Heritage Gardeners began as a limited group, meeting in homes, back in 1966, and was “federated” as a member of the state and national organizations in June of that year. Soon after, Cecil Brown, Sr., son of Frank J. Brown, a founder of the Friendswood community, donated property to the organization for the reconstruction of the Brown’s original home built in 1895. With Pete Workman serving as superintendent of the project, and with the aid and support of many members of the community as well as the club members, the Frank J. Brown Heritage Museum and Garden Center was replicated on the donated property at 108 Skyview.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held September 19, 1970, and dedicated April 3, 1971. The replicated home is now known as the Frank J. Brown Heritage Museum, and it was officially opened to the public onJuly 3, 1971.
For many years the Frank J. Brown Heritage Museum and Garden Center served as “home” for the garden club. But, after more than a decade the club separated the functions of garden club from that of maintaining a museum. In the mid-80’s, Heritage Gardeners club members began looking for another “home” for the club and its many activities. Space was needed; the club had continued to grow.
In the spring of 1989, the Heritage Gardeners purchased the present “home site,” 112 West Spreading Oaks, and turned it into the Marie Workman Garden Center and Briscoe Gardens. The building had been abandoned for some time, and it was an eyesore among waist-high weeds. With the physical labor of the club members and their families, and with the monetary assistance of both club members and many non-members in the community, the old home, was renovated and transformed into a new home for the Heritage Gardeners. A home that reflects the interests of the Club . . . it is surrounded by beautiful gardens which are open to the community, and provide a living demonstration of the lessons of horticulture, landscaping, and civic improvement nurtured by the club.
It should not be surprising that links with the club’s past are firmly intertwined in its present….This home of the garden club was originally built in the early 1940’s by Cecil Brown, son of the city’s founder, Frank Brown, for his son and daughter-in-law, Cecil Jr. and Mary Baker Brown. Our heritage is a circle unbroken..
The Marie Workman Garden Center and (Ed and Ruby) Briscoe Gardens were dedicated in outdoor ceremonies in June 1992. TheGardenCenter was named in honor of a founding club member, who remained active and dedicated to the organization until her death in Feb. 1991. The Briscoe’s provided all the exterior renovations to the home, making it possible for the club to complete the job.
Both the Heritage Gardeners and its counterpart-club Junior Gardeners meet in the club home each month. And work goes on, year-round, in preparation for the club’s annual Christmas Home
and Spring Garden tours. Proceeds from these two activities support the upkeep of the Garden Center and Gardens, as well as many other civic projects, including grounds upkeep of the Frank
J. Brown Heritage Museum and donations used in the restoration of the Perry Home, located across the street from the Garden Center.
In 1996, the Club provided the renovation/restoration of the Glines Barber Shop, another of Friendswood’s historical landmarks, as a gift to the Historical Society.
By the spring of 1999, the ground under the garden center had settled, causing damage inside and outside the building. In the summer of 1999, the entire building was raised 2 feet and leveled. The old concrete patio and steps were replaced with a new design in flagstone. New carpet was installed after extensive interior and exterior carpentry work and painting. Our gazebo was moved from the BrownMuseum to ourBriscoeGardens.
In May of 2001, the Heritage Gardeners awarded its first Heritage Gardeners College Scholarship to a graduating high school senior. The recipient was chosen from applications received from
Friendswood and Clear Brook High School seniors, who were seeking a degree in horticulture, floriculture, landscape design, or another related degree, from an accredited two or four year college.
In 2002, the Heritage Gardeners replaced the storage shed with a new garden pavilion. In addition, new wallpaper and flooring was installed in the GardenCenter.