The Garden Restoration Project is a Go!


With a vision of historically accurate beauty in mind and the funds needed now in hand (with thanks to our donors as well as a New York State grant), the Jay Heritage Center sat down with Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects and explored potential plans for our soon-to-be restored gardens. The architects proposed three different schemes, each with different designs for each of the three “rooms” or gardens. The proposals were approached as an “À la carte” menu, in which the Jay Heritage Center would be able to merge designs from each of the proposals in order to mold the vision in mind.

Landscape architects meet with JHC to discuss designs for the garden restoration project!

Aiming to retain the simple yet elegant designs of the original gardens, JHC pursued a landscape that would also be easy to maintain. New flowers and trees will be selected and planted that will hopefully not require an extreme amount of maintenance. Another top priority is the ability for the grounds to be ADA accessible, so that all may come and appreciate the natural artistry of the gardens and participate in educational programs.

The hope is that the gardens can serve as a space for educational lectures, activities, and events. Therefore, the gardens will serve a variety of purposes. People can come for a leisurely stroll, a school program, or a scheduled event. Ideally, the gardens will include plenty of space for people to gather as well as an amphitheater to view speakers or performers. One thing is certain; the gardens will provide plenty of new, excellent opportunities to get in touch with history and culture.

Many different ideas were investigated and are still being reviewed. The Jay Heritage Center will meet again with the landscape architects in mid-August to continue establishing the blueprints. Nothing is set in stone yet, so the Jay Heritage Center will continue to explore different possibilities. The main priority is to create gardens that will embody the history of the Jay property as well as aesthetically appeal to the masses. It is an exciting time at the Jay Heritage Center amidst the planning, and we are grateful to all who helped gather the necessary funds to embark on this grand project. We can’t wait to the share what we accomplish with the general public!

Our archived photos, such as this one, helped to inspire our plans for the new gardens.

This post was written by Taylor Maurer (West Point ’20)


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Written by jayheritagecenter

Jay Heritage Center (JHC) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit that manages and operates the Jay Estate in Rye, a National Historic Landmark site, as a public park and learning center. The site was once the childhood home of Founding Father, John Jay (1745-1829) his descendants and many other men, women and children - witnesses to the evolution of our country - who left their personal narratives, whether free or enslaved, native or immigrant, on this land. As part of its mission, JHC examines the legacy of Jay and his family together with the stories of the individuals who followed them and preserved this place through their own vision and stewardship. To that end, we host numerous educational programs in American History, Social Justice, Architecture, Archaeology & Environmental Conservation. But we can't do it without our volunteers! Because we receive no annual government funding from the City of Rye, Westchester County or New York State, we rely heavily on volunteers to help us preserve and operate the Jay Estate. This blog, powered by some of our most dedicated volunteers, is one more way for us to share our discoveries, accomplishments and original research with the public in real time. We are immensely grateful to the authors of these entries and oral histories for the investment of effort they have expended on our behalf and yours!

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