In 1977, the young folks at the Young Adult Conservation Corp (YACC) were able to dig all the drains and all the holes for the red oaks which became the foundation for what is now known as the Northrup Memorial Nature Hall. John Ploetz had seen a similar hall in 1949 in New Hampshire at the home of Dr. Poling, a theologian from Philadelphia. His son was one of four chaplains that went down with the USS Dorchester during World War II. Mrs. Poling showed John what they had done as a memorial to their son. John had this in mind when he designed the Nature Hall at the Arboretum. The hall is available for weddings and outdoor educational events. See Arboretum Use Policy for details.
The original Ryoanji Temple Stone Garden was built in Kyoto, Japan over 800 years ago by Zen priests. The first replica in this country was built at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. John Ploetz was in charge of planting trees behind it. The Nannen Arboretum’s Temple was constructed in 1980 and is meant to be a meditation and contemplation garden. Granite grit is used as a ground cover because it is heavier than sand and the ripple raking resembles water. The large stones represent islands and were mined in Akron, New York.
The Amano Hashidate Bridge was built at the far end of Lake Nipponica in 1981. The name means a bridge in heaven. The stones in the water give an oriental effect, changing the look of the lake as one walks around it. While standing on Amano Hashidate Bridge, you get a beautiful view across Lake Nipponica plus a grand view of the Ellicottville ski slopes.
The beautiful Lowe Herb Garden was designed and planted by Mrs. Carolyn Lowe in the early 1980’s. The original 13 specialty gardens were: Medicinal, Dye, Dioscorides-Medicinal, Early American, American Indian, Culinary, Industrial, Fragrance, Oriental, Beverage, Biblical, Silver & Gold, and Children’s Zoo Garden. Revitalization efforts are being made to help restore the original 13 gardens.
n 1986 the Al Cox Memorial Garden was installed, donated by the Ellicottville Ski Club. The raised perennial flower garden, designed by the late Paul M. Kingston, provides a show of color throughout the growing season. The plantings and design were renewed in 2013.
The Chapman Nature Sanctuary, a formal planting of Kentucky Coffee Trees surrounding park benches facing a stone altar, affords a unique setting for special educational events and wedding ceremonies. The ” Celebration Walk” of memorial bricks leads from the main pathway to the sanctuary.