Rent the garden for your wedding, memorial or special event, or come enjoy its colorful and peaceful beauty.
In the spring of 2012 Friends of East Sac signed a long-term lease for the management of the historic 1,200 bush rose garden. The city had just completed a $250,000 project which included replacement of the irrigation system and new ADA-compliant walkways. There were, however, no funds available for to replace more than half of the roses that had perished from disease and neglect. To remedy this, Friends Of East Sacramento worked with the Sacramento Rose Society to develop a plan for the future sustainability of the garden.
Friends of East Sac raised more than $95,000 from private donations and completed the work in 2012, including eradicating weeds and nutsedge, installing mulch, planting the 8 adjacent botanical garden perennials beds, refurbishing 26 park benches and installing garden signage. Friends now manage the weddings and other events at the garden and pay all maintenance costs. They also established an Adopt-A-Garden giving program where donors sponsor a bed to honor or remember a loved one.
Adopt-A-Garden Donation Plans:
$800 for 5 years $1,500 for 10 years
Donations help fund maintenance costs to keep the roses healthy, disease-free and vibrant for all to enjoy! No physical work in the garden is required, but an option for some donors.
Park and Garden History:
McKinley Park, as we know it today, was opened in 1871 as the privately-owned East Park, a name given to it for its location in the undeveloped area, just east of city limits. As a ploy to increase street-car traffic to the area, the Sacramento Trolley System purchased and developed the 30 acre park. At that time, it was the only large recreation area within Sacramento. It included picnic grounds, a baseball field, shooting gallery and zoo.
In 1902 the “Tuesday Club”, a social organization of influential women, convinced the city of Sacramento to purchase East Park for the sum of $12,500. It was then renamed in honor of President William McKinley who was assassinated in 1901.
In 1906, Mrs. J. Henry Miller, manager of the park from 1902 to 1908 and also known as “the mother of McKinley Park” suggested establishing beds of flowers in the park.
In 1913 the nation’s first transcontinental highway was established and mapped. To provide travelers with an overnight place to stay, an auto camp was estab¬lished in the panhandle area of McKinley Park in 1916.
With the “City Beautiful Movement” in 1928, the development of the current rose garden site began under the direction of the city’s first parks superintendent, Frederick N. Evans.
Through the decades, the garden has survived through the efforts of park superintendents, along with volunteers from the Sacramento Rose Society.
A Place to Meet…McKinley Rose Garden sprawls over 1.5 acres, and is the largest of Sacramento’s rose gardens—1,200 roses. McKinley Rose Garden is one of only 130 All-American Rose Selection display gardens. The well-known garden, which grew from its initial 400 rose plants to about 944 rose plants in 1940 to more than 1,200 rose plants today, is a popular site for daily visitors, weddings and memorial services.
The Original Designer… Frederick N. Evans, a landscape architect with a Masters Degree from Harvard, was the city’s first parks superintendent. In 1929, Evans began work on improvements to the garden with a drive to “make the garden a showplace of the city park system.” Prior to this time, the garden, which then included an under construction pool at its center, had been established with no particular planting plans. The rose garden replaced a running track in this location, the oval shape of the rose garden reflects the original shape of the track.
Evans experimented with the varieties of roses that were planted there until he had a mix that would prosper in the hot Sacramento summers. He also presented a plan to have the garden rearranged into definite patterns with all rose varieties labeled with both their English and Latin names. It was his intention to have the garden created as an educational garden “where Sacramentans interested in flowers and plants may come and study their culture.”
On Dec. 13, 1946, the garden was named after Evans, who was also an original member of the Sacramento Rose Society, founded in 1940.