Longwood Gardens, which consists of over 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows. Warning, we took over 360 pictures (there are only 16 below), due to the fact that Leslie kept taking the camera from Don.
What is now Longwood Gardens was originally purchased from William Penn in 1700 by a fellow Quaker named George Peirce. Although it started as a working farm, in 1798 twin brothers Joshua and Samuel Peirce planted the first specimens of an arboretum there, originally named Peirce’s Park, and it has been open to the public almost continuously since that time. By 1850, they had amassed one of the finest collections of trees in the nation.
Industrialist Pierre S. du Pont purchased the property from the Peirce family in 1906 to save the arboretum from being sold for lumber. He made it his private estate, and from 1906 until the 1930s, du Pont added extensively to the property. A world traveler from an early age, du Pont was often inspired to add features to the garden after attending world’s fairs, the most notable additions being the massive conservatory, complete with a massive pipe organ, and the extensive system of fountains.
Following the completion of the fountains, du Pont began planning for the sustained life of Longwood Gardens after his death. According to his will, he founded Longwood Foundation Inc. and left most of his estate “for the maintenance and improvement of the gardens”.