Wells Japanese Garden
The Wells Japanese Garden has recently undergone Phase I of renovations which include improvements to the ponds and added landscaping. Phase II, which will include a new entry area and pathways should be completed by June of 2022. Admission is FREE to this intimate well manicured serene retreat. This small park is ideal for reflection and meditation. If you have any questions please call the City of Newberry Park's office at 803-321-1015.
The Wells Japanese Garden is a Newberry landmark that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Designed by W. Fulmer Wells, an architecture graduate, and largely implemented by his father Henry B. Wells, Sr. the garden is an excellent example of both a historic designed and a vernacular landscape. It is exemplary because it was designed by a trained professional in a recognized style, and vernacular because it was crafted by people using local materials, making their own forms and collecting plant materials.
The garden is located at 1608 Lindsay St. behind Newberry's City Hall. A triangular site, it is situated at the base of a hill next to Scott's Creek. Originally, it was part of a larger parcel with the Wells family house at the crest of the hill on Harrington Street and primary access to the garden was from the house through other garden spaces.
The garden features a Temple, Torri Gate, Moon Bridge and Tea House. The posts of the Tea House originally held up the balcony at the Newberry Opera House prior to renovation of that structure in 1930. The site was totally closed off during World War II because of vandalism for being a Japanese style garden. The Wells Japanese Garden has been a City park since 1970. Reportedly, the Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco influenced Fulmer Wells when he was studying in California.