Kingwood Center develops and displays exemplary gardens on the former estate of Charles Kelley King for the pleasure and education of its constituents. Auxiliary activities and programs are offered to support and to accentuate the enjoyment and understanding of the gardens and horticulture.
Built in 1926 for Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kelley King, the 47-acre estate opened as a public garden in 1953, one year after Mr. King's death. Mr. King, who was married and divorced twice, never had children. He left most of his estate to the private foundation that continues to operate Kingwood Center today. Mr. King made his fortune in Mansfield, Ohio working with the Ohio Brass Company. Hired as the company's first electrical engineer in 1893, he led Ohio Brass into new ventures, particularly the manufacture of electrical fittings for railroads and trolleys. Mr. King eventually became President and Chairman of the Board of Ohio Brass.
The King home was designed by prominent Cleveland architect Clarence Mack, who made a career of building fashionable homes in Lakewood and Shaker Heights, Ohio and in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Displaced by the Great Depression, Mack began a second successful career in 1935 designing residences in and around Palm Beach, Florida. Today the King home is used, as Mr. King directed, to house a horticultural library and the administrative offices of Kingwood Center. Much of the main floor, however, is on display in a manner similar to its original arrangement with many of Mr. King's furnishings.