Mission Statement and Purpose
To help make Springfield a more beautiful city, and wishing to cooperate with every organization and every individual with similar aims.
The Springfield Civic Garden Club (SCGC) was organized on Friday, March 1, 1929, at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel by a group of Springfield citizens. The founder was Mrs. T. J. Knudson. The purpose was “helping to make Springfield a more beautiful city, wishing to cooperate with every organization and every individual with similar aims.” And its motto was: A More Beautiful Springfield.
The inspiration for the formation of SCGC was to sponsor the anticipated coming of the American Gladiolus Society for the 20th annual meeting and show.
The first meeting was held March 7, 1929, and featured three speakers. On March 26, 1929, members adopted a constitution and elected 15 directors. Then on April 4, 1929, officers were elected and inaugural membership contest was initiated. During that first year many accomplishments were made. On August 14, 1929, they hosted the Gladiolus Show at the Illinois State Arsenal. They planted elm trees from the State Capitol to Oak Ridge Cemetery. A membership drive was held and they attained 1,000 members. The garden club sponsored trips out-of-town to visit outstanding gardens. They conducted an all-city home garden contest. Finally, SCGC organized the first Junior Garden Club with 20 girls, which grew to be the largest in the country.
SCGC and Lincoln Memorial Garden (LMG)
Shortly after Lake Springfield became a reality, Mrs. Knudson conceived the idea of a garden as a living memorial to Abraham Lincoln. A garden composed only of plants native to Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, the three states in which Lincoln lived.
She convinced the city of Springfield to donate land along the shore of the newly created Lake Springfield and city officials endorsed the idea of the garden if a sponsor could be found. Ms. Knudson took her idea plans to the Garden Club of Illinois, of which she was a board member. GCI accepted the sponsorship as its major project.
To design the unusual living tribute, Ms. Knudson was able to secure the services of Jens Jensen, one of the nation’s foremost landscape architects. On October 4, 1938, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Garden was dedicated. SCGC and LMG are forever intertwined.
In 1951, the Garden Club of Illinois (GCI) made a third pilgrimage to the Springfield area in connection with Illinois Garden Week. At the opening ceremonies, Mrs. J. W. McAllister, State President, laid a wreath at Lincoln’s Tomb.
Irene Garvey designed the wreath and made he split rail fencing for it. This fence was made of black walnut from a door taken from the Sangamotown mill where Lincoln worked. The wood was 100 years old. Miss Garvey shaped the wood and made the fencing by wiring the pieces together with old copper wire.
Violets had been picked by members of the club. They were wired in bunches (four blossoms and one leaf to a bunch). The florist put this all together with a bow effect at the bottom made with dogwood, red bud, bluebells and oak leaves.
National Garden Clubs, Inc. (NGC)
Garden Clubs of Illinois (GCI)