Magic Christmas in Lights in USA Today

December 15, 2014

USA Today includes Bellingrath Gardens and Home’s Magic Christmas in Lights on its list of the “10 Best Public Light Displays in America”; votes from online readers put Bellingrath in sixth place.

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New Mirror Lake Bridge Completed

August 15, 2014

A new bridge across Mirror Lake is completed for use.  

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Fifty Years of Cascading Mums

November 11, 2013

Cascading Mum Display celebrates 50 years.

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Bellingrath Mums in Country Gardens

August 1, 2013

Better Homes and Gardens’ special interest publication, Country Gardens, features Bellingrath Gardens’ annual Cascading Mums Display.

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Linda Guy Wins American Rose Society Bronze Honor

September 1, 2010

Bellingrath Rosarian Linda Guy awarded American Rose Society Bronze Honor Medal.

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Rose Garden Fountain

July 25, 2010

Rose Garden Fountain installed.

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Seventy-Fifth Anniversary

April 7, 2007

  The 75th Anniversary Celebration is held.

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Updated Entrance Building

March 1, 2005

  The Entrance Building is remodeled.

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Hurricane Ivan Damages Wharf and Pavilion

September 14, 2004

Hurricane Ivan strikes Mobile, damaging the wharf and pavilion at  Bellingrath.

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Bellingrath Gardens and Home Foundation

July 8, 2004

Bellingrath Gardens and Home Foundation established.

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Azalea Trail Maid Reunion

March 20, 2004

Azalea Trail Maid Reunion attended by more than 750 former Trail Maids.

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Friends of Bellingrath Established

April 1, 2003

The “Friends of Bellingrath” membership programs established.

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A New Magic Christmas in Lights

November 24, 2000

Magic Christmas in Lights show is redesigned.

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Dr. William E. Barrick as Executive Director

November 15, 1999

Dr. William E. Barrick is named Executive Director of Bellingrath Gardens and Home.

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Good Morning America at Bellingrath

May 13, 1999

Good Morning America broadcasts from the Gardens. The show features former Junior Miss Diane Sawyer, and Faith Hill sings on the Great Lawn.

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First Magic Christmas in Lights

November 28, 1996

The first Magic Christmas in Lights is held.

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Bellingrath on America’s Castles

November 24, 1996

The “Garden Estates” episode of America’s Castles premiered on Arts and Entertainment Network television, featuring Bellingrath Gardens and Home. Bellingrath is the only Alabama property to be featured.

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Harrigan / ExxonMobil Bayou Boardwalk Opens

October 5, 1996

The Harrigan / ExxonMobil Bayou Boardwalk is opened to the public.

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National Register of Historic Places

October 19, 1982

The Bellingrath Home is added to the National Register of Historic Places.  

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New Entrance Building Opens

February 1, 1982

The new Entrance Building with enlarged parking lot is completed.    

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Hurricane Frederic Hits

September 12, 1979

Hurricane Frederic Hits

Hurricane Frederic strikes Mobile on September 12th. Bellingrath Gardens and Home is severely damaged. The damage is estimated to be over $6 million. More than 1,000 pine trees, 150 live oaks and 330 water oaks are destroyed by the storm….

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Bellingrath in Southern Accents

December 1, 1978

    The Bellingrath Home is redecorated and featured on the cover of Southern Accents.

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Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage

September 14, 1977

Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage

The Bellingrath Home is added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

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Garage Becomes Gallery of Boehm Porcelain

March 9, 1967

Garage Becomes Gallery of Boehm Porcelain

The previously enclosed garage becomes the Bellingrath Gallery of Boehm Porcelain, displaying a collection donated by the Delchamps Family. The facility is dedicated on March 9, 1967. It would later be renamed after the Delchamps.

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Open House for Completed Construction

November 8, 1964

The completion of the South Terrace, Rose Bridge, Pet Motel, and Entrance Building, now home to the Cafe and Gift Shop, is celebrated with an open house, attended by approximately 12,115 visitors.

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First Cascading Mum Display

November 3, 1963

First Cascading Mum Display

The first Cascading Mum Display is held. Stock plants for the cascade mums were obtained from Longwood Gardens in Kennent Square, Penn.

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Entrance Building Construction Begins

January 1, 1963

Entrance Building Construction Begins

Construction begins on the new Entrance Building/Cafeteria.

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America’s Junior Miss Established

February 27, 1958

America’s Junior Miss is established with Fred Holder, manager of Bellingrath Gardens and Home, as its first president and George Downing, President of Coca-Cola of Mobile and Executive Director of the Bellingrath-Morse Foundation, as its treasurer.

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Home Opens to Public

January 1, 1956

Home Opens to Public

Property is officially named “Bellingrath Gardens and Home”; Home opens to public for tours.

