What began as a vision of sharing the gift of a garden with the citizens of Youngstown, has grown to become one of the most recognized public gardens in the United States. One woman's dream, driven by her passion for her community has now been a beautiful reality for the last 60 years. The Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation is proud of our continued efforts for 43 of those 60 years in helping share Elizabeth Fellows remarkable gift with the public.
Within the crown of Mill Creek MetroParks, Fellows Riverside Gardens is arguably what many believe to be the center jewel. The gift of 11 acres from the estate of Elizabeth Fellows came to Mill Creek Park in 1958. The bulk of Mrs. Fellows' gift, then valued at $500,000 (an estimated $5 million in 2023), was set up as a public trust for the establishment of a rose garden and the perpetual care of her beautiful property, given in memory of her in-laws, Benjamin and Mary Roberts Fellows.
The Gardens are now recognized as one of the finest public gardens in the nation. For a community, it has become much more. It has played host to hundreds of weddings and family gatherings. It has been the backdrop for the photos that have documented life's milestones, and for many, it's a location for quiet reflection, relaxation, appreciation, and remembrance.
In the Spring of 1963, after several years of planning and design by Landscape Architect John L. Paolano, a group of over a dozen volunteers, set forth on a warm May afternoon to establish the first plantings of Fellows Riverside Gardens. Paolano's final design, completed in 1962, utilized the dramatic overlooks to the north and south of the property, as well as the natural rolling landscape.
It would be hard to imagine if any of the volunteers that day could have realized the impact that their work would have on the Mahoning Valley. In the six decades since their "planting day", Fellows Riverside Gardens has become an iconic symbol for a community that has remained resilient and thrived in the face of the dramatic changes in the world around it.
Continuing the work of those dozen volunteers in 1963, and the legacy of Elizabeth Fellows, the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation provides for the perpetual care and improvements of Fellows Riverside Gardens through structured endowments, such as the Joanne F. Beeghly Rose Garden Endowment, the Fellows Riverside Gardens Endowment and the current redevelopment of the Children's Garden.
During this 60th Anniversary of Fellows Riverside Gardens, please consider making a gift of $60.00 in honor of each remarkable year of the Gardens. Your donations can be made payable to:
Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation
P.O. Box 596
Canfield, Ohio 44406
Your gifts in memory/ tribute and honor will be recognized publicly in the 2023 Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation Annual Report and on our website, lovemillcreek.org.