In the middle of Corona Del Mar, directly on the busy Pacific Coast Highway, is the serene setting of Sherman Library and Gardens. The property is set on over two acres and is an oasis for the senses. The Gardens are arranged to present plant specimens in their natural climates. There is a large collection of rare cacti and succulents in a desert setting as well as a tropical greenhouse with beautiful orchids, ferns and other jungle plants. To add to this scene is a calming koi pond. A number of garden beds change with seasonal plantings which brings a wonderful variety of color throughout the year. There are benches in all areas, allowing visitors to sit, relax and observe, as well as listen to the soothing sounds of fountains. One garden has been especially planned for blind and wheelchair visitors with easy access and planted with a variety of flora chosen not only for appearance but for the senses of touch and smell.
Part of the property was once a retail nursery, and in 1955, Arnold D. Haskell purchased it to use as the location for his Orange County office. There was a small adobe house on site that he planned on utilizing. Haskell began landscaping the surrounding area for his personal pleasure. Several years later, the original nursery area was being used as a community service project by the Newport Harbor Service League selling pastries and refreshments. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, Haskell expanded his vision -increasing the property to its present acreage and laying out the gardens to be open to the public. The original buildings were remodeled to include a gift shop, offices, the Library, conservatory and central patio building. In naming the Library and Gardens, he chose to honor his mentor and benefactor, Moses H. Sherman (1853 to 1932) – an educator and California pioneer.
The Sherman Library is an historical research center devoted to the study of the Pacific Southwest. It has collected a substantial amount of materials including books, pamphlets, maps, photographs and reels of microfilm (which includes back issues of the Los Angeles Times since 1881) along with thousands of papers and documents. The Library’s goal has been to assemble materials to support and enlighten the remarkable development of this region in the United States. Visitors from students to authors are welcome to utilize the many sources in the Library for their research. As the Library is not a lending one, all materials remain on site. The building itself, is a delight. Built originally as a house, remodeled as offices and then a library, it still retains its “homey” origins.
Many events take place on the grounds of the Sherman Library and Gardens including tours, horticultural lectures, and weddings! The on-site Café Jardin offers lunch during the week and Sunday brunches are added during the summers. Surrounded by windows, with views of the gardens, it is a wonderful venue for a midday meal. There is also a gift shop offering a variety of books, paper goods, cards, soaps and more.
Haskell’s dream of providing the surrounding communities with beauty, as well as an educational and cultural center is a visual and cerebral gift for the visitor.
Sherman Library and Gardens
2647 East Pacific Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
Garden phone: (949) 673-2261
Garden Hours: Mon-Sun 10:30 am to 4:00 pm (check if there are special events scheduled)
Library phone: (949) 673-1880
Library Hours: Tue, Wed, Thu 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Café Jardin: Mon-Fri 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Sunday Brunch in summers 11:00 am to 2:30 p, (Reservations suggested)
Café Jardin phone: (949) 673-0033
Closed on New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
Admission: Adult $3, Children 12-16 $1, Under 12 is Free
Parking lot is located behind the Gardens and is free for visitors
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