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Hidden Lake Gardens records

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-4.2.4

Scope and Contents

The Hidden Lake Gardens collection contains Chronological History files consisting of newspaper clippings and photocopies of photos. The majority of the photographs are in the collection’s photo files. The majority of the collection is made up of correspondence, starting with Fee’s correspondence, and a drawing for a garden. The General Correspondence is arranged chronologically and relates to the running of the Garden. The photo files are arranged alphabetically by subject and contain black and white and some color pictures of the grounds. In addition, there are a few photos of the buildings and staff. The majority of the photos are from the 1960 s.

The cd-rom contains 11 images of Hidden Lake Gardens from 2003. The images are mainly outdoor views of the gardens and one of the conservatory.

There are also unpublished annual reports for 1961-71.


  • 1926 - 2003

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Historical Note

In 1926, Harry A. Fee (1868 – 1955) purchased 226 acres of farmland near Tipton, Michigan for retirement. The land was too rocky for farming so he turned to gardening instead. Fee frequently consulted the MSU extension service for gardening advice. As a result in 1945, he donated the estate and an endowment fund to Michigan State University to create a public garden and grounds for horticultural study. Fee remained involved with Hidden Lake Garden until his death.

After Fee’s death Fred Freeman became the horticulturist for the Garden, he served from 1945- 1986. Clarence E. Hoxie served as the first director of the Gardens, from 1946 – January 1949. Earl I. Wilde supervised from January to September of 1949. F.L.S. O’Rourke was director from 1950 – 1950. In the 1960s Hidden Lake Garden was placed under the direction of Campus Park and Planning.

MSU gradually bought the farmland surrounding the Garden to create a buffer from urbanization resulting in the 755 acre garden that exists today. In 1986 Jack Wolf, Fred Freeman’s assistant, became acting curator and manager. The grounds contain a visitors’ center, conservatory, arboretum, the Harper Collection of Dwarf and Rare Conifers, Hosta Display, and the Elsie MacCready Memorial Bonsai Collection.


0.8 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University

Property Rights: Michigan State University

Hidden Lake Gardens Records
3 Ready For Cataloging
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US