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February 26, 2007

Washington Oaks Gardens

This area was part of a Spanish land grant to Bautista Don Juan Ferreira in 1815. It was then developed as a plantation by General Joseph Hernandez, an early Florida planter. George Washington, a distant relative to our first president, married Hernandez’ daughter, Louisa in 1844. They were given this land by Hernandez and remained here until 1856, developing the plantation and starting an orange grove. Louisa died in 1859, and George left, but returned in 1886, to live here the rest of his life. It was then purchased in 1936 by Mr. and Mrs. Owen D. Young, and the gardens, groves and plantings were expanded.

george and fountain one.JPG

george and the gazebo.JPG

rock fountain pool.JPG

Mr. Young, Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in 1929, bought the property for Louisa as a wedding gift. The day after their wedding on February 20, 1937, the Youngs held an outdoor party at the renamed “Washington Oaks.??? Louise Young soon began work on the house and gardens she built here. Washington Oaks would become her masterpiece.

gazebo and statue.JPG

statue one.JPG

heath and the gazebo.JPG

view of the octagon from gazebo.JPG

george on the octagon.JPG

george in the sun.JPG

heath in the rose garden.JPG
Heath in the Rose Garden

george in the rose garden.JPG

herd garden.JPG
Herb Garden

fountain and coy.JPG

smiling statue.JPG

pink flowers.JPG

rock fountain and tree.JPG

pool one.JPG

gazebo and tall grass.JPG

george next to another pool.JPG

geoge and oak treet.JPG
This majestic, moss draped live oak tree is presumed to be the largest at Washington Oaks. Live oak trees can reach heights of 40 to 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 to 4 feet. Their low, massive branches provided naturally formed, angled wood that was valuable in building wooden ships in the 1800’s. It was for that reason that one of America’s first forest reserves was established in the panhandle of Florida. Live oeaks are common on sandy soils and are among the more long-lived oaks, often achieving ages greater than 200 years.

youngs house.JPG
House Front View

youngs house side view.JPG
Side View

view from the hosue.JPG
View from the House

matanzas river view.JPG
Matanzas River, in front of the house

youngs oldest.JPG
Owen Young died in July, 1962. Soon after his death, Louise Young began to discuss the donation of Washington Oaks to the State of Florida for use as a state park. Mrs. Young’s wish was for the gardens to be “maintained in the present form??? as a memorial to her beloved husband.

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Old A1A

old a1a three.JPG

ols a1a two.JPG

Posted by Heather at February 26, 2007 11:15 AM


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