Friday, June 1, 2018

Cool 19th Century Places to Visit: Lakewold Gardens

This is closer to the 20th century than the 19th, but I recently had the pleasure of visiting this charming gem, and I thought you’d find it interesting.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the area around Lakewood, Washington, was considered a “retreat” for city dwellers in Tacoma and Seattle because of the many lakes. In 1908, avid gardener Emma Alexander bought a 5-acre plot of land along the shore of Gravelly Lake. She started building a summer cottage, with a garden around it using many native plants. After her son took over the property in 1918, he added an adjacent 5 acres. During his ownership, he also built a finer house and enlarged the gardens.

The estate passed through other hands before being purchased by George Corydon and Eulalie Wagner. The wealthy Corydon had his hand in lumber, investments, and coal, while his wife adored gardening. It was Eulalie who had the current house built along Palladian lines. The story goes, she wanted pink stone for the exterior and sent all the way to Tennessee for it. When it arrived, she promptly returned it because it wasn’t pink enough.

Eulalie also hired Thomas Church, a renowned landscape architect, to come redesign the gardens. He returned over the course of several summers to achieve her dream.

She and her husband entertained lavishly, with friends and family, including hosting weddings for their children. As the wife of a lumber executive, my grandmother remembered being invited to Christmas parties at Lakewold Gardens. I was struck by the many nineteenth century touches, like this sweeping staircase and black-and-white marble floors.

And silk wall coverings that date from the nineteenth century.

I thought the library particularly Regencyesque.

In 1987, Eulalie donated the house and gardens to a non-profit organization, asking that the gardens be maintained and opened to the public.

Lakewold Gardens is located at 12317 Gravelly Lake Drive SW. The gardens are open year-round, though closed a few holidays. Check the website at for details. The video below was created to celebrate all that Lakewold offers. I guarantee the place will grow on you. 😊

1 comment:

QNPoohBear said...

Lakewold is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing. There's a similar early 20th-century mansion and gardens not too too far from here or at least not far by western standards but by our standards a whole half hour is TOO far to visit often!