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Grotto Gardens

8. Lt. William Putnam Memorial Garden

8. Lt. William Putnam Memorial Garden

The library and reading room originally comprised the second story of the Headquarters building of the Central Branch. The room was a spacious 19’ high with handsomely frescoed ceiling. Cone reflectors shed brilliant rays for illumination at night, and one hundred and fifty chromos, engravings and photographs adorned the library wall. The room contained the renowned “Putnam Library.” Mary Putnam contributed over 10,000 books as a memorial to her son, William Lowell Putnam, who fell in 1861 at the battle of Balls Bluff. The Veterans in the Home constructed the massive bookcases of black and white walnut for the library, that at the time was described as one of the finest in Ohio.

The site for this garden was chosen for its view of the lake, boathouse and twin towers and was created out of heavy clay soil, amended and planted with a variety of shade loving perennials, spring bulbs, and annuals with more sun loving perennials near the spillway.