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Sunken Garden History


Industrialist S. Forry Laucks established LAUXMONT FARMS as his country estate in 1918. Over time, Laucks pieced together his estate with existing farm lands, which included the Sunken Garden. Eventually he acquired more than 2,000 acres.

The Sunken Garden, which features a swimming pool fenced in by wrought iron gates, became the crowned jewel of Laucks’ country estate. Laucks used the pool area to wine-and-dine politicians, entertainers and celebrities of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and singer Kate Smith were among the many celebrities to have visited Lauxmont’s Sunken Garden. Roses, iris, azaleas and hydrangeas surround the pool area.

The Sunken Garden was built by Charles Downing Lay in 1923. The New York-based landscape architect is famous for designing Battery Park, Bryant Park and Madison Square Park in New York City as well as the National Academy of Sciences in the District of Columbia.

Lay made water the central theme of the Sunken Garden. The multi-tiered garden includes the swimming pool on the top level, followed by a large fountain on the second level and, finally, breath-taking views of the Susquehanna River in the valley.

In1973, the Kohr family purchased LAUXMONT FARMS and they began restoring the garden to its 1920s grandeur. After years of work, Ron Kohr, Jr. completed the restoration of the pool, fountain and bathhouse area in the 2000s.

Since opening the Sunken Garden for private events, dozens of couples from around the country have been married at the unique location. Couples take their vows around the restored fountain before having their outdoor cocktail hour by the pool area.

Laucks’ original stone cottage offers a unique backdrop to the cocktail hour. The cottage, which was built in 1928, was designed by Delano & Aldririch Architects. The New York architectural firm is famous for designing the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the American Embassy in Parris.

Following the ceremony and cocktail hour, couples are only a short distance away from their reception site. The large tented area offers all the conveniences of an indoor wedding, including a solid floor and bathrooms. The tented area has spectacular views of the Susquehanna River and surrounding areas.

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