The Amphitheatre was first opened in the early 1920’s as a theatre for repertory actors presenting a new play each week. Families came from near and far to sit out in the open-air and enjoy the sights and sounds on a warm summer night. The theater received a major face-lift in 1997 and a new name, The MacAllister Center for the Performing Arts, in honor of P.E. MacAllister a gracious Difference-maker and longtime friend of the Park. Neighbors, families, and visitors still love the summer fun of outdoor theater!
Henry came from humble beginnings. Early on he adopted an honest and tenacious work ethic. In 1861 President Lincoln called for volunteers, Henry enlisted. He was 18. Henry Lawton was destined to become a soldier, a leader of men. And he was, for nearly four decades. He led from the front line. Always. And he never asked his men to do anything that he had not, or would not do himself. General Henry Lawton was a Medal of Honor recipient. He was a principled, fierce warrior. He was a loving husband and father. A beloved uncle. A Difference-maker.
In 1908, Indianapolis hired a gifted visionary, George Edward Kessler, a German-born landscape architect with considerable engineering and city planning ability as well. Because he loved his work, he loved Garfield Park. It became his jewel. Kessler had great respect for the rich horticultural heritage of Garfield Park. Today the rainforest exhibit is an exciting place to explore, for young and old alike. Let us make your day!
It was George Kessler who envisioned the Sunken Garden with beautiful walkways and fountains. He imagined the summer plantings to be “entirely formal in character,” and to include less formal displays to enhance the elegant Sunken Garden. In 1916, F.W. Darlington of Chicago was hired to design and build the fountains in the Garden. Few cities can boast of such a place as Garfield Park. How grateful we are to the generations of caretakers!
Welcome to our Pagoda Shelter—truly a place where memories are made—and the stories of each generation, gifts to the next. The Pagoda was a magical place back in the day. It was built in 1903 by a clever and skilled architect, Daniel Dupree, who had a grandson he often took to the Park. For over 100 years, this shelter has been the place for dances, first dates, engagements, family picnics, weddings…the list goes on and on. If this stage could talk!
In the early 1900’s, Garfield Park was on the route for a city-wide trolley streetcar system that ran along both Shelby Street and Southern Avenue. There is a shelter still in the Park today that served as the Waiting Station for early trolleys that would make a short loop into the park to pick up and drop off passengers wanting to spend a day in the Park. The shelter has recently undergone a major rehabilitation project thanks to the generosity of several community partners.
The Grove of Remembrance was dedicated in 1920 after WWI had ended. Trees were planted to memorialize the over 290 soldiers who died fighting in World War I. A tree for each soldier was planted including an etched marker, for name, unit, and date of death. You may hear and read of Alice Moore French and the American War Mothers who, together, helped bring the Grove to Garfield Park. The dedication parade and ceremony was a day tucked away in the hearts and minds of all who were there. Difference-makers…behind every name.