Open Days, Public Garden
Shakespeare Garden is nestled in a quiet central section of Northwestern University, on Garrett Place, behind Howes Memorial Chapel, hidden from view by a double wall of hawthorn hedges. The 70- by 100-foot garden was established a century ago, during WWI in 1915, as a project of the Garden Club of Evanston. Members wished to express wartime sympathy for our British allies and to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. It was a way to celebrate the ties between England and America, as promoted by the Drama League of America. The Shakespeare Garden was designed by renowned Danish-American landscape architect and conservationist Jens Jensen (1860-1951). The flowers, shrubs, trees, and herbs in the garden are mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays and are varieties best suited to the garden’s location and Midwestern climate. The Shakespeare Garden still contains many of the original hawthorns that were started from seed in France and which form the formal garden’s base. The hawthorns of Jensen’s plan and the fact that it represents the type of project that flourished in 1916 are the reasons the Shakespeare Garden was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. At the entrance to the garden, is a stone fountain and bench, with a bronze plaque and relief sculpture, designed and donated in 1930 by architect Hubert Burnham, son of internationally known Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham, in honor of his mother, Margaret Sherman Burnham, an early Shakespeare Garden chairman. Following a visit in 1990, John Brookes, a distinguished English garden designer and writer, suggested a few changes that are now reflected in the garden. The garden continues to be maintained by members of the Garden Club of Evanston and is integral to campus life at Northwestern University. It is the site of numerous marriage proposals and weddings each year.
Directions: The lakeshore suburb of Evanston is north of Chicago, the first town beyond the city limit. Take Sheridan Road to Garrett Place, Northwestern University campus, directly east of the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center at 2133 Sheridan Road, hidden from view by a double wall of hawthorn hedges, north of Garrett Seminary's Howes Memorial Chapel.
Hours: Year round, daily, dawn to dusk.
Admission: Free. The Shakespeare Garden is open to the public, but special tours and events may be scheduled.
- This garden allows photography
- This garden is handicap-accessible
- Parking is available