If you've ever wondered how to build a drylaid stone wall, plan to visit Voyageurs National Park in mid-July when a master stone mason will show you how while rebuilding a wall at the Ellsworth Rock Gardens.
Last summer a windy storm toppled 30 trees at the gardens, and some of those damaged some of the stone walls and other features there. Earlier this week the park received a $3,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation (via the Virginia Sweatt Preservation Fund for Minnesota) to repair the damage.
The money will be used to underwrite an "advanced stone wall construction and repair workshop at Ellsworth Rock Gardens this coming July 11-13. The targeted audience for the workshop is park staff and community volunteers who will commit time to working at the gardens in the future. To allow for one-on-one instruction, the workshop will be limited to 10 participants.
The gardens were constructed on the north shore of Kabetogama Lake between 1944 and 1965 by Jack Ellsworth of Chicago. The property has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as an extraordinary and unique American art environment and outstanding example of mid-twentieth century vernacular landscape architecture.
"Without organizations like Voyageurs National Park, communities and towns all across America would have a diminished sense of place," said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "The National Trust for Historic Preservation is honored to provide a grant to Voyageurs National Park, which will use the funds to help preserve an important piece of our shared heritage."
The Ellsworth Rock Gardens are one of 14 visitor destinations in Voyageurs. The gardens are a regional tourist attraction and an important drawing card for area resorts. The site consists of the gardens, five historic buildings, and visitor facilities including a dock, picnic shelter, restroom, and interpretive media. Volunteers and park staff maintain the 7-acre site.