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Posts Tagged ‘Wessington Springs’

Anne Hathaway CottageI’ve told you about out Garden Club trip to Sioux Falls but I didn’t even mention the last stop on our trip – the wonderful Shakespeare Garden at Wessington Springs, SD. 

It is amazing to me that I  have traveled past the small town of Wessington Springs so many, many, many times in my life and had never even heard of the garden or the beautiful thatched roof cottage until I started planning the garden club trip. 

How could this happen?  I mean really – this is the only thatched-roof building in the whole flipping state! 

But it’s true.  Thankgoodness for the internet or I would have missed it entirely and probably gone to my grave never realizing it was there.

Anyway…

It all started in 1926 when Mrs. Emma Shay and her husband, Clark W. Shay were both professors at the Wessington Springs Seminary.  Emma was an English Literature teacher and more than anything she wanted to travel to England and learn everything about the area and the writers who called it home.  She knew it would make her a better teacher but she needed $1,000.00 to make her dream a reality.

 
She borrowed the money from the Seminary with the understanding that she would keep a journal of her travels and also gather flowers, leaves or whatever she could get her hands on from the grounds of the homes of  her beloved English authors.  When she returned home these pressed and preserved treasures would be used to make ‘portfolios’ to sell and thereby repay her debt.  And she did it!  She traveled to England alone and saw the homes of the authors whose writings she had always loved and when she returned to her quiet little home in South Dakota she worked hard and paid back the money then promptly set to work (with the help of her husband and students) to build a garden filled with the flowers and plants Shakespeare had written about in his plays. 
 
When Emma and Clark retired in 1932 they began work on a cottage designed from a postcard of the original Anne Hathaway Cottage at Stratford-on-Avon. 
I want to live here (so does Sue).
 
But nothing lasts forever…
 
The college was closed in 1964 and the buildings demolished in 1970 – except for the cottage which was privately owned at the time.
 
In 1989 the Shakespeare Garden Society was established to purchase, restore and take care of this wonderful place and the rest is history.
 
Our garden club had arranged a group tour and English tea complete with fresh scones hot from the oven.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and felt like little girls playing tea party.
 
If your planning a trip through South Dakota be sure to stop by and check it out.  Their web site is:  www.shakespeargarden.org   It gives you scheduals and upcoming events. 
Just makes you want a ‘spot o’ tea’ doesn’t it?
 
 
 

 

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