Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden's Ties to Cycling History
The World Road Cycling Championships are coming to Richmond, Va., and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden shares in the excitement of Richmond 2015!
The Garden has a very special connection with cycling. The historic Bloemendaal House on the property was one of the original bicycle or "Wheel Clubs" in the late 1800s. The Garden continues to celebrate this unique history with Heritage Weekend in mid-April and during Dominion GardenFest of Lights 2014, and special events during the Septemeber 2015 event including “From Bicycle Club to Botanical Garden,” an exhibit, and extended hours on select evenings.
Image left by Don Williamson.
From Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden: 25 Years and Growing written by Frank Robinson and Lynn Kirk:
"Ginter constructed the Lakeside Wheel Club (below) in 1894 as a gathering place for sports cyclists and socially minded belles. Cyclists peddled to the recreational resort along the Missing Link Trail, which paralleled the Boulevard and Hermitage Road, while spectators rode the Lakeside Trolley. During the Gay Nineties, Richmonders congregated at the one-story Victorian club house to enjoy freshly made ice cream and charming lakeside views. Another fashionable entertainment destination emerged with Ginter's development of Lakeside Park, now the site of Jefferson-Lakeside Country Club. Featuring a zoo and the city's first public nine-hole golf course, the attraction grew in regional popularity.
The newspaper recorded the Park's grand opening: Within the enclosure are two large sheets of water, the clubhouse of the Lakeside bicycle club, a casino, cafe, bowling alley, billiard rooms, deer house, park office, and apartments for officers. The lake...specially stocked with fish...[is] supplied with an abundance ofrowboats and a speedy two-horse power naptha launch" (Richmond Times-Disptach, March 15, 1896)."