Scenic USA - Florida

Bok Tower Gardens

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Bok Tower - Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales, Florida

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography

   Edward Bok was only six years old when his family said goodbye to Tower Entrance Door - Bok Tower, Lake Wales, Florida the Netherlands and immigrated to the United States. His grandmother said goodbye and left young Edward with the thoughts of making his new world a better and more beautiful place. Even though the Bok family initially struggled just to make ends meet, Edward Bok eventually became a wealthy magazine editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
   Almost sixty years later, Bok began to fulfill the dream that his grandmother had planted long ago. Bok Tower - Lake Wales, Florida The starting place was the beautiful Iron Mountain, near Bok's winter home on Lake Wales Ridge in south-central Florida. The unusual centerpiece for his gardens was a 205 foot carillon tower. One of the finest in the world, the bell tower is covered in marble and coquina stone, and houses 60 bronze bells weighing over 60 tons. The smallest bell weighs in at 16 pounds and the largest, 11 tons. The keyboard is housed about two-thirds of the way up in the tower and has mechanical connections to the bells. Bell expression (volume) is accomplished by the amount of force applied. Concerts from the 60-bell carillon fill the gardens every day.
   The surrounding Tower Clock - Bok Tower, Lake Wales, Florida Bok Tower Gardens were designed by world famous landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted Junior. Olmsted supervised the planting of thousands of live oaks, azaleas, sabal palms, magnolia trees, and camellias. Garden paths wind throughout the 250 acre site and lead to a variety of hidden recesses, tranquil resting spots, and woodland settings. Completed in 1929, Bok Tower was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge. Unable to enjoy his dream very long, Bok died the following year and was interred at the base of the tower.
   Today the magnificent Bok Gardens are open to the public. A museum and exhibit hall offer a wonderful overview of Bok's life and Florida's Lake Wales Ridge. The Pinewood Estate and Pine Ridge Reserve are more areas of interest at Historic Bok Tower Gardens.

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