Land donated: the beginning
I thought it was about time someone did something for the ol’ town. So many take so much from Dubuque, but leave so little behind.”
-JACKSON (MAC) MARSHALL
In 1975, “Mac” Marshall (1894-1977) donated 51 acres of land — 36 acres of meadow and about 15 acres of walnut timber — to the City of Dubuque with three stipulations:
Tri-State Garden Club formed
In 1976, Jim Schwarz formed the Tri-State Garden Club with the purpose of establishing a botanical garden in Dubuque and learning about gardening together. Also, at that time, Frank Hardie had an interest in establishing an arboretum. A collaboration began.
City leases 16 acres of land
The Dubuque Parks Department initially leased 16 acres of Marshall Park to seven Tri-State Garden Club members, with each member contributing $20. These visionary volunteers started it all by planting the trees, bushes and plants, and erecting fences and arbors. It was to be an all-volunteer and all-plants-donated destination.
Jim Schwarz, Gene Heinemann, Mel Gottschalk, Ambrose Hoeger, Marlyn Bausman, Jack Frick, Frank Hardie
At the time, there were just two structures on the property:
The Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens had begun.
Nurseries donated plants + farm renovation
Volunteers began to build and plant
Greenhouse added + more plantings
A greenhouse was added on the south wall of the Visitors Center. Jim Schwarz (in charge of growing) donated the greenhouse.
More plantings were added:
More plants and the first wedding!
The first wedding was held in the Arboretum.
Visitor Center created
After completely renovating an old barn into a visitor center for guests, a new foundation was poured in 1985, and a porch, offices, restrooms, and a meeting room were created. Ron Jungers designed and spearheaded this construction and went on to build the wedding gazebo and round shade structure in the Hosta Garden.
First burnoff + more plantings
Waterfall + more plantings + technology
Greenhouse + trellises + deck + porch
Amphitheater + Music in the Gardens + Veterans Memorial
Sounds + an Herb Garden + pools + water lines + a greenhouse
Japanese Garden planning + a Butterfly Garden + the Herb Society of Dubuque
Jim Grady spearheaded this garden.
Japanese Garden construction began
Two “firsts”: a conifer collection + HerbFest
A second Conifer Collection was added + more construction
Another storage building was constructed
The Tri-State Garden Club erected a 24’ x 24’ storage building in the northeast corner of the grounds.
Roses + McKay Memorial Plaza
The Visitor Center was renamed
First Children’s Party + Koi Pond filled
A bridge + roads + a garden
The Formal English Garden was created
The concept of the English Garden was developed in 2001 as a tribute and memorial by the children of Georgette (1913-1989) and Frank Hardie (1911-2000), first president of the Dubuque Arboretum. The English Garden was completed and dedicated in July 2004.
The Memorial Walkway was created
A new memorial brick walk was extended from the parking lot to the Herb Garden.
English Garden completed + new president
The entrance gate received a makeover
The stone pillars and metal arboretum sign were erected at the entrance gate.
The Garden of Eat’n was created
Some call it a “food forest,” this aptly-named garden (Garden of Eat’n) is an educational display of a sustainable garden … demonstrating foods we can grow beautifully in our own backyards.
The Heinemann Center was remodeled
With the most recent Heinemann Center remodeling, the building (which houses the the Visitor Center, the administrative offices, and the Gardens Gift Shop):
Conifer Collections + Garden added