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The History of the Hammond

Natalie Hays Hammond was born in Lakewood, New Jersey, January 6, 1904. Her father, John Hays Hammond of San Francisco, California, was a mining engineer, diplomat, and philanthropist and, with Cecil Rhodes, discovered and developed the long-lost King Solomon's Mines in South Africa.


Miss Hammond's mother, Natalie Harris, was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. One brother, John Hays Hammond, Jr., was an inventor who founded the Hammond Museum and Castle in Glouchester, Massachusetts.


Miss Hammond was a miniaturist, a Broadway set and costume designer, an author and an artist in needlepoint. However, it was her experience as a world traveler with her father that inspired her to create the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden in 1957. This became the core of her passion to introduce a peaceful gathering where the East meets the West.

In designing this garden, Natalie Hays Hammond borrowed the basic principles and ideas of the Stroll Garden incorporating indigenous plantings with popular and rare Japanese and Chinese specimens, as exposure to wind and severe winters would permit.


"As people often travel to escape routine problems and obligations, or to escape themselves, so should they find peace in an unhurried journey through a stroll garden."


"To please the eye. there are the textures of stone scrolled with the delicate designs of lichen, the patterns of tree trunks and clusters of foliage, the play of light and shadow," the varying shades of green as well as the seasonal colors of great beauty.


"To please the ear, there are the songs of native birds, the hum of insects the chorale of frogs... the occasional splash of carp in the lake, "the crunch of pebbles underfoot, the whisper of wind through the pines."


"To please the sense of scent, there are dry pine needles in the sun, the fragrance of flowering shrubs, a breeze through mimosa or the pungency of loam after a night rain."


"How much time do we grant for the refreshment of the spirit? Must every thought be measured by its attainment; must every phase of life be walled by a conclusion, or may we not think to the exquisite borderline of wonder, wherein we relax that we are infinitely small within the scheme of things, and find our immortality through the appreciation of the light and shadow of a single hour, through the iridescence of a spider's web."

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