewed interest in the Cultural Gardens was seen.
Today started at the south end of Rockefeller Park to visit the Cultural Gardens.
Cultural Gardens sign at the
Wade Park Avenue Bridge
Future Lebanese Cultural Garden
India Cultural Garden (2005)
"Welcome" written in English and the
15 major languages of India
10-foot, 1 ton sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi
(2006) by Gautam Pal in Calcutta/Kolkata,
with one of six Heritage Pillars (2007)
The Heritage Pillars provide information on the subjects of Artistic Traditions, Connections, Leadership, Legacy, Modern India, and Universal Brotherhood.
Finnish Cultural Garden (1958, rededicated in 1964)
Bust of Johan Vilhelm Snellman (1964 replacement),
Finnish philosopher and statesman
Bust of Jean Sibelius, Finnish composer
Tribute to Aleksis Kivi, Finnish author
Bust of Elias Lonnrot,
Finnish physician and folklorist
Bust of Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1964 replacement),
national poet of Finland 
Estonian Cultural Garden (1966, remodeled 2010,
designed by Herk Visnapuu)
with a boat-shaped planter indicating the
importance of the Baltic Sea 
Estonian Inscribed Flame (1966) by
Clarence E vanDuzer; in 2012 a bronze flame
replaced the long missing original wooden flame
Latvian Cultural Garden (2006),
designed by Albert Park/Al Parker and Kalvis Kampe
Kent in Maras Akmens (2006) by
father and son Girts and Gaits Burvis,
depicting a woman in traditional costume
Detail of design on Maras Akmens
Latvian sculpted rock
Latvian rock sculpted with the namejs design, by Gaits Burvis
German Cultural Garden (1929)

Memorial Gate (1937) by Herman Dercum under supervision of
Carl Bröml, leader of the Federal Arts Project;, the gate
honors artist Albrecht Dürer, composer Johann Sebastian Bach,
and soldier, humanist and writer Ulrich von Hutten
Alexander von Humboldt,
German naturalist and explorer
Gotthold Lessing, German writer and critic;
the 1929 bust of Lessing is missing
Goethe & Schiller (cast in 1857,
dedicated in 1907 in Wade Park,
rededicated at this location in 1929) (5/20/2016)
The statue of poet-philosophers Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Friedrich von Schiller is based on the 1856 original in Weimar, Germany, by Ernst Rietschel of Dresden.

