I’ve crossed this bridge many times as I take the long way around Lincoln Memorial Park which hugs the shoreline of Lake Springfield.
It’s Walgreen Bridge, named after the donor (yes, that Walgreen). It was back in the late 1930′s when this bridge was built as a present in honor of Mrs. Walgreen, a patron of the garden from her husband. In later years, the Walgreen estate donated monies to the Foundation to help support the maintenance of the garden and fill out the original plans that were drawn up by Jens Jensen.
Every time I walk over this bridge, I’m entranced by the history, and the setting. I tried to capture a bit of that feeling here.
When landscape architect Jens Jensen came to Springfield, Illinois to select one out of several plots of land to create this garden along the shore of the newly created Lake Springfield, he chose the one with the fewest trees and that already had natural hills, ravines and a few streams. His idea was to recreate the land that Abraham Lincoln would be familiar with in this garden. Nothing like a formal garden but a living recreation of the mid 1800′s prairie landscape where Lincoln spent years as a surveyor before turning to the law then politics. There were only 11 trees on this huge tract of land. A clear canvas.
I’m thankful that those members of the Springfield Civic Garden Club, along with the donors such as the Walgreen family had the will to make Jens Jensen’s vision become a reality for generations of folks to enjoy.