Recent Listing: Tyler Municipal Rose Garden

Tyler Municipal Rose Garden
Tyler, Smith County

Listed March 22, 2019

The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is an 11.7-acre historic district and designed landscape located on the East Texas State Fairgrounds one mile west of downtown Tyler. The historic rose garden features thousands of rose bushes arranged as a formal landscape with lawns, concrete walkways, fountains, walls, and water features. Designed as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) park project in 1938, the garden was nearing completion in the fall of 1941 when United States entered World War II and nonessential domestic construction stopped for the duration of the war. Nearly ten years passed before work resumed on the garden, and it finally opened to an appreciative public in June 1952. The garden was expanded and further developed through the 1950s and 1960s. As its roses and fame increased, the municipal rose garden grew to be the region’s largest tourist attraction, drawing thousands of rose enthusiasts and commercial buyers to Tyler and the East Texas rose district. The property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A in the area of Entertainment/Recreation at the state level of significance for its role in regional and state tourism. It was also listed under Criterion C in the area of Landscape Architecture at the state level, as a good, increasingly rare example of a major garden type – formal rose gardens for public enjoyment - built in cities across America and Texas in the mid-20th century.

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