Kay Chase, of the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers, presents a certificate of appreciation to Virginia Golden and the Four Flags Garden Club Saturday morning at the Niles Amtrak Station. In back, from left, are: garden club members Karen Persa, Anita Heemer, Phyllis Davis and Sally Hanson. Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT
Kay Chase, of the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers, presents a certificate of appreciation to Virginia Golden and the Four Flags Garden Club Saturday morning at the Niles Amtrak Station. In back, from left, are: garden club members Karen Persa, Anita Heemer, Phyllis Davis and Sally Hanson.
Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Archived Story

Four Flags Garden Club recognized for work at depot

Published 3:41pm Monday, April 22, 2013

The Four Flags Garden Club was recognized this past weekend for its work in maintaining the gardens at the Niles Amtrak Train Station.

Garden club members received a certificate from the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers Saturday at the train depot.

“Niles is one of our favorite places to come because it is such a beautiful station,” said Kay Chase, MARP communications coordinator Saturday. “They are really continuing a wonderful tradition here.”

The Four Flags Garden Club, which has 35 members, has been maintaining the gardens since 1975.

Niles resident John Gipner was responsible for creating the gardens from a barren cow pasture in 1892. He was hired by the Michigan Central Railroad to improve the appearance of the station in time for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, “The Columbian Exposition.”

The Four Flags Garden Club now carries on the tradition Gipner started. Members volunteer their time to take care of the gardens weekly from May to September.

“It is exciting for the club to be recognized for all the hard work we do,” said Sally Hanson, garden club member.

Gipner’s influence can still be seen at the depot today, including the flower display spelling “Niles.” Originally placed on the east side of the depot, the display can be seen on the west side today.

Weeping mulberry trees, an empress rose bush and “Gipner” lilies also remain on the west side of the depot.

“We enjoy keeping what John started,” said Karen Persa, garden club member.

MARP is nonprofit corporation established in 1973 to improve passenger train service, travel conditions for passengers and to work for the preservation of historic rail stations.

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