skip navigation and jump to page content The Library of CongressThe American Folklife Center 
Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies
Stream over rocks with waterfall
Summer Waterfall - O Taki  . Photo courtesy Anderson Gardens

Anderson's Japanese Gardens

Anderson Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, is a ten-acre formal Japanese garden complete with cascading waterfalls, ponds, streams rock formations, winding lanes, and a tea house and guest house built in the authentic sukiya style. The gardens are designed to allow guests to reflect on the tranquil beauty of nature and to instill serenity. The gardens, which receive 20,000 to 25,000 visitors annually, have gained an international reputation for their superb design and maintenance. Many guests have communicated through cards and letters their thoughts and emotions regarding the profound impact their visits had upon them.

The gardens were the vision of John R. Anderson, president of Anderson Enterprises, and landscape architect Hoichi Kurisu. After viewing the Japanese Garden in Washington Park, Portland, Oregon, John Anderson was awestruck. He located the garden's designer, Mr. Kurisu, and persuaded him to create a similar landscape on a five-ace wooded lot behind his Rockford home. Kurisu's inspiration for the garden derived from his firsthand experience with both Japanese and American cultures. He decided not to replicate distinct Japanese period gardens but to draw from the essences of famous individual Japanese gardens to create the Anderson Gardens. Kurisu's goal was to design a beautiful and serene environment that would deeply touch visitors, who would come away feeling refreshed, and feeling better about themselves and their world.

Garden paths are intimate and curvaceous, bringing the visitor to beautiful new vistas. Placed amongst authentically pruned trees are Japanese lanterns and statuary, which were gifts from visiting Japanese dignitaries. In 1992, John Anderson was recognized for his outstanding work in promoting international friendship and mutual understanding between the United States and Japan with a commemorative silver cup from the Japanese government. Educational programs at the Anderson Gardens cover the language, arts, and culture of Japan, and since 1995, the gardens have hosted Rockford's Annual Festive Celebration of Japanese Arts, which includes formal tea ceremonies, ikebana and calligraphy demonstrations, and bonsai displays. In 1998, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson donated the gardens to a nonprofit organization.

Documentation includes a legacy report, photos, slides, and newspaper article.

Originally submitted by: Donald A. Manzullo, Representative (16th District).

link to www.loc.govMore Local Legacies...

The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

disclaimer for external linksLearn More About It...
  The Library of Congress 
The American Folklife Center
Contact Us
AFC Icon