Where in Hudson is this? for April 16

By Liz Murphy | Destination Hudson Published:

The statue in last week's photo overlooks the pond in the faculty garden at Western Reserve Academy, the southwest corner of High and College Streets.

The garden was created in 1932 by landscape architect Muriel Cravener, designed to the specs of then headmaster Joel B. Hayden, who had it developed in memory of his mother-in-law. On June 5, 1932 there was a dedication of the garden, complete with a bevy of high school girls draped in filmy Grecian-like robes. Given that the school at the time was all young men, and all the instructors were men, this caused quite a stir, according to one of my sources. Headmaster Hayden's children unveiled their gift to the academy - a 36-inch bronze fountain of a nude female holding a bouquet, out of which the water flowed. The statue was in the center of the pool - the focal point of the garden (see small photo). The dedication was quite an event, covered by all the Cleveland papers and the Cleveland garden magazines.

Over the years, the garden has been used as a quiet place for study or contemplation, and a spot to entertain visiting guests and parents. It went through several periods of renewal and decline, and by the early 1990s, it had fallen into serious disrepair. Over the winter of 1993 Piekutowski, then the WRA horticulturalist, took on the challenge of restoring the faculty garden to its original state. She discovered a film of the opening celebration and by transferring it to videotape was able to slow it down enough to see details of the original retaining wall, hedges and perennial bed, none of which remained. She worked over the next number of years to restore the garden to its former glory. Sadly, the bronze statue disappeared during the night of Feb. 25, 1996, never to be seen again. For some years, there was statuary in the garden thanks to the Flanagan's who lent a series of busts of various composers, but they took them when Skip retired as headmaster. In 2005 or 2006 the larger statue at the west end of the garden appeared at the back door to Seymour Hall just before prom time. A student had convinced his mother to donate it from the entrance of her beauty salon, and students started attaching prom-related notes to the figure. At some point after Prom, the notes began to take on a less innocent tone, and when it was rather rudely painted, the decision was made to move the statue to its current location.

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