The Greenhouse and Fountain Tiers

Modern view of Boy/Dolphin fountain and upper annual beds

Entering the Garden, The Greenhouse Tier

The gardens were first established in this location in 1874 by Walter Langdon, Jr. There is a lack of historical materials documenting the landscape while Langdon owned the property and most of what is known is inferred from a survey of the gardens done in 1897, two years after Vanderbilt bought the estate, and from extant features.  Langton  had the brick walls, buildings and pergolas built to provide structure to the gardens and create a space separate from the rest of the estate. All of these features still exist, having been restored by the National Park Service.

After purchasing the estate in 1895, Frederick Vanderbilt replaced all of Langdon’s greenhouses and erected new ones, including two Palm Houses on this tier. Grassy areas show the foundations of the Palm Houses. Vanderbilt’s greenhouses fell into ruin after his death and were finally removed by the National Park Service in the 1970’s.

Vanderbilt greenhouses 1922

The Fountain Tier 

Vanderbilt placed the Boy/Dolphin fountain on this tier between 1906-1908.  It’s an Italian piece from the 19th century done in Renaissance style. The fountain had not been functioning since the late 1930’s; the FWVGA, together with the National Park Service, began to restore it in 2000 and two years later water began flowing from the Dolphin’s mouth. The FWVGA also restored the adjacent panel beds in 2002-2003; they are planted now with Knock-out roses and an edging of white alyssum.