Updated 9/22/2016 The video below is from my visit to the Chandor Gardens Spring Fling event in April of 2016.
With Spring just around the corner, I thought now might be a good time to dust off this article I wrote about Chandor Gardens several years ago and post it here. This is a wonderful little place to stroll on a warm Spring day, or to take family pictures.
They open in April, check their Web site for details. Chandor Gardens is the work of the well known twentieth century artist Douglas Chandor. He was an Englishman who came to America in 1926 and established himself as a portrait painter. Some of his better known subjects were Presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt.
Chandor married Ina Kuetman and they settled in her hometown of Weatherford Texas. The couple began building their home and Gardens in 1936. Over a period of 16 years Douglas Chandor converted a cactus covered hillside into a truly outstanding one-man garden that remains today as a testament to his gardening and artistic skills.
Chandor himself died in 1953, but his wife kept the gardens open to the public until 1978. Over a period of time the estate fell into disrepair and then was restored and sold to the city of Weatherford in 2002. Today the gardens are open to the public for viewing during scheduled hours for a fee. They also host parties, wedding, and special events. See the Web site for details.
The gardens are broken up into 18 distinct areas or “rooms” featuring English and Chinese motifs. Water and fountains are featured in many of the garden settings. The mansion and courtyard are also quite impressive.
As I walked through these historic gardens, it occurred to me that Chandor Gardens must reflect the art and tastes of Douglas Chandor. While enjoying the Dragon Fountain and Buddha Niche, two adjacent rooms in the garden, my thoughts drifted to folk art. Folk art typically features strong local influences and varied use of materials. The opulent green glass that fringes the base of the Dragon Fountain is, in fact, some sort of commodity green glass bottle. I’m guessing maybe a 1940’s beverage of some sort. This in no way detracts from the overall beauty of the fountain. In fact it occurred to me that this may be the greater art of the artist. Although Chandor was an accomplished portrait painter by training; his greatest and most expressive works may well be on display not at the Smithsonian but here in Chandor Gardens.
711 West Lee Ave. Weatherford Texas, 7606
The Official Chandor Gardens Web Site
Bibliographic note: Most of the information presented here was extracted from a fact sheet provided at Chandor Gardens during my visit.
Copyright © 2008 by Sam Fenstermacher
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