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Week Three: Miller Edison Cottage/Shipman Garden tour

Speaker/Guide: Sara Baker-Michalak
Location: Miller Edison Cottage - Meet at Miller Park

This tour starts at Miller Park, the original grove where the first Assembly met. Learn about the early years when Miller and Vincent were just setting up the camp for Sunday School Teachers, President Grant’s visit and other early milestones. Step into history and hear about the founder’s daughter Mina and husband Thomas Edison. Tour the newly restored gardens designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman in the 1920’s in partnership with Mina Edison. Recently planted by the Institution Landscapes and Gardens Crews lead by Supervisor Betsy Burgeson, learn about what foliage and fauna was selected by Mina and Ellen Biddle Shipman and updated to accommodate 21st century thinking about natives, drought tolerance and creating garden habitats.

This is a ‘ticketed event’ for a limited number of patrons. The $10 donation goes toward the Chautauqua Foundation endowment for the Shipman Gardens. Purchase tickets at the Main Gate in advance of the tour, which lasts about an hour.


Sara was raised in Western New York, spending many years in and around Chautauqua Creek where she grew to love all things wild.  Drawn to a creative life, Sara followed a career in the visual arts - drawing from nature for subject matter.  An increased focus on native flora developed while an interdisciplinary graduate student in Nature and Culture at SUNY Fredonia. Sara owned and operated Canadaway Wildflowers, a native plant nursery in Fredonia. She has offered many presentations on the region's native flora, gardening for wildlife, and wildflower propagation; her writings have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Upstate Gardeners Journal, Nature Photographer Magazine and Buffalo Spree. Sara lives with her family on Canadaway Creek, where she gardens and operates an art studio.

Miller Edison Cottage

Miller Edison Cottage

Earlier Event: July 10
Week Three: Eco Garden Walk
Later Event: July 11
Week Three: Nature Programs