top of page

The History of Clark Botanic Garden

Who Was Fanny Dwight Clark?

Fanny Dwight Clark was the wife of Grenville Clark and lived on the property that today is the beautiful Clark Botanic Garden. The FDCMG, Inc. bears her name.   Fanny Dwight married Grenville Clark in 1909 and had four children, three of whom lived to adulthood.

The family wanted a country life for their children

The family wanted a country life for their children and moved to Nassau County from Manhattan in the early 1920’s. The property was chosen because while Fanny wanted town water and hardwood floors, Grenville wanted easy access by railroad to the city. And while Grenville never drove a car, Fanny ran the household while also acting as architect and draftsman of the home improvements, landscape designer and devoted and avid horticulturist. Largely self-taught, Fanny had her gardening beginnings at her family home in Dublin, New Hampshire, where she spent her summers. Her Dublin garden was later included in the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Gardens.

Grenville Clark donates the Garden to Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Grenville Clark donated 12 acres and his family’s home on I.U. Willets Road in Albertson, New York, to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in memory of his late wife Fanny Dwight Clark. The purpose of the gift was to create a small community garden and bird sanctuary, as a suburban outpost of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This preserved the property in perpetuity.

"The Auxiliary" Forms

In May of 1970, twenty-seven women organized a fundraising event for the garden, and a month later they formed the The Fanny Dwight Clark Memorial Garden, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit incorporated entity. The first meeting was held in January 1971, when by-laws were drafted and the first president, Jean Beardslee was elected.

From Brooklyn Botanic Garden to the Town of North Hempstead

The Town of North Hempstead acquired the Garden with a conservation easement, which legally obligated the Town to conduct the garden as a botanic garden and bird sanctuary, as distinguished from a park, and to fulfill its purpose of practicing horticulture and horticultural education. Clark Botanic Garden is now part of the Town’s parks system.

A collaborative partnership

Clark Botanic Garden is owned, operated, and maintained by the Town of North Hempstead. The Fanny Dwight Clark Memorial Garden, Inc., the Town of North Hempstead, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden are collaborative partners in a historical Conservation Easement to protect the space in perpetuity.

bottom of page