Rose Society in Park for 80 Years

Friday, October 4, 2002

By Linda Bien
Home & Garden Editor

For 80 years, Thornden Park has been the site of the E.M. Mills Memorial Rose Garden.

The garden, located on Ostrom Avenue, is named for Dr. Edund M. Mills, a Methodist minister, and one of the fonders of the Syracuse Rose Society.  The society was formed in 1911 and is the oldest rose society in continual existence in the United States. It now has 240 members.

The Edmund M. Mills Rose Society is the oldest rose society in continual existence in the United States.

The Thornden Park site is actually the third rose garden planted by soceity members.  The first, which contained 2,500 rose bushes, was planted in 1911 in Kirk Park.

In 1915, the garden moved to Mt. Olympus, located behind the old library and the chemistry building at Syracuse University.  It moved to its present location in 1922, after the Mt. Olympus site was acquired by the School of Forestry.

By the mid-1930's, the park was in full bloom and contained more than 7,000 bushes.  In 1931, a lower garden (across from the present garden) was dedicated, but later abandoned.

In 1970, a cooperative agreement was made between the society and the City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Programs.

The society maintains the gardens, with members logging more than 3,700 volunteer hours annually.  The parks department, which owns the garden, maintains the area around the garden and provides some.

In addition to its work at the garden, the society has been quite active in 2002.  During the summer months, members presented roses around the community and every week to veterans at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Syracuse.

Members also hosted the annual rose open house at the park in June and competed in the New York State Fair.

2002 The Post-Standard.

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