The Cleveland Cultural Gardens embody the history of twentieth-century America. Each individual garden is founded and maintained by the city’s many ethnic communities, revealing the history of immigration to, and migration within, the United States. They comment on how we have built communities and constructed our identities as individuals and collectives. The gardens reveal the stories of the major conflicts that gave shape to the century: World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. They also provide insight into the large social, economic, political, and cultural upheavals that roiled through the nation during the last century: the Great Depression, suburbanization, the Civil Rights Movement, and the deindustrialization of America’s industrial heartland. This is a story of hope and despair, joy and sadness, conflict and cooperation, growth and decline. The stones, paths, and memories of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens tell us what it has meant to be an American.
To learn more about the Gardens, view historic images, and listen to oral history interviews, visit the award-winning project site at culturalgardens.org