In his will, Mr. Jenkins directed that the property become a "public park, arboretum, and wildlife sanctuary for the study of arboriculture, horticulture, and wildlife for educational and scientific purposes.”
In 1972, Mrs. Louisa P. Browning, owner of the adjoining property, donated her 26 acres, expanding the size of the Arboretum to 46 acres. The Browning property, including a house designed by the renowned Main Line architect R. Brognard Okie, is currently in a private area of the Arboretum. The private areas will continue to be developed and may one day be open for public visitation.
In the early 1970’s, several steps were taken to create a botanical garden. Trails were created, a pond was installed, a visitor’s center was constructed, native trees, shrubs and wildflowers were planted and of course, a plan was developed to feature rhododendrons and azaleas. It wasn’t until 1976, however, that Mr. Jenkins’ vision was realized when his 20-acre property officially opened to the public and became known as Jenkins Arboretum.
Over the next several decades, major changes involved the construction of a modern, energy efficient greenhouse and the establishment of the Hamilton Educational Fellowship. The implementation of the Fellowship along with the addition of full-time horticulture staff, internships and a volunteer program have allowed the Arboretum expand the botanical collections.