Free Admission Friday at Brooklyn Botanical Garden - see INFO below. When Brooklyn Botanic Garden was founded more than a century ago, New York City area was quickly being developed into a cityscape of buildings and paved roads. Creating a public garden was one way to ensure that some green space remained. Today, the Garden has come to represent the very best in urban gardening and horticultural display. Here are some highlights of the Garden's history, illustrated with photos from the archives. 1897 New York State legislation reserves 39 acres for a botanic garden. Today, the Garden comprises 52 acres. 1910 Garden founded with botanist Charles Stuart Gager as director. The Olmsted Brothers firm laid out the original site plan. Early Construction Grading the land for the southern part of the garden with horse team, 1916. Photo by Louis Buhle. 1911 Brooklyn Botanic Garden officially opens on May 13. Original Native Flora Garden (at the time called the Local Flora Section) laid out. BBGs first display garden was conceived to showcase and conserve native plants. Its original form was designed by BBGs first director, Norman Taylor, a research taxonomist, and included wildflower beds arranged systematically by plant family and evolutionary relationship. 1912 Harold Caparn appointed the Garden's landscape architect. Caparn would go on to design much of the grounds over the next three decades. 1914 Children's Garden program begins. One of the first programs of its kind, this one-acre vegetable garden offers a place where city children can grow their own food plants. More Info below.