England on the prairiePhotos and story by Ross Dolan/The Daily Republic
WESSINGTON SPRINGS -- Tucked into a hillside on the west side of Wessington Springs, Shakespeare Garden features a replica of the cottage of Anne Hathaway, wife of English playwright William Shakespeare.
The original is in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, hometown of “The Bard.”
The garden was built in 1927 and the cottage in 1932, by Emma Shay, an English teacher at the former Wessington Springs junior college, and her husband, Clark Shay. The college was demolished in 1970, but the gardens remain.
The garden deteriorated over the years but was reclaimed, with the help of a grant, in time for the state’s 1989 centennial celebration.
The cottage, built in the Tudor post-and-beam style of Shakespeare’s day, features a genuine thatched roof, which was completed by master thatcher Cecil White in 1995. The roof has an expected 50-year life, said Diane Winter, who is pictured in this photo from last weekend, in the background, with fellow board member Kathy Dean, shown holding a shovel.
“Reclamation and maintenance is an ongoing project,” Dean said.
This summer -- at 7 p.m. every Thursday -- the garden will feature concerts by local musicians, preceded by a light dinner at 6 p.m. Concerts are free, but there is a small fee for dinner. Concertgoers are asked bring their own lawn chair or blanket.
The cottage will be open to visitors before and after each concert.