Historic Grotto Gardens Tour (7/19/23)

  Dates & times
  • Wed, 07/19/2023 - 10:00am
  Category Local Interest
  Age Groups Adult


Wednesday, July 19, 2023

10:00 AM | Location: Dayton VA Medical Center Gardens

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Grotto Gardens at Dayton VA Medical Center

Historic Grotto Gardens Tour at Dayton VA Medical Center

Join Wright Memorial Public Library for a private guided tour of the Historic Grotto Gardens located on the grounds of the Dayton VA Medical Center. Twelve spots will be available for each guided tour.

Please Note: Transportation will not be provided by Wright Library. There are areas of non-ADA compliant stone steps (placed there by the Civil War soldiers) that lead to an upper Grotto and more gardens. Please be prepared for areas of challenging terrain. Restrooms are on location but may be unavailable on the weekends.

Brief History of the Grotto Gardens

In 1868, the gardens were first started on the grounds of the newly built Central Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers by VA resident and Civil War soldier Frank Mundt. The gardens soon became a destination spot for thousands of visitors each year and was maintained by 75 full-time resident gardeners.

With the death of Civil War Veterans, the gardens fell into decline and became overgrown. Restoration of the gardens began in 2012 and the OSU Extension Montgomery County Master Gardeners joined in the project. With the help home local garden clubs, donors, and garden centers, the Grotto Gardens are once again a beautiful destination spot for visitors each year. For a more in-depth look at the Gardens, please check out the Historic Grotto Gardens handout or visit the American Veterans Heritage Center website.

Directions to the Gardens

It is best not to follow GPS directions as it will lead you to the hospital side of the campus.

  • From I-75 North or South -
    • Take 35 West to the Gettysburg Exit
    • This exit leads directly into the Dayton VA
    • (Stay in the right lane of the exit to go directly into the VA)
  • From 35 East -
    • Take the Gettysburg Exit and turn left off the exit. This is Gettysburg Avenue.
    • Go under the underpass and turn left at the light into the Dayton VA.
    • Take the first left onto Tennessee Avenue and follow this road into the Grotto Gardens Park in the marked spots or along the cul-de-sac.
  • If parking is full or you miss the turn onto Tennessee Avenue-
    • Return to the entrance road and turn left or
    • Continue up and around and turn left onto Kentucky Avenue
    • Parking is permitted on the right (south) side of the street only.
    • There is an Access Ramp at the Boathouse (looks like a gazebo).
    • Please do not park on the grass.
  • If the Gettysburg Gates Are Closed -
    • From 35 East or West, take the Liscum Drive Exit. Turn onto Liscum Drive and then into the Dayton VA. This is the hospital side of the campus.  
    • Stay right (make all right turns) and you will come into the gardens by the second pond and behind the nursing home. There are very few signs for the gardens. You will eventually be on Kentucky Avenue. Parking is permitted near the second or furthest pond or further up the hill on your left (south) side.  
    • If you discover the Gettysburg Gates are closed when you arrive, continue north on Gettysburg Avenue, turn left at the light onto Third Street, then another left onto Liscum Drive. Follow the directions as above staying right to get to the gardens.