History

The Cox Arboretum Foundation was created over 50 years ago by a small group of community activists who were passionate about preserving the Dayton area's undeveloped land. Once a barren farm, the Arboretum's 189 acres now gleam as one of the region's most beautiful natural jewels, welcoming more than 650,000 visitors per year. 

Since its inception in 1963, The James M. Cox, Jr. Arboretum Foundation has strived to provide an “living museum” for the Dayton community where people of all ages can come to learn about and engage with nature. The Foundation provides financial support to Cox Arboretum MetroPark in a unique public-private partnership with Five Rivers MetroParks

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Milestones

Early 1960s

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A movement to "save open spaces" in the Dayton area gains momentum and catches the attention of Jean Mahoney, Jean Woodhull and others who are eager to take up the cause.

1962

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Jean Mahoney presents a plan to James M. Cox, Jr. to establish an arboretum on the site of his 169-acre farm.

1963

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  The James M. Cox, Jr. Arboretum Foundation becomes a legally recognized non-profit organization. Jean Mahoney is elected president of the Foundation Board of Trustees.

1965

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The Cox Arboretum Associates, a group of volunteers, are formed to raise funds for the Arboretum. 

1967

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  Cox Arboretum hires its first director, Dave Stoller.

1972

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Cox Arboretum becomes part of the Montgomery County Park District (now Five Rivers MetroParks). The Cox Arboretum Foundation serves as a supporting organization of the Arboretum. 

1979

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A new visitor center and greenhouse opens to the public.

1980

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Jean Woodhull recruits Marvin Olinsky from the New York Botanical Gardens to become Director of Cox Arboretum. Marvin is later named Director of the Montgomery County Park District (now Five Rivers MetroParks).

1994

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  The Arboretum’s new Water Garden is dedicated and nicknamed the “Jean pool” in honor of founders Jean Mahoney and Jean Woodhull.

2001

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  Children’s Maze dedicated.

2002

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    Founders Society established, a group of high-impact donors who support the Arboretum’s long-term Master Plan.

2003

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  The Zorniger Education Center—30,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art facility—opens to the public.

2004

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  Internationally acclaimed landscape architect Francois Goffinet hired to create a Master Plan for the Arboretum grounds. 

2009

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  The Maimon Memorial Garden is dedicated. 

2010

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  Iris Garden dedicated.

2012

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The Margaret Hong Peony Memorial Garden is planted and the Tree Tower opens to the public.

2013

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    Happy 50th Anniversary Cox Arboretum!

2014

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New Arbor installed. 

2015

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    Niehaus Lilac and Magnolia Collection officially established.

2016

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   The Barbara Cox Center for Sustainable Horticulture opens to the public, in May.

2016

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Half a mile ADA accessible permeable paver Loop Path completed and ADA Monet bridge installed.

2018

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New Allée planted.