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Founders' Memorial Garden

Founders' Memorial Garden is a special memorial situated in Athens, Georgia. It was built to honor the founders of the first garden club in America, The Ladies Garden Club of Athens, organized in 1891. Over time, the garden also came to honor the men and women, who served in World War II. Planning of the Memorial Garden originated in 1939 when Hubert B. Owens recommended to the Board of the Garden Club of Georgia that such a garden be constructed. In 1941, the garden was developed on the North Campus of the University of Georgia by the University's Landscape Architecture Department and the Garden Club of Georgia. The Garden spreads over an area of 2.5 acres consisting of a formal boxwood garden, two courtyards, a perennial garden, and an arboretum. It also features two informal areas, one dedicated as a memorial to Johnnie Kyle Woodruff of Columbus, Georgia. The extensive botanical plantings and shrubs surround a refurbished residence house (Founders House) built in 1857. The house with its adjacent kitchen building and smoke house serve as a vital point for the garden. The Founders House, a rose-brick, Federal-style structure, was originally constructed as a home for professors at the university. It also served as a residence for the first Dean of Women, a chapter house for the Phi Mu Sorority, and an office for the School of Landscape Architecture beginning in 1938. In addition, the house was the headquarters for the Garden Clubs of Georgia until 1998, when the club moved into its new spacious headquarters building at the UGA State Botanical Garden. The house is now part of the facilities of the Young Harris Methodist Church. The smokehouse, which is now operating as a museum, was restored and furnished in keeping with the period of the house. It displays historical mementos, pictures, and a painting depicting the historical first meeting of the Garden Club. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the garden and old faculty residence are used often for various functions, including receptions, weddings, and concerts. The facilities are maintained and coordinated by the School of Environmental Design.