Norfolk Botanical Garden
Todays Norfolk Botanical Garden began in the mid 1930's with an idea by Frederic Heutte, a young horticulturist and Thomas P. Thompson, Norfolk City Manager from 1935-1938. Heutte had a fondness for Azaleas and believed Hampton Roads to have an ideal climate for growing this southern signature plant. Heutte and Thompson envisioned an azalea garden to rival those of Charleston, South Carolina. Their vision began to be realized when the city of Norfolk set aside 75 acres of wooded land and 75 acres of reservoir for a city garden.
Beginning in 1938, through a Works Progress Administration (WPA) grant more than 200 African-American women and 20 men began working to clear the site and their contribution to the garden is today wonderfully honored. In 1958 the Old Dominion Horticultural Society took over maintenance of the gardens and changed the name to the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Today the gardens include an arboretum and are 155 acres with over 20 themed gardens that can be viewed by boat, tram, or on foot. The gardens are on the National Register of Historic Places and are a Virginia Historic Landmark.