One of the first major investments Hawthorn Hollow made after it was established in 1967, was to transform what was previously a pasture and hayfield for Ruth Teuscher’s horses into a 15-acre arboretum.

They were able to enlist Clarence Godshalk who worked at the renowned Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL from its inception in 1922 and was named director in 1939. Trained as a landscape architect in the naturalistic style of O. C. Simonds and others, he developed the Morton Arboretum’s distinctive landscapes. In 1966, after nearly 45 years at Morton Arboretum, Clarence Godshalk retired and was named Director Emeritus. Ruth writes in April 1969 “Clarence is the eighth wonder of the world. He drives here from Morton, one and one-half hours at 70 miles an hour (He says never less than 70), goes around all day walking fast, and when the time to go home is still peppy. From what we can estimate, he is over 72 years old. He is amazing.”

Clarence consulted with Ruth in the original layout of the entire property but took a special interest in the development of the Arboretum. He had spent much time on the design, creating a “Landscape Arboretum” and leaving the interior meadow open for a better view of the plantings from a distance. Borrowing from plant lists from the Morton Arboretum he methodically spent days setting identification stakes for the future planting. With the list of just 100 trees and shrubs created by Clarence, the Hyslop Foundation expanded it to over 350 ordering 3 or more of each. Clarence was “flabbergasted…although he maintained he was delighted”.

The original plant stock came from Fiores Nursery in Lake Forest and was delivered on May 9, 1969. Clarence spent three days finding additional locations for everything, and it took four full weeks to get everything planted.

Much of the original plantings remain today, including Ruth’s lilac collection started in 1936 on the southern border. Unfortunately, 1.433 acres with 73 different specimens were lost with the widening of Hwy 31 in 2001. Since then, and over the years, many new trees and shrubs have been added with the generous contributions of various individuals, community organizations, and local nurseries bringing the total collection of plantings to nearly 600.

Please enjoy a walk through our outdoor museum.

We also work with private landowners, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand rare species’ genetic biodiversity.