History of the Bradley Olmsted Garden
The Columbus Museum’s Bradley Olmsted Garden was designed for homeowner and noted industrialist W.C. Bradley in the 1920s by the Olmsted Brothers firm of Massachusetts. Frederick Law Olmsted, the famed American landscape architect, founded the firm, and his naturalistic style is evident in this garden once known as Sunset Terrace.
Of the thirteen residential projects the Olmsted firm worked on in Georgia, including others in Columbus, the Bradley garden is widely recognized as the most substantial and significant. Bradley had a great interest in the garden, and corresponded frequently with William B. Marquis, the Olmsted firm’s lead Columbus designer. The Bradley Olmsted Garden is part of the Wynn’s Hill-Overlook Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1947, Bradley’s family donated this 13-acre site, which included the Garden and a 1912 Mediterranean Revival home, to the City of Columbus to be used as a center for culture and education. Today, the Columbus Museum has been expanded from the Bradley home into a stunning 89,000-square-foot facility, and the Bradley Olmsted Garden has been lovingly restored to its original grandeur by a dedicated team of volunteers.
Visit the Bradley Olmsted Garden Today
Throughout the year visitors can learn more about the history of the Museum and the historic neighborhood surrounding it on the Wynnton History Trail. Enjoy the nature trails running through the Garden leading to several key elements, such as a pool house, grotto, and natural spring ravine that are original to the 1920s garden. Along the trails, there is a series of five signs with brief histories and images of the Columbus Museum, the Bradley Olmsted Garden, W.C. Bradley, Wynn’s Hill, and the Wynnton community.
The Bradley Olmsted Garden contains a wide variety of trees and blooms, including many that are indigenous to the South and several of the original plantings can be seen along with new plantings that have been added to fit within the original plan. There is always something in bloom in our garden, which both garden novices and experts will appreciate and enjoy the picturesque vistas created by the Olmsted Brothers firm.
The Bradley Olmsted Garden is open during regular Columbus Museum hours.