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Santa Fe Garden Club Revitalizes Amelia White Historic Park


September 21, 2023

A neglected urban gem is restored to its original splendor

With teamwork and tenacity, the Santa Fe Garden Club (SFGC) continues to revitalize the historic Amelia White Park located in Santa Fe’s historic Eastside neighborhood. The club’s vision is to bring the park’s hardscape back to its original splendor, while enhancing the landscape with native, pollinator friendly, drought tolerant plants. 
This three-acre “urban gem” was originally part of the vast El Delirio estate, purchased in the 1920s by illustrious socialite sisters, Martha and Amelia White. Rumor has it that when they moved to Santa Fe, the sisters’ motto was to “Do Good, Be Strong and Party On.”
Sadly, Martha passed away unexpectedly in 1937. Amelia, while grief stricken, carried on. She lived to 93 and sustained their motto by doing lots of good AND partying on! She was a passionate advocate for Pueblo Indian rights, a promoter of Indian art, and an activist for the preservation of Santa Fe’s history. Her home was the setting for concerts, costume parties, and theatrical shows. She also supported the GCA’s early efforts to protect the giant redwoods in California and was honored as a GCA member-at-large.
In 1966, Amelia deeded three acres of her land to the city of Santa Fe and stipulated that it be used solely as a public park. The park was aptly named the Amelia White Park.
In 2022, SFGC, inspired by the GCA’s Olmstead 200 initiative, formulated a plan to honor Frederick Law Olmstead’s legacy to create open spaces accessible to all. They immediately turned their attention to the beautiful, yet neglected, Amelia White Park.
The club enlisted a team of dedicated organizations, including Santa Fe’s Parks Department, the Santa Fe Master Gardeners and other civic groups such as the Museum Hill Partners, the Xerces and Audubon Societies. This collaboration showed what could be accomplished when public and private sectors work together. 
SFGC donated funds raised from their annual Behind Adobe Walls Garden Tours to support the initial restoration effort. They re-stuccoed the courtyard planters and reinvigorated the landscape. Their innovative approach to park restoration included water conservation, installation of beneficial plants, and wildlife habitats. 
On June 16, 2023, the club hosted a celebration of the “reimagining” of the Amelia White Park’s central courtyard. This was the first phase of the park’s transformation. Going forward, the club plans to form an expanded community steering committee to oversee the completion of the park's restoration and protect this charming historic space for future generations.
Thanks to the inspired ladies of the Santa Fe Garden Club and the city of Santa Fe, the White sisters’ legacy lives on. Stay Strong, Keep Doing Good and Party On, ladies!



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