221 Bradford Street

Garden of Angels

221 Bradford Street, from midblock. [2018, Dunlap]

221 Bradford Street, from the street. [2018, Dunlap]

Text last updated on 12 November 2016 | You might not know it to look at this plain, cinder-block, two-car garage, but the “Garden of Angels” cultivated by John F. Crave Jr., who lived next door at 225 Bradford Street, could be found in the back of this parcel. Let his daughter, Patty Crave Floyd, tell the story of what happened after her father and his second wife, Jane, purchased the lot from Marine Specialties in 1994.

“He and ma cut down every tree on that property and transformed it into a beautiful garden using blocks from the inside of the garage. He made pathways and blocked out a large vegetable garden, with flower gardens all around the sides. At the back, he built a patio and then a fish pond. It was common for me to come down on a summer day and find them both out in that garden planting, clipping, digging, and moving plants around. Dad called it his ‘Garden of Angels.’ Even my granddaughter got into the dirt with them, planting the seeds for the biggest sunflowers around town. At 6 or 7 years old, she commented to me, ‘This gardening and planting stuff is hard work, Grammie.’ One thing she loved to do was to help her great-grandparents plant their famous garden that practically fed the neighborhood, and always supplied kale for kale soup through the winter months.

“Sadly, after dad passed away, my daughter and I tried to maintain the gardens, and did for a while until ma got sick. Then we were constantly by her side as she battled her many illnesses. But she still wanted some tomatoes from the garden. My son-in-law tilled the soil and we tried, never having quite the hand at it that dad did, but enough to make ma happy. Since ma passed away, my daughter and I are now trying to bring things back to life at 225 and 221 Bradford Street. I am hoping for a garden this year [2013]. Our new tenant is from Ohio. He looks forward to working in the garden. He is a good fit for this place, my childhood home. We laugh and I tell him stories of growing up here, and my dad’s ‘Garden of Angels.’ He gets excited that we are going to bring this overgrown home back to life, and the garden will be brimming with flowers and veggies once again.”

¶ Republished on 8 October 2023.

221 Bradford Street on the Town Map, showing property lines.

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