The community garden on Claudell Lane has been part of the CGC network since 2000, but it was used as a neighborhood garden for decades before that. I recently found out a lot about the history of this garden by unearthing some photos and a newspaper article from the Columbia Daily Tribune.
According to the article neighbors had been informally using the vacant lots to garden since the 1950s and the Garden Coalition had been renting the properties for the token rent of $500 a year from owner Goldie Sims. When Sims put the lots up for sale in 1999 and the CGC raised more than $22,00 to purchase them.
“Most of the people who live on that block and need the garden are extremely low-income,” said Karen Graul, coalition treasurer. “So we raised the money ourselves.” The coalition received a $13,000 grant from the HeinkelCharitable Trust, a $5,000 grant from the Boone Electric Community Trust and $8,000 from the Boone County Community Trust. The group also raised about $1,000 from downtown business owners, including Eldon Benus, former owner of Cafe Time, which is now Das Kaffeehaus Cafe and Deli; Richard King of The Blue Note; Susan McQuilkin of Ninth Street Deli; John Pham of Bangkok Gardens; and Annette Weaver of Columbia Books.
Mrs. Sims also helped the project by taking the lots off the market while CGC raised money. And she apparently traveled from her home in Oklahoma to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the garden which was officially named after her late husband Claude.
These photos taken in 2000 or the following season, show a lush garden and a very diverse group of gardeners. Which is very similar to what you’ll see next spring if you happen down Claudell Lane.
Though this is still the only garden the CGC actually owns, at last count we offered support to over 30 different garden projects throughout Columbia. And, this December, we’re focused on fundraising again as we get ready for another year of water, tools, seeds, compost, mulch and more. In keeping with our long tradition of local fundraising, we’re working with CoMo Gives to raise money through December 31. You can be a part of our mission by giving a donation or sharing our story with a friend. There are 12 more days to give! Thank you so much for your support!
You can read the full newspaper article here. (Special thanks to the Daniel Boone Regional Library for the NewsBank subscription that allowed me to find this article.)