Late Libertyville resident honored for effort to revive sunken garden

  • Relatives and well-wishers gather Wednesday at the sunken garden at Butler Lake Park in Libertyville to honor the late-Valerie Carlson, whose efforts helped revive the popular spot.

      Relatives and well-wishers gather Wednesday at the sunken garden at Butler Lake Park in Libertyville to honor the late-Valerie Carlson, whose efforts helped revive the popular spot. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • Valerie Carlson, who died in early 2015, lived in a house bordering Butler Lake Park. On her retirement in 2008, she began tending and improving the park's sunken garden, which had fallen into disrepair.

      Valerie Carlson, who died in early 2015, lived in a house bordering Butler Lake Park. On her retirement in 2008, she began tending and improving the park's sunken garden, which had fallen into disrepair. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • Suzanne Liermann was among the relatives and well-wishers who gathered Wednesday at the sunken garden at Butler Lake Park in Libertyville to honor her late mother, Valerie Carlson, whose efforts helped revive the popular spot.

      Suzanne Liermann was among the relatives and well-wishers who gathered Wednesday at the sunken garden at Butler Lake Park in Libertyville to honor her late mother, Valerie Carlson, whose efforts helped revive the popular spot. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/23/2016 6:01 PM

Relatives fondly speculated that Wednesday's misty, cool weather was just what the late Valerie Carlson would have ordered for a special ceremony in her honor at the garden she so loved.

Nearly two dozen well-wishers, including several village officials, gathered at the restored sunken garden and limestone wall in Butler Lake Park to unveil a plaque honoring the Bristol, England, native and longtime Libertyville resident.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I don't know what to say -- it looks so great," her daughter, Suzanne Liermann, said of the rustic setting. "I wish she would have seen it as nice as it is."

Carlson, who died in early 2015, lived in a house bordering the scenic park abutting Lake Street. On her retirement in 2008, she began tending and improving the garden, which had fallen into disrepair.

"She brought it back to life. She really did," said David Thornborough, assistant superintendent of parks.

But the 370-foot semicircular wall, painstakingly built piece by piece of natural-faced limestone about 75 years ago, was weathered and damaged.

Last year, Eagle Scout candidate Logan Clark decided to pursue the renovation. With contributions from the village and contractor Mike Graham, the old wall was unearthed and stabilized, leveled and cleaned, a project Graham estimated at a value of $40,000. The work was complete about a year ago.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It was like modern-day archaeology," said Graham, who was on hand for the plaque unveiling. "They don't build these walls anymore. They're difficult to maintain and put together."

Village Trustee Jay Justice suggested a plaque might be in order. Language was carefully crafted and the unveiling timed so Carlson's son, Wally, and his wife, Caroline, from Coral Gables, Florida, could be there.

"This is the best I've ever seen it," said Wally. "Whenever we talked on the phone, she said how much she enjoyed it."

The plaque says Carlson's nurturing helped make the sunken garden, a popular spot for photos, a special place in town for all to enjoy.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.