There are a few spots in the United States that feature ornate Old World architecture akin to the grandest castles and cathedrals in Europe. One stately Old World structure that often catches visitors by surprise is the carillon tower situated in Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida. The 205-foot tower looks like a spire from a 19th century church. The tower houses an angelic instrument called a carillon that features a series of bells that are operated by a keyboard. A carillon player entertains Bok Tower Gardens visitors each afternoon.
Bok Tower Gardens was founded by editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward William Bok. Bok was born in the Netherlands, and arrived in the United States at age six. Bok worked tirelessly to become a celebrated author and magazine editor. Bok and his wife Mary Louise Curtis Bok wanted to create a lovely, relaxing space that would inspire the American public to beautify the world around them at every turn.
Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted—who is best known for his contributions to the visionary team who constructed Central Park in New York City—designed a luscious garden that features ferns, palms, and an array of flowering trees and plants such as magnolias. Over 126 species of birds have been spotted at Bok Tower Gardens. Winding nature trails allow visitors to view regular controlled burns that ensure that the area’s delicate savanna-like ecosystem remains in balance. The Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden offers water jets. art projects, and plenty of spots for kids to climb and run. Pinewood Estate—a mansion built in the 1930s for businessman Charles Austin Buck—is open for tours. Bok Tower Gardens is a lovely oasis of elegance and unparalleled natural beauty. Edward William Bok certainly fulfilled his mission to inspire others to make the world a more beautiful place.