After changing hands many times between 1882 and 1916, the property that would eventually be known as The Kampong—which means "village" in Malay—was snatched up by David Fairchild and his wife Marian, a daughter of Alexander Graham Bell. Fairchild was one of the most influential horticulturists in the United States, devoting his life to plant exploration and finding new strains of flora suitable for introduction to the states. Though he and his wife spent much of their time in Washington DC until 1928, The Kampong became an "introduction garden" for many of the plants he collected during his travels.
After constructing a house on the garden property in 1928, the Fairchilds made Miami their permanent home, and they were eventually were joined by Marian's sister and her husband on the adjoining property. Today, as part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, most of the adjoining property has been absorbed to be part of The Kampong, creating more than 11 acres of verdant gardens. Inside the leafy labyrinth, many of the experimental plants still thrive, including an 80-year-old baobab tree, more than 50 mango varieties.
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