Bearded Iris (5/20/2016)
Friedrich Froebel Fountain, originally located in the
Garden of the Archbishop of Salzburg
Bust of Johann Sebastian Bach (1965),
German composer
Bust of Friedrich Jahn,
Father of Gymnastics
Hungarian Cultural Garden (1934, formally 1938)
The fountain in action (5/20/2016)
Szekely Kapu/Gate/fashioned after those in the Szekely region
of Hungary, a gift of the Verhovay Insurance Association
Ferenc/Franz Liszt Pillar (replacement
of 1936 bronze relief plaque)
Hungarian curving wall
View of lower Hungarian Cultural Garden
Bust of Endre Ady (1954 by Mihaley DeKatay),
Hungarian poet, writer, and journalist
Joseph Remenyi Pillar (replacement of damaged
1958 relief plaque), Hungarian writer who
taught Literature at Case Western Reserve University
Bust of Imre Madach (1950 by Alexander Finta),
Hungarian poet, writer, lawyer, and politician
Hungarian Cultural Garden as seen from MLK Jr Drive
Geometric designs in walkway
Hungarian Legacy Wall (2013) with etched paragraphs on
History, Writers, Art & Music, Scientists & Inventors,
Magyar Nobel Laureates, and Famous Hungarians
Croatian Cultural Garden (2012)
Immigrant Mother (dedicated 2012, cast from
original 2005 sculpture by Joseph Turkaly)
Croatian Glagolitic script
Croatian water course as a reminder of the
Slapovi Krke/waterfalls of Krka National Park, Croatia
The water is running on another day (5/20/2016)
From above, you can just about tell the plaza is
in the shape of a heart, a reminder of the Licitar,
a decorated heart-shaped honey gingerbread
Krstionica/Baptismal font of Prince Viseslav (replica)
Gateway to Shakespeare Garden (1925), a memorial to
Marie Leah Bruot, a Cleveland Central High School
teacher who introduced many to Shakespeare's works
British Cultural Garden (1916) began as the Shakespeare Garden
with plants mentioned by William Shakespeare in his works,
including a mulberry tree from a cutting from a tree planted by
Shakespeare in Stratford, trees planted by various British notables
including Irish poet William Butler Yeats, and
roses from "Juliet's tomb" in Verona
Apparently large urns contained ivy and flowers planted by
other British notables, including Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree (his name!),
an English actor and theater manager
Bust of William Shakespeare
(by Frank L Jirouch)
Sir Rabindranath Tagore, the "Shakespeare of India,"
also planted an urn with ivy and flowers in 1916
A plaque (1934) for Alfred Lord Tennyson, Poet-Laureate
This used to be a Byzantine sundial,
a 1917 gift from Shakespearean actor Robert B Mantell,
born in Scotland, did most of his work in the U.S.
B'nai Brith Brotherhood Shrine of the Four Chaplains (1953), which is missing a bronze relief plaque 
A row of boulders with missing plaques; most of
the persons who were commemorated here are included
in the new plaques in the Hebrew Cultural Garden
Hebrew Cultural Garden (1926, designed by B Ashburton Tripp);
Poet's Corner, a rock garden with missing plaques of
inscriptions from Hebrew literature 
To see an original plan by B Ashburton Tripp, click here.
Georgia marble Wisdom fountain sits on
seven pillars, suggesting the seven days of creation
It is hard to tell that the Wisdom Fountain sits
in a plaza shaped like a Star of David (5/20/2016)
The Hebrew Cultural Garden was at first a monument
to the Zionist movement; David Ben Gurion,
Golda Meir, and Theodore Hertzl*
The starred names were those who originally had relief plaques.
Zionists Chaim Weizmann,
Natan Anatoly Sharansky, and Henrietta Szold*
Steven Spielberg (director, filmmaker),
Elie Weisel (Romanian author, Nobel Peace Prize
recipient), and Emma Lazarus* (poet who
wrote New Colossus, the poem inscribed
on the Statue of Liberty)
Shalom Aleichem Rabinovich (Ukrainian author and
playwright), Chaim Nachman Bialik* (Russian writer and
Israel's first National Poet), and Shmuel Yosef Agnon
(Polish author, Nobel Prize for Literature)
Moses Maimonides/Rambam* (Spanish scholar
and Jewish philosopher, codifier of Jewish law),
Abba Eban (South African-Israeli orator and diplomat),
and Ahad Ha-Am/Asher Ginsberg* (Russian
essayist and founder of Cultural Zionism)
Albert Einstein (German physicist, Nobel Prize
in Physics), Sigmund Freud (Austrian neurologist
and father of psychoanalysis), and Jonas Salk
(American physician and researcher,
developed a vaccine for polio)
A pathway shaped like a lyre in the Musician's Garden
Hebrew Cultural Garden setting
Marc Chagall (Russia-French painter),
Leonard Bernstein (American composer and
conductor), and Itzhak Perlman (Israeli-
American violinist and conductor)
The American Cultural Garden was dedicated in 1935 and had a bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Frank L Jirouch and paid for by pennies collected by schoolchildren. In 1939, B'nai B'rith presented a bust of John Hay (Secretary of State) and in 1948, the Cleveland Plain Dealer presented a bust of Artemus Ward (pen name for humorist Charles Farrar Browne). Later the Tuskegee Institute donated a bust of Booker T Washington (educator and orator). We only found Mark Twain.
Bust of Mark Twain by Frank L Jirouch
Dedicated to the Memory of the Fallen Heroes of
Pearl Harbor, United Spanish War Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars,
Disabled War Veterans, American Legion, Polish Legion
American Veterans, Jewish War Veterans USA,
Army and Navy Union
On another day, we found the American Legion Peace Garden of the States (1936, rededicated 1939).
A bust (1943) of George Washington
This plaque indicates that soils from
historic shrines in the United States have been
intermingled, in which trees were planted for this garden
And more of the American Cultural Garden:
American Cultural Garden (1935)
Bust of Booker T Washington,
donated by Tuskegee Institute
Plaque of the Gettysburg Address
The Lincoln Terrace
Lincoln pedestal (missing bust) that is
a memorial to Peter Witt, a local
politician who also designed
a streetcar that took his name
Syrian Cultural Garden (2011, designed by
Raghda Helal and Nagham Nano, students
at Damascus University)
Replica of Syrian Arch of Triumph from Palmyra,
and the Roman amphitheater in Bosra
A typical Arab-style fountain sits within a 10-point star,
a design often found in Syrian courtyards
Bust of Nizar Qabbani (2015 by Leila Khoury),
Syrian poet
Syrian Cultural Garden showing black granite "pillars" with text
on the subjects of Syria Cradle of Civilization,
Syria Greco-Roman Era, Legacy of Arab Culture,
Syria Christian Era, Syria Arabic-Islamic Era,
Syria Modern Era, and Syrian Immigration to the United States
Irish Cultural Garden (1939, designed by Donald Gray, re-dedicated 2009)
with a replica (2010) of St Patrick's Well fountain in Dublin
as a memorial to Fred A Lennon, a local philanthropist
Lennon fountain (5/20/2016)
The pillars for seven "literary giants" were added in 2009.
John Millington Synge, playwright and poet
Behind the above pillar you can see the Crabapple Tree Allée, which have plaques dedicated to the donors.
Malus sp/Crabapple tree blossoms
Sean O'Casey, dramatist and memoirist
William Butler Yeats, poet,
Nobel Prize for Literature
Edna O'Brien, novelist, poet,
and playwright
Samuel Beckett, novelist and playwright,
Nobel Prize for Literature
George Bernard Shaw, playwright and
novelist, Nobel Prize for Literature
James Joyce, novelist and poet
There are five additional pillars, perhaps they are only literary subgiants, like the stars.
Thomas Moore, poet and songwriter
Padraig Pearse, author and poet
Brendan Behan, poet, novelist,
and playwright
Seamus Heaney, poet and playwright,
Nobel Prize for Literature
Frank O'Connor, author of
short stories and memoirs
Bust of Victor Herbert (1960),
composer and conductor
(the bust has gone missing)
Brynne was the one to notice the Celtic cross design of the garden
"Cleveland's own Shannon River"
(Must be a huge joke for the Irish!)
Hiked back to Wade Park to find the Chinese Cultural Garden.
Chinese Cultural Garden (1985),
a gift from Cleveland's sister city of Taipei in Taiwan
The platform, marble railings, and
carved carriage ramp (this one is blocked!)
are reminiscent of the Imperial Palace in Beijing
Statue of Confucius with his hands
crossed as a sign of respect
The base of the statue has bas-reliefs from the life of Confucius
Chinese garden stools
Next: Cultural Gardens Part II.


Duane Dietz said...

I've been researching B. Ashburton Tripp's career and came across your site. You might be interested in Tripp's original renderings for the Italian and Hebrew Gardens...both were presented during the Cleveland Museum of Art's annual May Show. go to and search under Tripp's name.

Duane Dietz

Jax Stumpes said...

Thank you for this information!