Significant history about people and institutions in Johnston County and the Chickasaw Nation is presented in Genesis of the Sunken Gardens at Murray State College, a new publication issued today by the college in Tishomingo.
Dr. Clyde R. Kindell has written an engaging first-person account about leading the complex water abatement and beautification project, known as the sunken gardens, while president of Murray State College from 1967-1994.
Barbara W. Sessions, a former Regent of the college and a journalist, added in-depth feature stories with current and historic photos about the lives and times of the individuals and entities for whom the four gardens are named.
They include Ruth Walker Landrum, Milburn; Smokey Tolbert, Troy; Richard M. McCool and Clive E. Murray, former presidents of the college; and the Chickasaw Nation, whose capital city is Tishomingo.
Kindell, age 86 and residing with his wife Joan in Denison, Texas, termed “near miracles” the confluence of generous benefactors and events that brought about the gardens, which were built at intervals throughout his 27 years as president.
“I thought if I did not record it, the future generations would not be able to appreciate some of the rich history of Murray State College and, particularly, the personalities that were involved in making the history.”
Attractive rock and granite from the Tishomingo area comprise the masonry floors and walls of most of the gardens. Madill artisan Charles Dewberry constructed them from designs by landscape architect Forrest L. Johns of Oklahoma State University.
Functionally, the sunken gardens collect and rapidly drain rain runoff that otherwise was flooding the campus.
Without solving the drainage problem, Kindell wrote, “it would have been impossible to add future facilities. Nothing has been more dramatic than the sunken gardens in changing the physical appearance of the campus.”
Genesis of the Sunken Gardens at Murray State College is a full-color, 48-page, soft-cover book that serves as both a guide for visitors to the sunken gardens and a vital history about the campus and region.
The publication is sold in campus bookstores and at the Murray on Main retail store on Main Street in Tishomingo. College president Joy McDaniel states that sales proceeds will go toward college scholarships.