The beautiful Hamann Rose Garden in Antelope Park sits on land once used to grow hay for the Parks Department’s work horses. In the 1940s this land was developed into park land and evolved into a rose garden. The first rose garden was named “Goebel’s Rose Garden” after the first floriculturist and designer of the Sunken Gardens, Fred Goebel. The garden was chosen in 1945 to be Nebraska’s first test garden, dedicating a small area of the garden for 200 test roses. These roses were planted and observed under various conditions to observe their health and versatility under Nebraska’s changing climate. The garden was later redesigned and renamed to the Municipal Rose Garden. The designer, Ernst Heminghaus, intended that the garden would become an educational experience.
The Woods Park Rose Garden and the Municipal Rose Garden combined in the 1990s and renamed the Antelope Rose Garden. The garden housed over 3000 roses in 200 different colors, making it an exciting addition to the Antelope Triangle.
In 2006, the Parks and Recreation Department, partnered with Don Hamann, owner of Sartor Hamann Jewelers, announced a major revitalization of the rose garden. The renovation transformed the existing garden into two gardens: a formal display garden of cutting roses and an informal strolling garden of hardy landscape roses. It was completed in 2008 and renamed to the Hamann Rose Garden. The Hamann Rose Garden today continues to give the national flower a proper home and is a beautiful sight for anyone headed downtown, visiting the Lincoln Childrens Zoo, or visiting the Sunken Gardens.
“Like the water of a fountain flowing endlessly on, the work of a teacher affects eternity.”
In 1973, the Nebraska Retired Teachers Association (NRTA) embarked on an effort to commemorate the nation’s Bicentennial with a goal to make a lasting and meaningful contribution to the city. In collaboration with the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department, the decision was made to raise money to build a fountain.
Fundraising efforts were creative and widespread, including door-to-door canvassing, public events, and Table Festivals hosted by prominent Lincolnites, such as then Mayor Helen Boosalis, Senator Shirley Marsh, and Patricia Exon, then-First Lady of Nebraska. Donations from the Lincoln Foundation and the Nebraska American Revolution Bicentennial Commission also helped in the NRTA’s efforts.
By February of 1977, arrangements were finalized to begin construction for the Cascade Fountain. It was a triumph on part of the NRTA, who had taken the fountain on as a special bicentennial project. A projected date of completion for the fountain was set on October 1, 1977.
What the hopeful city and retired teachers did not see coming were multiple roadblocks between their dreams and their reality.
From the start, the initial construction of the fountain was behind schedule. A construction workers’ strike completely halted production throughout most of the summer. By the end of August, only around a month before the projected completion date, the Cascade Fountain was only 65 percent complete. Parks and Recreation Director Don Smith officially announced that the Cascade Fountain would now be completed two weeks after the original October 1 completion date.
Finally, in the summer of 1978, the Bicentennial Cascade Fountain, located at S. 27th Street and Capitol Parkway, was completed and dedicated to retired teachers throughout Nebraska.
After 40 years, the Cascade Fountain was experiencing significant wear and tear. The mineral-stained concrete structure was no longer its pristine white. The ductile iron pipe that supplies the fountain’s water is corroded and will fail in the future. Current Director of Lincoln Parks and Recreation, Lynn Johnson stressed the need to refurbish or reconstruct the area. The public was alerted of the need to consider alternative options for the fountain, along with different options for improvements.