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Kingwood Center Gardens, Mansfield

The estate of Charles Kelley King will now be open to visitors year-round with the addition of a new visitors’ center complete with a gallery, greenhouse and Buehler’s Fresh Foods cafe.

Kingwood Center Gardens has been a popular destination of nature enthusiasts and families for nearly 70 years. The estate consists of Kingwood Hall, a fashionable 1926 mansion designed by Cleveland architect Clarence Mack, and 47 acres of gardens containing a vast array of plants (with more on the way). The estate originally belonged to Charles Kelley King, the Ohio Brass Co’s first electrical engineer. Today, the mansion is open to the public as a museum.

For 2020, Kingwood’s original opening date was scheduled for April 1, and according to Brenda Nelson, Kingwood’s director of development and marketing, this would have been the gardens’ “last first opening day.” Thanks to the Garden Gateway Project, which involves the addition of a new visitors’ center complete with a cafe operated by Buehler’s Fresh Foods, a Gift and Garden Shop with a retail greenhouse, and an exhibit gallery, Kingwood will now be open to visitors year-round. The project also ensures more state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly spaces throughout the garden.

“We’re really excited about how this will really transform [the public’s] visits to Kingwood and offer sustainability for generations to come,” Nelson says

The historic buildings at Kingwood Center Gardens reopened their doors to visitors on Wednesday, June 17, but people have been able to visit the gardens since May 9. Admission is $5 and free for members and kids 12 and younger. (The Garden Gateway's visitor center, gardens and terraces are expected to open in mid-October.) 

“People were here and picnicking in hats and gloves,” Nelson recalls of the chilly day.

Health and safety precautions are in effect at Kingwood, but these precautions have not halted the addition of special exhibits. Visitors can explore Kingwood Hall to view Charles King’s china, crystal and other unique pieces from King’s lifetime. Outside, an interactive reading and walking experience for families called The Storybook Trail opened on June 26.

“We constantly hear from visitors who say they’ve been coming here since they were children,” says Nelson. “It’s a beautiful oasis in the middle of the city and a place to relax, but it also serves as a reminder of, historically, what Mansfield used to be.” 50 N. Trimble Rd., Mansfield 44906, 419/522-0211, kingwoodcenter.org

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