Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Jackson's Garden

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Institution Name: Union College (NY)
Original/Historic Place Name: Jackson's Garden
Location on Campus: northern perimeter of campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1818-1830original construction Ramée, Joseph-Jacques Jackson, Issac
Designer: Joseph-Jacques Ramée, Isaac Jackson
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: culture, landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
1818-present (2006)gardens
1818-present (2006)outdoor space

The exquisitely groomed grounds and gardens remain one of the defining characteristics of Union College's campus. Jackson's Garden was conceptually included in Ramée's original plans for the campus, which called for seventy acres of "pleasure grounds." Eliphalet Nott (president of Union College 1804-1866) began interpreting Ramée's horticultural vision for the campus during the spring of 1818. Shortly thereafter, Nott encouraged Professor Isaac Jackson, who was recuperating from an illness, to continue creating and maintaining the campus gardens. Jackson diligently and vigorously cleared, planted, and tended the garden now known as Jackson's Garden for the next twenty-five years, often acquiring seeds and saplings from former students and colleagues from around the world.

Following Jackson's death, his daughter, Julia Benedict, assumed responsibility for the garden for the next forty-eight years. During the final years of Mrs. Benedict's life, the garden fell into neglect and the College assumed responsibility for its maintenance. The condition and quality of the garden has fluctuated during the College's management, primarily as a result of the labor intensive nature of the work and expense associated with such a project. Jackson's Garden remains a delightful escape from the rigors of academia and the surrounding cityscape, particularly in late spring.


Dober, Richard P. Campus Landscape: Functions, Forms, Features. New York: Wiley, 2000.

Raymond, Andrew Van Vranken. Union University: Its History, Influence, Characteristics and Equipment: With the Lives and Works of Its Founders, Benefactors, Officers, Regents, Faculty, and the Achievements of Its Alumni. New York: Lewis Publishing Co., 1907.


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Last update: November 2006