Topiary Park and an unexpected surprise

Topiary Park, Columbus, Ohio

We suddenly had some free time on a warm sunny day and decided to visit Topiary Park in Columbus.  I had read about the park before, but what we also saw there came as a pleasant surprise.  If you would rather not read about the park, scroll down to the surprise.

Topiary Park, begun as Topiary Garden in 1989, is a depiction in topiary of Georges Seurat’s painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Ile De Le Grande Jatte painted between 1884 and 1886.,/0/default.jpg

The 7-acre topiary rendition is on the 10-acre site of the 1834 Ohio School for the Education of the Deaf which was relocated in 1953.

Obviously, it is hard to replicate the sharp edges of a Parisian hat with a living plant.  Also, living plants eventually die, so some subjects such as the boats show a lot of the metal frame.  But it was a very interesting and pleasant visit.

As we walked around the park, we saw lots of high school students in the uniforms of a private school.  We spoke to four clearly of Hispanic origin practicing a dance and learned they were practicing for a quinceañera, the celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday.

Click on photos to enlarge.

When we reached the west side of the park, we saw that they were coming from Cristo Rey Columbus High School.  We were unaware of its existence, and a quick review of Google gave us a very pleasant surprise.

We both went to college in Washington, D.C. in 1964.  At that time, local Catholic schools provided a quality education much better than the public schools to minority children through “scholarships.”  Unfortunately, as many nuns left their teaching vocations after the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, these schools began to close, and future financially poor students lost that opportunity.

Cristo Rey Columbus High School opened in 2013, the 26th school in the Cristo Rey Network.  The original Cristo Rey school was founded in 1996 in Chicago to provide s a career focused, college preparatory education in the Catholic tradition for students with limited economic resources, integrating academic studies with four years of work experience and support to and through college.

The Columbus school partners with local businesses to provide five hours professional work experience at $18 per hour each week to finance about half of each student’s education.

I usually post on Fridays.  This Friday I am attending my class reunion at the Milton Hershey School.  The school, founded by Milton Hershey in 1909, provides support and education to students from age 4 to 18 and helps with advanced education.  Each time you buy a Hershey chocolate or other product today, you are helping over 2000 boys and girls of all races live in a secure home and get a superb education.

Alie attended The Philadelphia High School for Girls [Central is the equivalent for boys].  A public school, it provided exceptional education for girls from all over Philadelphia including many who would have been too poor to attend a private school.

To say the least, we both have a soft spot for such institutions and were pleased to learn that new ones are still being formed.

Date of our visit: 6 Oct 22

About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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13 Responses to Topiary Park and an unexpected surprise

  1. Sheree says:

    Fabulous topiary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful sculptures and an interesting info about Hersheys!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Emil Oltean says:

    Ray & Allie: Have to admit that I did not know there was such an interesting site to visit, and quite close also…….Enjoyed the photo tour and interesting summary. Regards, Emil

    Liked by 1 person

  4. John Stephen Kosich says:

    Was Alie familiar with Girard College in Philadelphia? It is (was?) a school similar to MHS. My younger brother went there and I tried to apply but was rejected because I was over 10 years old when we learned about it. I truly am glad I went to Milton Hershey instead but my brother has never said anything negative about his time there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pit says:

    Very interesting “sculptures”!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a beautiful park, and a great reason to visit Colombus! Nice history of the schools too. Thank you for sharing.


  7. Dido says:

    So enjoyed this post-so glad I had tie to open link. I spent 5 months in Dayton Ohio in 1975 but never made it to the Topiary Park. So good to hear of continued educational support from independent academic establishments. Dido

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Loraine Beckman says:

    Beautiful park and very interesting about Catholic education still being done even though without nuns. Hope you had a great time at your school reunion.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JohnRH says:

    Great post Ray. Though I’ve been to the Franklin Conservatory, Columbus Museum of Art, and National Veterans Memorial and Museum, I did not know about Topiary Park. Even my sister, who has lived in the Bethel Rd/Henderson Rd area for decades, hasn’t seen what I’ve seen. I haven’t been to Columbus since my mother passed away but I must see this next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The various topiary creations are so well done. It looks like a fun park to while away some hours on a sunny fall day.


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