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Four Columns

Four 19-foot tall white columns make a stunning focal point on the grounds
Ever since four stately white columns were installed at the end of the Hedge Collection, people have been asking what they represent. The inspiration and mystery surrounding the columns are linked to Suzette Morton Davidson, granddaughter of the Arboretum's founder, Joy Morton.

In 1960, Suzette urged her father, Sterling Morton, to hire architect Arthur Myhrum to build the 19-foot tall columns, reminiscent of four handsome columns that divided the rooms in Suzette’s Chicago apartment. The columns are hollow and have a surface aggregate of northern Michigan dolomite to ensure a lasting white color.

Then, as today, people were intrigued by the four columns, asking what they represent.

Do the four columns remind you of four people, four seasons, or—as some have suggested—four pillars of salt? Suzette playfully invented an answer that the columns represented Joy Morton and his three brothers, Paul, Mark, and Carl. But see them for yourself. Maybe, like Suzette, you will be inspired to create your own story about this stunning focal point.