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The Smith-Gilbert Gardens
In This Issue: Touring Cobb County
In the past two editions of the “Touring Cobb County” series, I’ve highlighted a few of the culturally and historically important places worth visiting in Kennesaw specifically. So, I thought I’d keep that train rolling this month and talk about another Kennesaw location that mixes diverse greenery with historic architecture and fine art, making for a unique visitor experience for all ages: the Smith-Gilbert Gardens.
The Smith-Gilbert Gardens is the official botanical garden of the City of Kennesaw. The house at the garden’s center is the Hiram Butler home, built in 1880. It gets its name from the first occupant of the home, a Confederate railroad man named Mr. Butler. If you remember a few editions ago when we talked about The General — a train that was captured by Union soldiers during the Civil War, now is on display in Kennesaw — Mr. Butler was actually working the railroads when that chase happened!
The gardens and sculptures weren’t a part of the property until 1970 when Richard Smith and Robert Gilbert bought the house and some of the surrounding acreage. They had a vision of covering the property with a variety of plants and beautiful sculptures, and over the next 35 years they worked to make that a reality.
There are currently 3,000 plants on display throughout the Smith-Gilbert Gardens, many of which are quite rare. Some of the most fascinating areas include the bonsai exhibit, the rose garden, and the conifer display. Other points of interest include the sculpture collection and the “Garden With Wings” Butterfly House.
Visitors can book tours of these gardens anytime Tuesday–Saturday from 9 a.m. to
4 p.m. Additionally, parties can use the space to host events, such as weddings. However, given the current state of the world, you might want to give them a call to see what their current regulations are for event hosting. In any case, these gardens are worth visiting for art, nature, and history lovers alike.