S. Forry Laucks, owner of the York Safe & Lock Company, established LAUXMONT FARMS in 1918 as his country estate. Over time, Laucks pieced together his estate with existing farm lands, which included the Japanese Gardens. Eventually he acquired more than 2,000 acres.
Laucks fell in love with Japanese culture during his trips to the country, so much so that he wanted to bring a little bit of Japan back to Pennsylvania. Ever the perfectionist, Laucks hired the same landscape architect that designed many of the gardens in Japan. LAUXMONT FARMS’ Japanese Gardens, which were completed in 1936, were designed to offer a calm, tranquil environment for anyone that stepped in it.
The gardens feature numerous elements that are seen in some of the most popular landscapes and gardens in Japan. Visitors must cross stone bridges, typical in traditional Japanese gardens, to enter the secluded area. The sound of cascading water from the nearby waterfalls and koi ponds can be heard throughout the gardens. In traditional gardens, the ponds are carefully placed according to Buddhist geomancy, the art and science of putting things in the place most likely to attract good fortune.
Rocks, another big feature of traditional Japanese gardens, can be seen throughout the area. The stones feature classic symbols from Japanese mythology; including dragons, tigers, sea turtles and Mr. Northwind. Nature plays a significant role in our Japanese Gardens. The entire garden area is canopied in native-Pennsylvania trees and surrounded in peonies, rhododendrons, daffodils and azaleas.
Laucks’ original stone cottage offers a unique backdrop to your wedding day. 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.
In 1973, the Kohr family purchased LAUXMONT FARMS and Laura B. Kohr began restoring the gardens. The Japanese Gardens began hosting events in 2004, and they quickly became a coveted location for couples from around the country.
Following the outdoor ceremony, couples are only a few yards away from their reception site. The large tented area offers all the conveniences of an indoor wedding, including a solid brick floor and bathrooms. The tented area has spectacular views of the surrounding horse pastures and Susquehanna River.