AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– A piece of south Richmond County history is springing back to life.
It’s been a part of the Bath/Blythe community for decades — but as a private estate. Now, Bath Gardens will soon blossom as a public place.
From the early 1800s to the 1930s Bath, GA was a resort for wealthy planters from Waynesboro and Augusta. Notable guests included John D. Rockefeller and President William Howard Taft. In the late 1950s, “Lonnie” Boardman bought the 50-acre property. After his death, though, maintenance of the gardens dropped off.
Lonnie’s granddaughter inherited the property in 2018.
Catherine Fleming is with us now.. thank you for being here!
I have to tell you, Catherine– I love the expressed goal of this revitalization… which is “to restore the garden and open it to the public with the mission to make Bath Gardens as relevant to as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible, for as long as possible.”
Historically, Bath, GA was an attraction because of all the springs — and they relief they brought in the hot summer months.
Fleming inherited the property and has created the Bath Gardens Foundation.
“It took six years to build this garden with my grandfather and six other men, wheelbarrows and shovels, and I think he thought it was gonna take six months I read somewhere, I don’t know why he thought that. But anyway, so we began, he restored this garden and in 1964 it was at its prime. And there are lots of articles in the “Augusta Chronicle”, the Atlanta Constitution about this creation. And in my mind he took the landscape as his canvas and created a beautiful painting. So I adored it from a child and saw so much potential it. And my grandfather was so dedicated to it. It was just his passion. So when he died in ’72 the garden began to go into disrepair. And in 2018 we met with a group of people, really in 2016, and began talking about what could we do with this garden.”
The ribbon cutting is coming up April 28th, and it includes a lot of performances, bands, singers, dancers and lunch!
“We have the Hephzibah Marching Band, 78 marchers. I don’t know what he’s doing, but he is got ’em marching down roads or something. We have the Junior ROTC Color Guard. We have the Davidson Choir, 48 singers. I think they’ve traveled abroad as well as Lincoln Center. And then the Jesse Norman Performing Art School, the dancers, and I’m not gonna say how they’re gonna enter, but it’s quite spectacular. So Clyde has arranged all of this and we’re looking for, it’s not gonna be a little ribbon cutting. It’s gonna be a performance and a big entertainment, and then we’ll cut the ribbon. And there is a lunch Tastefully Yours is going to have, and we have it, Clyde has not required RSVPs, but I think if you are planning to come and stay for lunch it would be helpful. If they go to our website, bathgardens.com, and just send us a little note and say “I want to stay for lunch,” that would be great.”