Free Bellingrath admission Aug. 6 celebrates founder
Founder’s Day is Sunday, August 6, at Bellingrath Gardens and Home. By tradition, Bellingrath Gardens and Home celebrates (pictured) Mr. Bellingrath’s birthday on August 6 by admitting residents of Mobile and Baldwin Counties at no charge.
“Over 85 years ago, Walter Bellingrath opened the Gardens to the citizens of Mobile,” said Dr. William E. Barrick, Executive Director of Bellingrath Gardens and Home. “To honor his birthday, we are offering free admission to the citizens of Mobile and Baldwin Counties. Even though we are in the heat of summer, his Gardens are lush and full of color.”
The Founder’s Day tradition dates back to 1949, when Mr. Bellingrath invited local residents to come and enjoy the Gardens as part of his 80th birthday celebration. Admission to the Gardens is free to all Mobile and Baldwin County residents on Aug. 6, but there is an additional charge of $9 to tour the Bellingrath Museum Home.
During the month of August, Bellingrath Gardens and Home is also offering an Anniversary Special, a discount rate to those touring the Gardens and the beautiful Bellingrath Home. Throughout the month, Gardens and Home tickets for adults are $16.50 (regular fee: $21), and Gardens and Home tickets for ages 5-12 are $11.50 (regular fee: $13).
Born in Atlanta on August 6, 1869, Bellingrath was Mobile’s first Coca-Cola bottler. He and his wife, Bessie, created Bellingrath Gardens from a former fishing camp along the Fowl River, which Bellingrath purchased in 1917. The Bellingraths opened the Gardens to the public for the first time on April 7, 1932.
“Those few of you who have felt the satisfaction of celebrating an 80th birthday with friends and neighbors will understand the gratification which I shall enjoy in having you visit the Gardens and join in observing the occasion with me,’’ wrote Mr. Bellingrath in an open invitation published in The Mobile Press on Aug. 6, 1949.
The day was declared “Walter Bellingrath Day” in Mobile.