Arts & Culture Community

Beacon Hill Garden Club Wins Founders Fund Award for “Longfellow Garden” at Old North

The project proposal to create a new “Longfellow Garden” courtyard at Old North Church received an important boost with a $30,000 Founders Fund Award through the Beacon Hill Garden Club!

The money will be used to remodel the garden and courtyard area adjacent to the Old North Church, at 193 Salem Street. The design proposed to enlarge the opening to the garden, move trees and plants to the edge of the garden in raised planters, and erect a large glass and water feature on which will be etched Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride”.

As part of its reconfiguration, the Washington Garden will be renamed as the Longfellow Garden. It is also worth noting that both North End / Waterfront neighborhood groups (NEWRA and NEWNC) unanimously voted to support the project.

Read more about the project at and in the following news release.

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Read the Press Release from Garden Clubs of America:

Beacon Hill Garden Club, Boston, has been named 2016 recipient of The Garden Club of America (GCA) Founders Fund Award.  The $30,000 award was announced during the GCA’s annual meeting here this morning.  The funds will be used to support a civic improvement project at the historic Washington Memorial Garden at the Old North Church in Boston.

The Old North Church is Boston’s oldest standing church and most visited historic site, attracting a half million visitors each year.  Beacon Hill Garden Club has been a partner of the Old North Church for more than 60 years, caring for the Washington garden and courtyard and coordinating several major redesigns of the space.

The club will use the funds to help reconfigure the garden and courtyard to create additional space where the tens of thousands of students who visit the church annually can learn more about their nation’s heritage.  The project will enlarge the opening to the garden, relocate trees and plants to raised planters incorporating seating at the garden’s edge, add plant identification and erect a large glass and water feature on which will be etched Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, Paul Revere’s Ride.  The reconfigured garden will be renamed Longfellow Garden and will serve as an outdoor classroom in which students can learn about the history and meaning of the poem.

The first phase of the project, repointing of the garden walls, is slated to begin this fall.  The Founders Fund award, combined with other grants, will help fund this phase, as well as plantings incorporating 18th century favorites, shade trees and other garden elements.

Two runners-up were awarded $10,000 each by the GCA.  Garden Club of Hartford, Connecticut, will use the funds to support historic Keney Park.  Magnolia Garden Club of Beaumont, Texas, will use the award to build a wetlands education center at Cattail Marsh.

The Founders Fund Award was established in 1934 to provide monetary awards to projects proposed by GCA-member clubs.  The award initially was endowed in memory of the GCA’s first president, Elizabeth Price Martin (Mrs. J. Willis) of Philadelphia, who served from 1913-20.  Generous gifts from clubs and individuals since have augmented the fund.

The first award of $700 was presented in 1936 for English-language publication of the oldest-known American herbal, the 1552 Badianus Manuscript, by Johns Hopkins Press.  Since then, Founders Fund winners and runners-up have saved thousands of acres of land and innumerable trees, restored historic landmarks, established civic plantings and conducted research and educational projects across the country.  Projects are nominated annually by garden clubs that are members of the GCA.  Individual members of all GCA clubs vote among three finalists selected by a committee of regional representatives.

The GCA is a nonprofit national organization composed of 200 clubs with some 18,000 members who devote energy and expertise to projects in their communities and across the United States.  Founded in 1913, the GCA is a leader in horticulture, conservation and civic improvement. (