The development of a display and test garden was initiated in 1950 by the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. Sam Jackson, owner of the Oregon Journal, had donated 27 acres on Terwilliger Blvd for the garden, but the site was deemed unsuitable because of its steep terrain. Claude I. Sersanous, one of the group assigned to select a new site, suggested the garden’s present location near Reed College. Referred to as Shakespeare Island by Reed College students because of the Shakespearean plays that had been performed there, it was abandoned and overgrown with brush and blackberries. Through the efforts of chapter memebers and other volunteers, and with the support of Park Superintendent C.P. Keyser, the garden flourished. In 1964, the garden was officially named Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.