"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
William Byrd II
Next event
Featured Promotion

Learn more about items related to commencement exercises in the VHS collections.

Van de Vyver Institute Diploma
Tickets still available for the Behind the Scenes Tour about WWI, Saturday 8/30/14 at 1:30pm at VHS. t.co/vsCXJwg2Mf

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library

Address: 24 North Coalter Street, PO Box 24, Staunton, VA 24402
Phone: 540.885.0397
Web site: http://www.woodrowwilson.org

Commonly known as The Manse, the house built by the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Staunton, Virginia, as a home for their pastor witnessed the birth of the twenty-eighth president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, in December 1856. Although his family moved to Augusta, Georgia, within a year, Wilsons associations with the place of his birth remained strong throughout his childhood and while a student at the University of Virginia. Today, the complex of four buildings, which also includes a gift shop and visitor center, pays tribute to Wilson's life and role in American government.

Plans for the restoration of The Manse commenced even before the property was officially acquired by the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation. For its third garden restoration project, The Garden Club of Virginia employed landscape architect Charles F. Gillette in 1932 to develop an ambitious plan based on the memories of a former resident of The Manse. The steep terrain of Staunton suggested a terrace plan, which featured at its lowest level bowknot flower beds and closely trimmed boxwood. The upper terraces included a Victorian summerhouse, a well house, and a grape arbor, connected by brick walkways. As the work progressed through the 1930s and early 1940s, Wilson's widow, Edith Bolling Wilson, played a significant role in the restoration process.

Additional work occurred in the 1960s, as the Foundation acquired adjacent property and expanded its interpretive program. More brick walks were constructed, along with a lower terrace connecting the central garden with the obligatory visitor parking lot. Planting revisions in the 1980s led to a general renovation in the early 1990s overseen by The Garden Club's landscape architect at that time, Rudy Favretti, but all looked back to the pioneering work of Charles Gillette in the 1930s.

Note:
The images presented here record various stages of the property's landscape restoration. Since additional work has been supported by The Garden Club of Virginia at many properties, these images do not necessarily represent the current-day experience. Also, accession numbers reflect the year in which an image was received by the Virginia Historical Society, not the year in which it was taken.

(Click on image to
see larger version
)

Description

West (rear) facade of The Manse, with steps leading to the central garden.

Slide, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Va.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.4.B

View of the bowknot flower beds and clipped boxwood

Slide, Garden pathway, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Stauton, Va.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.4.U

Garden steps leading to the bowknot flower beds

Slide, Garden steps, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Va.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.4.R

The garden pavilion

Slide, Garden pavilion, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Va.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.4.L

Tulips in bloom

Slide, Gardens, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Va.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.4.D

Bulb planting plan at The Manse by Charles F. Gillette, 1933.

Drawing, Gardens, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Va.
Manuscript Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 3

Summer house and well head construction plan, Charles F. Gillette, 1933

Drawing, Gardens, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Va.
Manuscript Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 3

Terrace garden entrance plan, Griswold, Walter, and Swain, 1967

Drawing, Gardens, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Va.
Manuscript Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 3

Letter from Mrs. Blanche Davis to Mrs. Thomas Boggs including a sketch from memory of The Manse gardens, and a reply to Mrs. Davis's suggestions, 1933

Letter, Gardens, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Va.
Manuscript Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2
Multiple Page Document:  Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4

Letter from Edith Bolling Wilson (Mrs. Woodrow Wilson) to Mrs. Boggs regarding the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace project, 1933.

Letter, Gardens, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Va.
Manuscript Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2
Multiple Page Document:  Page 1  |  Page 2

Telegram to Mrs. D. C. Sands, secretary of The Garden Club of Virginia, from Edith Bolling Wilson (Mrs. Woodrow Wilson), 1934, acknowledging her election as an honorary member

Telegram, Gardens, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Va.
Manuscript Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2

Proposal to The Garden Club of Virginia from the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation, 1989, with a project history.

Report, Gardens, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Va.
Manuscript Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2
Multiple Page Document:  Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4

 

Browse more images

If you would like to browse The Garden Club of Virginia collection in the online catalog, click here.

Last updated March 15, 2011