DeKALB – The lawn south of the stucco and limestone carriage building on the Ellwood-Nehring property, 509 N. First St. in DeKalb, has been a bed of grass with a curious cement platform at its center for many years.
“It wasn’t always that way,” said Brian Reis, director of Ellwood House Museum. “Around 1905, Perry and May Ellwood created an intricate garden made up of flower beds stretching out in rays from a central base that held the garden’s focal point, a sundial. Nearby, a wooden pergola graced an entry point to the driveway, and a high solid wall enclosed the garden, creating a secluded space.
“We want to take the same principles that formed that early garden, but instead of creating a private garden, we’ll turn it inside out, making a very public place for all to enjoy.”
Thanks to William and Patsy Lundberg, restoration and transformation will be possible. Their donation is given in memory of William Lundberg’s grandparents, Carl A. and Anna N. Berg.
“The recreation of the garden is an ambitious project. While only the sundial base remains, Bill has a vision to bring the individual components together to form an extraordinary space that ties in perfectly with the surroundings and brings the historic elements, such as the pergola, back to the property,” said Reis. “This project couldn’t have happened without his planning, careful observation of the surrounding landscape and care for the site.”
The Ellwood House Association has an ongoing fundraising campaign to conserve, restore and interpret the Nehring property, which it hopes to open in 2013 for tours, arts programs and special events. To help with the fundraising campaign, call Brian Reis at 815-756-4609.