The Gethsemane Garden Center gift shop, called The Wild Pansy, is housed in one of the oldest commercial buildings on the street. It was built in 1897 by Anton Gochengio. It was operated as a bar/restaurant in 1899 and called the Winandy Saloon. After WWII it served as a VFW post and a gathering place for many community activities. A photo of the front in the 1970s shows a wooden storefront building covered with asphalt siding, having a side porch and a large brick addition in the rear.
In 1995, Regas Chefas purchased the building in order to expand the Gethsemane Garden Center. The family-owned business began on Devon Avenue selling pumpkins about 55 years ago. They opened the Clark Street site in 1978. The operation as we see it today covers the ends of three city blocks. Interestingly, part of the site held the Hansen’s greenhouses in 1894.
Chefas invested a considerable amount to save the historic façade and siding of the building. The drawing shows architect Thom Greene’s plan to save the exterior of the building. It included enclosing the side porch.
The open land across from the center was set up as a monument to those who died in foreign wars. There is an obelisk and walkways around it. The Garden Center has made a significant contribution to Edgewater through the beautification of this place and the parkway land between Clark and Ashland. Recently, after the loss of his wife Peaches, Chefas installed a fountain in her memory in the open space across from the Wild Pansy Shop.