Difference between revisions of "Sunken Garden"

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Revision as of 16:04, 9 September 2019

Sunken Garden

Constructed: 1935-36

The Sunken Garden is located to the rear of the Wren Building, running southwest, on the campus of the College of William and Mary.

Chronology of Establishment

1919-23--designed by College Architect Charles M. Robinson, working closely with President Julian A.C. Chandler. Design reportedly based on Wren works seen in England, especially Chelsea Hospital (Buildings and Grounds--Sunken Gardens folder, University Archives Subject File Collection)

1923--first mentioned in correspondence between (Julian A.C. Chandler and Charles F. Gillette, October 1923 (1982.45 under Budget-Employment Landscape Architect Charles Gillette)

• "Mr. Gillette, a landscape architect, is working on a plan which will cost $1000...I am afraid, however, that his landscape plan will call for an expenditure of $25,000 or $30,000, which, of course we will not have for a long time" (Board of Visitors, June 1923, p. 62.)

• Charles M. Robinson to draw plans for buildings.

1924--first mentioned in Board minutes, Feb 12, 1924, p. 68, to be omitted from building plans drawn by landscape architect Charles F. Gillette due to excessive cost.

1933--Dr. Chandler reported that a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp had been assigned to the College for the purpose of beautifying and improving the grounds. He recommended that the Board again consider the idea of a Sunken Garden. This recommendation was adopted and the President was authorized to employ Mr. Charles F. Gillette to supervise the landscape work (Board of Visitors, Oct. 4, 1933, p. 447)

• Upon motion duly made and seconded, the bill of Mr. Charles F. Gillette for $1400.00 for services rendered as architect for the Sunken Garden was approved and ordered to be paid (Board of Visitors, Oct. 4, 1933, p. 456)

1935-1936--constructed by A.L. Phillips Sons

1935--Virtually completed (The Flat Hat, 9/21/1935, 1) boxwood planted, shrubbery completed (The Flat Hat, 12/3/1935, 1; The Flat Hat, 2/23/1979, 2)

Material in the Special Collections Research Center


  • The Flat Hat
  • Board of Visitors Records, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
  • Buildings and Grounds--Sunken Gardens folder, University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.

Need help?

To search for further material, visit the Special Collections Research Center's Search Tool List for an overview of the Special Collections Database, W&M Digital Archive, Flat Hat-William & Mary News-Alumni Gazette index, card catalogs, and other tools available to help you find material of interest in William & Mary Libraries Special Collections Research Center.

Questions? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at spcoll@wm.edu or 757-221-3090, or visit the Special Collections Research Center in the Earl Gregg Swem Library at William & Mary.

A Note About The Contents Of This Wiki
The information available in this wiki is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in Swem Library's Special Collections Research Center and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the Special Collections search tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.