New to our website is direct access to our digital archives! You will immediately be brought face to face with original items from our collections. Currently, there are four groups of materials: Digital Papers, which includes condolence correspondence to Mrs. Bok upon Mr. Bok’s death in 1930; Digital Photographs, which features construction images of the famous ‘Singing Tower;’ Digital Postcards, a collection of historic postcards spanning all aspects of Bok Tower Gardens’ history; and the Digital Carillon Collection, featuring images of bells, towers, and carillonneurs. More digital collections will be added in the future.
Our digital archives are also keyword searchable. Descriptions and other information, called metadata, help to sort and locate all items that might be relevant to each search. Something fun and interesting to do is to “Browse All” and explore all the historical items in the collection.
Bok Tower Gardens was recently contacted by Larry Ellis, great grandson of Mr. Horace Burrell, who served as the builder for the Singing Tower. Mr. Ellis and his wife, Norma, drove all the way from Ashburn, VA to hand deliver a collection of personal effects once belonging to Mr. Burrell and his son, Edward. The collection includes two handwritten journals, a scrapbook of news articles and numerous photographs, all detailing the Tower’s construction.
Two world-class carillon students have the unique opportunity to study under Gardens’ Carillonneur Geert D’hollander thanks to a new fellowship program made possible by a gift from Paul and Carol Collins. This also means visitors will enjoy live carillon music seven days a week through early May 2015.
Christmas Day at Bok Tower Gardens will certainly be a very memorable experience for everyone in attendance.
In addition to complimentary Holiday Home Tours of Pinewood Estate for the first 1,000 visitors, Gardens carillonneur Geert D’hollander will share his 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. performances with a very special guest. For the first time, D’hollander’s 9-year-old daughter, Rosalie, will join her father in the Tower’s playing cabin to perform a heartfelt duet of “Silent Night.”
Twenty years ago, Bok Tower Gardens was still discovering the possibilities of Pinewood Estate, the 1932 Mediterranean-style mansion on Gardens property, built as a winter retreat by Bethlehem Steel Vice President Charles Austin Buck. After the Gardens purchased the home in 1970, staff and volunteers spent years restoring its architecture, furnishings and gardens. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the home hosted a range of groups and visitors by appointment only. Then in 1994, Pinewood Estate & Gardens was opened to the public for guided tours, and just 571 people visited the home.
Be part of history in the making! Join the Bok Tower Gardens Board of Directors and special guests for a groundbreaking ceremony on the site of our new garden spaces.
Afterward, visit the future sites of our children’s garden, outdoor kitchen, pollinator garden, and wild garden.
Many Floridians still have vivid memories of the 2004 hurricane season. Four hurricanes struck Florida that year with three storms leaving their mark across Central Florida. August 13, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Charley making landfall on the West Coast of Florida, beginning its damaging race across the state. The speed of the storm meant hurricane force winds impacted even the central portion of the state, ripping apart regions which had not been seriously affected by storms since Hurricane Donna in 1960 and Hurricane Elena in 1985.
Rumors of the Tower’s demise spread quickly, but staff and friends of the Gardens soon saw the Tower still stood. Many of the trees filling the Gardens were not as fortunate. On August 14, 2004, the cleanup of the Gardens began. Staff and hundreds of volunteers donned their gloves and picked up shovels, chain-saws, and clippers to attack the massive amounts of debris choking the landscape. Regional gardens sent crews to help with the overwhelming process. This included a group from Fairchild Botanical Gardens which had been affected by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 (a group from Bok Tower Gardens assisted in their cleanup then).
Following the passing of Edward W. Bok, many friends and connections wrote to his newly widowed wife, Mary Louise Curtis Bok, and his son, Curtis Bok.
Here is a small collection of letters written by Helen Keller, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, President Herbert Hoover, and master blacksmith Samuel Yellin.
The Singing Tower is what sets Bok Tower Gardens apart from other tourist attractions, museums, and gardens around the United States of America – and even the world. Inspired by one man, and erected in an extremely unique location, the Gardens have always held a special place in the hearts of those who have visited us throughout our 85-year history as an organization.
Here are a few facts you may not know about the Singing Tower, and they’ll give you something interesting to think about as you gaze at this incomparable structure situated on what was once an arid sandhill amidst the orange groves of Lake Wales.
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