The Thomasville Garden Club was organized in 1914 "to cultivate flowers, to create civic pride; to add to the beauty that nature has already so bountifully given us; to make Thomasville a more lovely place in which to live, and to foster in our children a love of the beautiful.”
The Rose Show History
Thomasville’s Annual Rose Show, a standard flower show co-sponsored by Thomasville Garden Club and Thomasville Rose Society, began in 1921, with the first show being held in Neel’s Department Store. With that small beginning, the Rose Show grew into one of the most outstanding flower shows in the country. It was publicized in major publications such as Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens. On at least two occasions, roses have been sent to NBC’s Today Show, where they were displayed and discussed.
The Thomasville Rose Show and Thomasville Garden Club Standard Flower Show continued to be held jointly until 2006. In March 2007, the Thomasville Garden Club Standard Flower Show was held at the Garden Center. Thomasville Rose Society continues to hold their flower show on the fourth Friday of April of each year with a ribbon cutting featuring Thomasville’s Rose Queen.
A complete history of the Rose Show can be found in the Garden Center Library.
The Big Oak
The Big Oak is a large live oak (Quercus virginiana) located in Thomasville, Georgia at the corner of Crawford Street and Monroe Street. As one of the earliest trees registered with the Live Oak Society, the Big Oak is one of many historic landmarks located in Thomasville. Registered by P.C. Andrews in 1936, the Big Oak was the forty-ninth Live Oak registered, and at the time, had a girth of 21 feet, 6 inches.
The Big Oak once received a distinguished visitor in 1958. On a hunting visit to Thomasville with colleague George M. Humphrey, Dwight Eisenhower stopped by to take a photograph of the tree on his way to the airport. The President reportedly asked his driver to stop while he took a photograph. He then exited the vehicle, stood on the porch of Mrs. Rudolph Keyton, took his photograph, and returned to his car.
In 1982 the Big Oak property was dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth Ireland Poe. The property is now known as the Elizabeth Ireland Poe Park. It was long a dream of Mrs. Pansey Poe that the entire area would be utilized by the widest spectrum of the community. Indeed, the site has been used in just that way. With everything from weddings and religious services to investiture services for Girl Scouts, the Big Oak has been the scene for political speeches, picnics, concerts, and more recently, the finish area for the popular Rose City Run!
The Big Oak and Gazebo bring the gifts of the past to the people of the present, along with a challenge to preserve those things which we have been taught to hold dear. The City of Thomasville’s Visitors Center has placed a webcam on the property and visitors can photograph themselves with the famous tree.