The Bickelhaupt Arboretum was developed and privately funded by Robert (Bob) and Frances Bickelhaupt in 1970
in response to the Dutch Elm Disease which destroyed the majority of large street
trees in Clinton.
Lifelong residents of Clinton, the Bickelhaupts chose the 10 acres surrounding their home, later to be enlarged to 14 acres on the far west edge of unincorporated Clinton. The rolling terrain and flowing creek on the land, formerly Bob’s father’s “gentlemen’s farm,” provided a natural site.
Post-parenting and careers, Bob and Frances educated themselves at Morton Arboretum and dedicated the remainder of their lives to making the Bickelhaupt Arboretum a nationally-recognized outdoor learning environment where visitors could be educated on tree selection, proper tree care and ecology. As their knowledge and expertise expanded so did programming and the Master Plan of the Arboretum.
Frances’ book, A Private Couple Creates a Public Garden, further details the early days of the arboretum.
Family Board of Directors include: Francie B. Hill, daughter of Bob and Frances; Shawn Hill-Lamb and Meggan Hill-McQueeney, granddaughters of Bob and Frances; and Allan Rathje, son-in-law of Bob and Frances.
Horticulture Board of Directors include: Dr. Edward Hasselkus, Professor Emeritus Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dr. Jeffery Isles, Professor and Chair, Department of Horticulture, Iowa State University; Alan Craig, National Sales Representative, Iseli Nursery, Boring, OR; and Dr. Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Professor of Horticulture, Iowa State University. Directors Emeritus, having died in 2007 and 2013 respectively, are Bob and Frances Bickelhaupt.
Past Board Members include: Linda B. Galanis, daughter of Bob and Frances; Dr. Abraham Epstein, Professor of Plant Entomology, Iowa State University; Justin “Chub” Harper, Ground Maintenance Supervisor, Deere & Co., Moline, IL; Roy Nordine, Plant Propagator, Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; and members of the Clinton Park Board.