Sonnenberg was continually changing as Frederick and Mary Thompson developed their Sonnenberg estate. Buildings were added and gardens created. After Frederick died in April 1899, Mary spent two years traveling throughout Europe with her sister Zilpha Clark Backus. They added a Nile trip and one to Jerusalem to their itinerary.
Through Mary’s letter back to her relatives in Canandaigua, evidence of her love of flowers and garden emerged. Zilpha’s letters also help to illustrate this love of flowers and gardens. Most of the letters were sent to their sister, Abigail Clark Williams. Abbie was given instructions for overseeing work taking place at the estate in Mary’s absence.
Much of the presentation will be based on those letters written between August 1899 and October 1901. Upon Mary’s return, the Sonnenberg we see today began to be created.
Admission to Sonnenberg Gardens included in the admission to this lecture. Lecture will be held in the Carriage House and presented by Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park’s Education Committee.
Special: The book Masterpieces in Garden-Making by William Hornaday is available for purchase by lecture attendees and can be picked up at this lecture.
A special thanks to the Ontario County Historical Society for generously making their archival collection available to researchers.