January 25, 2023

Waterfront Botanical Gardens | Bella Crick

Waterfront Botanical Gardens, Louisville, Kentucky

It’s hard not to love the Waterfront Botanical Gardens in Louisville. If you haven’t been yet, you need to add this dreamy spot to your list!

The Waterfront Botanical Gardens sits in a space with a lot of history – in fact, knowing its history makes these gardens even more spectacular.

In the 1800s this area was the prime destination for affluent French families from New Orleans, who would use “The Point” as a destination to escape to their summer homes to escape the heat.

However, multiple historical flooding events caused great destruction among these Ohio River homes over the course of 100 years. A 1937 flood destroyed so much, that the area became a city dump instead.

For years locals would use this site as a place to dispose of garbage, eventually leading the city to increase the fees to encourage people to stop driving into the city to dump their trash. Some residents would instead dump appliances and cars into Beargrass Creek.

In 1960, I-71 opened up, passing by the city dump, earning it the reputation of “Gateway to the City.”

Perhaps that’s why a short time later the city started to fill the area with dirt and rock to seal the surface.

In 1973 further actions were taken to cover the historic land with 25 feet of dirt and planted grass.

Fast forward to 2009, when this 23 acres of this land were selected as the future home of the Waterfront Botanical Gardens thanks to a generous trust that was left behind by Helen Harrington to further the work of this non-profit.

Because of Helen’s impressive gift, the Waterfront Botanical Gardens has been able to be developed into what it is today. While some thought it was a bit too big of a project, others wanted to honor Helen and push forward her vision for a Botanical Garden.

Despite those who said it couldn’t or shouldn’t be done, those who were most eager to see this dream come to life were able to persevere and get things moving.

There is no doubt without her generosity, this project would be much smaller and would lack the bigger picture goal of being a place where growth happens.

Today the Waterfront Botanical Gardens serves the public as a place to explore, learn and enjoy the plants and flora all year round. One of the best things about this gorgeous location? It’s free!

The free admission makes the Waterfront Botanical Gardens accessible to all. They even have online workshops, adult and kids classes, a camp for kids, and school programs.

One neat thing you may notice at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens is the last remaining facade from one of those 1800’s summer homes that the flooding destroyed. We love the idea of how things that were once really sad can be made into something so beautiful.

The history of this land and its development certainly colors the beauty of the gardens even more. It feels really sweet to get to capture senior photos here in this spot that is seeped in so much history, knowing that the future for these students is also so bright.

You must add the Waterfront Botanical Gardens to your list, even if you’ve been before. There’s always something new happening and with each season your experience here will grow.

Check out Bella’s Green Apple Senior photos below to see just how pretty this space is, we think you’ll agree its worth a visit.

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