By Corinne (Tilden)
After just over a
year’s work, the William G. and Margaret E. Tilden Memorial Garden was
dedicated with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony and opened for the community
to enjoy on midday Friday at Hawthorne Park in Porter.
Many Tilden family
members, along with local town officials and community members were in
attendance. Th]e project was made possible by a bequest from William “Bud”
Tilden to the Town of Porter for beautification in honor of his parents.
Bud, described as
“something of a mythical character” by Director of Parks for the Town of
Porter, Brian M. Bugajski, was a long-time Porter resident and served on the
Porter Town Council, Plan Commission, Park Board and Board of Zoning
Appeals. “I cannot count the number of times town employees or citizens have
said, ‘there is something Bud did’ or ‘the reason that is in place is
because Bud made it happen’. His impact, like the entire Tilden family, has
been great on this town and for that we are thankful”, said Bugajski. He so
loved his town and parks, he willed $5,000 upon his death in February 2011.
garden, located at the west end of Hawthorne Park, features a solar powered
Vesuvius fountain, four benches to sit and observe the garden’s beauty, a
plaque which reads “Dedicated 2015, William G. and Margaret E. Tilden
Garden. Made Possible by a bequest from son William E. ‘Bud’ Tilden,” a
circular pathway surrounded by native plantings, and authentic Porter Brick
from the Porter Brickyard. Over 400 bricks were donated by Linda Brolsma of
Porter, who saved the bricks when her home’s foundation was replaced years
ago. The plantings include aromatic sumac (not poisonous), brilliant red
chokeberry, yellow-flowering stellas, several varieties of hostas, and eight
different types of lilies. Two of which.
the daylilies “Bud Tilden” and “Hawthorne Park.”
were grown from seed and named specifically for use in the garden by Paulene Poparad.
The garden has
utilized a location that pre-dates the Tilden name in Porter. The sidewalk
and raised concrete ring around the outside of the garden are the remnants
of an original feature of Hawthorne Park created in the late 1930s as part
of President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” by the Works Progress
Administration. The garden base, a large concrete bowl, originally served as
a wading pool until the mid-60s when it was filled in and became a giant
planter maintained by the Porter Garden Club.
for this project was donated by Sara Tilden and Jim Ruge and original
drawing and technical guidance was provided by Scott Virtue of Virtue
Architects. Plants and materials were provided by Chesterton Feed & Garden
Center, Hobart Paving, Bedrock & Boulder, Kovenz Memorial, Reed’s Nursery,
and Hopkins’ ACE Hardware. Duneland residents Will Rippe and Brenda
Brueckheimer, Porter Public Works Superintendent also donated materials.
Margaret Tilden were both born in Northwest Indiana, in 1910 and 1912
respectively, and were married December 14, 1928. Shortly after moving to
Porter in 1945 the Tildens purchased the Porter Feed & Supply Store in early
1946 (now the location of Santiago’s on Lincoln Street) and renamed it
Tilden Feed & Supply Company. In addition to owning and operating Tilden
Feed & Supply, William worked in the billet mill of U.S. Steel for 40 years,
retiring in 1966. In addition to operating the feed store with the help of
the family, Margaret was a member of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 503 and
the treasurer of the Foxy Deers (the ladies auxiliary of the Porter County
Conservation Club). They raised six children here in Porter, Marjorie,
William “Bud”, Paul, George, Kathryn, and James. Margaret Tilden passed away
in 1973 at the age of 59. William retired a second time shortly after her
passing, this time from the Feed store in 1974. At the time of his death in
1987, William and Margaret had the aforementioned six children, but also 20
grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Both are interred at Calumet
Park Cemetery in Merrillville.
There are many
Tilden family members living throughout the Duneland area, and running local
businesses such as Tilden Enterprises, Pat’s Liquors, and Tilden & Tilden
Attorneys at Law.