|Second Street (St. Louis Street) entrance gate. |
Harold Haliday, Costain, photographer, 1935
Upon entering the garden, you would have found yourself walking along an azalea-lined pathway leading to a grand Torri gate, revealing a Shinto temple. Along your journey over bridges and through winding tunnels of overarching bamboo, you would have passed a babbling fountain, two monumental Japanese stone lanterns, and a statue of Kannon, the Japanese “Goddess of Mercy.”
|Bamboo walk, photographer unknown.|
A small red, lacquered “wishing” bridge with gold and white koi glistening in the sun underneath the water would have led you to a blue-tiled tea house in the distance. Before leaving the bridge, your eyes would have been drawn to an enormous bronze Buddha sitting on a lotus blossom twenty feet in the air. You might have ended your visit by entering a gazebo covered in Confederate jasmine flowers for a few minutes of serenity in Middlegate Japanese Gardens.
|Buddha statue, Frank Evens Farwell, photographer.|
The vision for Middlegate Japanese Gardens was born after a 1924 trip to Japan by Rudolph and Lynne Watkins Hecht. Enchanted by Japanese art and gardens, the couple began creating plans for a three-acre Japanese-style garden at their summer home in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Over the next decade, the Hechts transformed their property into an oasis with the assistance of architect Rathbone DeBuys who translated Mrs. Hecht’s design ideas into formal plans.
|Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Hecht and Lynne Hecht with Mr. Odate in Miyama, Japan, May 1924, photographer unknown.|
|Left: Fountain, Sunken Garden, and guest house in background. Frank Evans Farwell, photographer, date unknown. Right: Sunken garden with steps leading to guest house after Hurricane Katrina.Lynne White, photographer.|
|Left: Tea house, photographer unknown. Right: Tea House after Hurricane Katrina. Martha Levert, photographer.|
Savannah Gignac, Intern
Archives of American Gardens