Built in 1930, the Sunken Gardens was a Depression-era project, built on a former abandoned neighborhood dumpsite. The 1.5 acres were originally donated by the Seacrests, the Faulkners and the Freys — long time Lincoln families.
As a part of a city program helping unemployed men to earn money, E.M. Bair hired crew members to work on this garden. The men worked eight-hour shifts, two days a week for a total of $6.40 per week.
Lincoln’s “Rock Garden” (as it was originally called) reflected the popular 1930’s trend for rock gardens in progressive communities. Rocks were used for the garden’s skeleton and for structures like water fountains and retaining walls at different heights to create terraced levels.
Sunken Gardens features an annual floral display that consists of over 30,000 individual annual plants which are redesigned to a different theme each year. The theme for this year is “Moon River”.
As the only Nebraska garden listed in the “300 Best Gardens to Visit in the United States and Canada” by National Geographic Guide to Public Gardens, this is a special place to many. Located at 27th and Capital Parkway, this 1.5 acre lot was first developed in 1930 and most recently renovated in 2004. Visitors can tiptoe through the tulips every spring and watch the thousands of annuals bloom all summer long and then enjoy the peaceful winter interest of the varied trees and shrubs.