History

Today, Cleveland Botanical Garden serves as a national leader in the sustainability movement and as an exciting destination for Northeast Ohio families, garden lovers, fun-seekers and more. Surely, the women behind the Garden’s launch in 1930 couldn’t have imagined it would grow so much and touch so many people’s lives.

The story of the Garden starts in 1916 when Eleanor Squire donated her collection of 250 horticultural books to the Garden Club of Greater Cleveland, which housed the books at the Museum of Art.

On January 24, 1930, six members of the Garden Club decided the small library deserved a dedicated home; and they conceived a plan to transform an empty, brick boathouse along Wade Lagoon into a garden center that would house the collection of horticultural books and serve as a place for people to learn about plants and gardening. In doing so, those members — Mrs. Thomas P. Howell, Mrs. William G. Mather, Mrs. Walter C. White, Mrs. Charles A. Otis, Mrs. John Sherwin and Mrs. Windsor T. White — essentially planted the seeds for what would become today’s Cleveland Botanical Garden.