Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden History
In 1976, as part of the nation's Bicentennial celebration, Greensboro Beautiful began a project to develop a 7 1/2 acre tract of flood plain, owned by the City of Greensboro, into a public garden. Much of the property was roadbed fill dirt, and was covered with undergrowth. By October that year, it had been cleared, graded, an irrigation system installed, numerous trees, shrubs and flower beds planted, with paved walking paths installed, and it was dedicated as Bicentennial Garden. Over the next 4 years, the garden was expanded and several specialized areas were developed. Additional paths were added, as well as benches and sculpture.
For many years, the focal point of the garden was a life-size bronze sculpture entitled "The Student", which was symbolic of a typical male student who would have attended the David Caldwell Log College on the adjacent property during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Reverend Dr. David Caldwell (1725-1824) was a Presbyterian minister, a self-trained physician, and an early educator in colonial North Carolina. At this site in 1767, he was the founder of the Log College which educated many prominent men of the day. Bicentennial Garden is part of the portion of land on which the academy, its campus, and his home once stood.
In 1995, Greensboro Beautiful commissioned a conceptual Master Plan to guide future garden enhancements. The Master Plan outlined a number of phases of development, including expanded Visitor Parking & Public Restrooms, a new Main Entrance, a Wedding Garden, a Sensory Garden and Woodland Water Feature, Stream Restoration, stone walls and raised beds, additional sculpture, an improved crosswalk on Hobbs Road and entrance to the adjacent Bog Garden, colorful plantings in the Holden Road median to draw attention to the garden, a possible Old Mill Site and development within the adjacent David Caldwell Historic Park. Greensboro Beautiful celebrated the completion of these enhancements in 1999.
In 2000, Greensboro Beautiful received a bequest for further enhancement of David Caldwell Historic Park, and for historical research, additional archaeological survey work, and for the construction of an interpretive center on the property. The Interpretive Center at David Caldwell Historic Park was dedicated on April 20, 2007, and educates visitors about David and Rachel Caldwell, the academy, David Caldwell's contributions to our state and region.
In 2006, Stanley & Doris Tanger made a significant financial commitment for ongoing support of Greensboro's public gardens, and the Greensboro Parks & Recreation Commission approved the re-naming of Bicentennial Garden to the Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden. In 2017, Greensboro Beautiful constructed and Old Mill which is reminiscent of a mill that David Caldwell operated on this site in the 1780's. It has a free-standing water wheel that works in conjunction with a re-circulating stream. The mill was developed through private donations to Greensboro Beautiful.