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Death of Mr. Bellingrath

August 8, 1955

Death of Mr. Bellingrath

Mr. Walter Duncan Bellingrath dies at the age of 86 and is buried beside his wife at Magnolia Cemetery.

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Bellingrath-Morse Foundation Formed

August 6, 1949

Bellingrath-Morse Foundation Formed

Mr. Bellingrath, at 80th birthday celebration,  announces the formation of the Bellingrath-Morse Foundation. The Foundation is to maintain the Gardens and Home as a “fitting memorial to my wife,” as well as to benefit Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., Stillman…

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Death of Mrs. Bellingrath

February 15, 1943

Death of Mrs. Bellingrath

Mrs. Bessie Morse Bellingrath dies at the age of 64 in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

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Guest House Built

January 1, 1939

Guest House Built

The old garage is replaced by a six-car garage with a four-bedroom guest house above. A private chapel is built at the south end of the structure.

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Bellingraths Return to Surprise

July 18, 1938

Bellingraths Return to Surprise

The Bellingraths return from a visit to New Orleans to find a crowd of more than 200 friends and well-wishers in their driveway. A bronze plaque and stone bench had been installed in their absence. It thanks them for opening…

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Rose Garden Completed

March 15, 1936

The Rose Garden is constructed in the shape of the Rotary emblem. Walter Bellingrath was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Mobile in 1914.

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Conservatory Construction Begins

September 23, 1935

Walter and Bessie Bellingrath contracted with New York firm Lord and Burnham to build what was termed a “conservatory and palm house” adjoining their Rose Garden. Lord and Burnham was famous for designing and building some of America’s most well-known…

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Building Begins on the Bellingrath Home

June 18, 1935

Building Begins on the Bellingrath Home

Ground is broken for the 10,500-square-foot Bellingrath Home on the site of the north cabin. Rogers describes its exterior as “a mingling of French, English and Mediterranean influences.”

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Gardens Open to Public

March 1, 1934

Gardens Open to Public

The property opens to the public year-round, with a $1 admission.

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A Permanent Bellingrath Home

December 1, 1933

A Permanent Bellingrath Home

Visitors flock to Belle Camp’s Gardens throughout 1933. Mr. and Mrs. Bellingrath announce that they will open the property to the public year-round beginning in 1934. The Bellingraths ask George B. Rogers to design a home at Belle Camp for…

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Mobilians First Visit Belle Camp

April 7, 1932

Mobilians First Visit Belle Camp

Belle Camp is essentially complete. The Rockery, Mirror Lake and bridge, Summer House, Fountain Plaza and waterfront are in place. The Bellingraths invite visiting delegates to a garden club convention to tour their garden. They invite Mobilians to see their…

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Grotto and Flagstone Walkways Completed

January 1, 1931

Grotto and Flagstone Walkways Completed

Grotto is completed, along with series of runnels and fountains. Flagstones are obtained from downtown Mobile sidewalks. Mrs. Bellingrath paid for their removal and replacement with concrete, to the delight of City of Mobile officials.

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Mobile’s First Azalea Trail

February 22, 1929

Mobile’s first Azalea Trail opens. It includes the Bellingrath property on South Ann Street.

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Search for Azaleas and Camellias

June 1, 1927

Search for Azaleas and Camellias

Mr. & Mrs. Bellingrath tour Europe for several months.  They are inspired by the beautiful estate gardens throughout Europe. Upon returning home, they hire Architect George B. Rogers to transform their camp into a garden estate. Rogers and Mrs. Bellingrath begin…

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Electricity at Belle Camp

January 1, 1926

Electricity at Belle Camp

Electricity comes to Belle Camp with the addition of a generator.

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Belle Camp Creation

August 15, 1917

Belle Camp Creation

The Bellingraths purchase the former Lisloy Club overlooking Fowl River, a 25-acre property. It was a former men’s fishing club, and occupied a pair of rough cabins that had housed sawmill workers in the early 1890s. Bellingrath enlarges north cabin…

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Marriage to Bessie Mae Morse

November 14, 1906

Marriage to Bessie Mae Morse

Mr. Bellingrath marries his former stenographer, Bessie Mae Morse.

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Hurricane Floods Coca-Cola Facility

September 27, 1906

A hurricane strikes Mobile flooding the Coca-Cola Bottling Company that Walter Bellingrath had started only two years earlier. At that time, no radar warning systems of impending hurricanes existed. Instead, the local weather bureau raised a storm flag as their instruments indicated…

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Mr. Bellingrath Arrives in Mobile

August 17, 1903

Mr. Bellingrath Arrives in Mobile

Mr. Walter Duncan Bellingrath arrives in Mobile to take over ownership of Coca-Cola Bottling Company at the age of 34.

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