The late Anna Mattes loved gardening and played a major role in the beautification of Ottawa. She was a founding member of the Ottawa Garden Club and a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener.
Anna worked especially hard for many years to maintain the natural beauty of Washington Park, the site of the first Lincoln-Douglas Debate in 1858 and a National Historic District.
Mayor Eschbach remembers, “Anna had a beautiful vision for Ottawa and she spent much of her lifetime working to make Ottawa a special place full of beautiful flowers, plants and trees. I especially remember and value her hard work and leadership in beautifying Washington Square. We all deeply miss her.”
Anna’s many friends and those who appreciated her work to make Ottawa a beautiful place are creating Anna’s Fund, a memorial fund which will be used to support significant Ottawa gardening projects. In recognition of Anna’s special interest in Washington Park, the first project supported by Anna’s Fund will be the renovation this Spring of the gardens around the Lincoln-Douglas statues and fountain in the center of Washington Square. While the planning of these redone garden areas is still underway, it is expected that at least one of the garden areas will have a pollinator theme, reflecting Anna’s interest in building habitat designed to encourage the Monarch Butterfly.
Those wishing to contribute to Anna’s Fund may do so by making their checks payable to the “City of Ottawa”, writing “Anna’s Fund” in the memo section of their checks and sending their donation to the Ottawa City Hall, 301 West Madison Street, Ottawa, IL 61350.