Conceptualized by local sculptor, James T. Mason and established in 1988, the garden was created by Mason and his wife Elaine and a team of city gardeners. A pond and a hill were installed in the Park in 1989 represent Paris’s River Seine and in 1998 a chateau-style gatehouse was built to complement the last remaining building from the nearby Ohio Deaf School campus. The Gatehouse features a new Visitor’s Center, restrooms, and a gift shop.
Once the site of the Historic Deaf School and Old Deaf School Park, seven acres that the Topiary Park sits on were first established in 1829 and included several school buildings. When the School relocated to Columbus’s north side in 1953, the neighborhood declined, however, saw a renaissance in the mid-1970s and was designated a historic district in the early 1980s. The Old Deaf School Park was also preserved and developed as a public park and flourished into the botanical treasure it is today.
While the topiary is the most remarkable aspect of the park, The Topiary Park is a beautifully landscaped living work of art with more than 220 trees, mature shrubs, carefully tended flower beds and winding walkways. Visitors can take in this extraordinary garden from a bronze plaque that highlights the original viewpoint of Seurat’s masterpiece, or they can wander among the living yew tree sculptures, joining them in their sunbathing, picnicking, and general enjoyment as in the painting.