Hodges Gardens State Park
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Hodges Gardens State Park, previously known as Hodges Gardens, Park and Wilderness Area, is located on between Florien and Hornbeck, near the Toledo Bend Reservoir of the Sabine River in Sabine Parish, in west central Louisiana. The park is located on U.S. Highway 171 some fifteen miles (24 km) south of Many, the seat of Sabine Parish. The facility offers walking trails, formal gardens, arboretum, the Azalea Overlook, waterfalls, and a visitor center. Originally, privately developed during the 1940s and opened to the public in 1956. The Park was formally dedicated on May 1, 1959 and transferred to a non-profit foundation in 1960. It became part of the Louisiana public parks system in April 2007.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Hodges Garden info )〕 It is the largest horticultural park and recreation area in the United States and with the acquisition Hodges Garden became the newest park in Louisiana.
The area was once home to bands of Indians, Spanish and French Explorers, and Highwaymen that were prominent during the time of the Neutral Strip (Louisiana). A road known as the El Camino Real, or the King's Highway, passed through what became Hodges Garden, and across the Sabine River at Gain's Ferry. It originated in Natchitoches, crossed west central Louisiana, through Texas to Mexico City.
A.J. Hodges, a native of Cotton Valley in Webster Parish, purchased over of cut-over barren land and replanted in timber. The land included an old quarry and he and his wife, the former Nona Trigg, planned a scenic garden around the natural rock formations. The quarry had been used to supply rocks, stones, and sandstone to build, among other things, the jetties in Port Arthur. Work began on the jetties in 1898 and material from the quarry was delivered by wagon that would have been at least a six day round trip.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Hodges Gardens )〕 Water from a lake created in 1954 is pumped through the gardens to waterfalls, pools, a geyser, fountains, and to the watering system before it is recycled back into the lake. Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu, head of the Culture, Recreation, and Tourism Department, said that the state signed a transfer agreement with the Hodges Foundation. Landrieu, who leaves the lieutenant governorship in May 2010 to become mayor of New Orleans, noted that Andrew Jackson Hodges, Sr. (1890–1966), "took a barren stone quarry and turned it into a thriving tourist area. The state’s takeover of the park will restore the garden’s original beauty, upgrade accommodations, and ultimately add value to this economic asset."
The gardens were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Weekly list of actions 7/13/15 through 7/17/15 )〕
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