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The Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park

Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park 

The Conservatory of Flowers, in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco), is a large botanical greenhouse that was constructed in 1878The Conservatory of Flowers is the oldest building in Golden Gate Park and the oldest remaining wooden conservatory in the United States. The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Conservatory of Flowers is an elaborate Victorian greenhouse with a central dome rising nearly 60 feet and arch-shaped wings that give it an overall length of 240 feet. The predominant architectural form is a four-centered or Tudor arch. The history of The Conservatory of Flowers is detailed in Wikipedia, as well as on the conservatory’s web site. Materials for the conservatory were originally purchased by James Lick for use on his estate prior to his death in 1876. A group of prominent San Franciscans purchased the material from Lick’s estate and offered it to the City of San Francisco for use in Golden Gate Park. The Parks Commission accepted the gift and hired Lord and Burnham to construct the conservatory. When the structure opened, it contained a variety of rare and tropical plants, including the giant water lily, Victoria regia, which was the only specimen in the United States at that time.

The Conservatory of Flowers has 16,800 window panes, and the upper dome weighs 14.5 tons. The building required 26,000 square feet of glass weighing 25 tons and 2 tons of putty. The building sits on a small hill overlooking beautiful flower gardens with a variety of flowers.

The Conservatory of Flowers has survived an 1883 fire, the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 (intact!), another fire in 1918, years of neglect, and severe windstorm damage in 1995. In 1998The World Monuments Fund placed the structure on the list of the 100 most endangered world monuments, and in that year, the National Trust’s Save America’s Treasures and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton adopted The Conservatory of Flowers. A $25 million restoration campaign began in 1999, and the Conservatory reopened in 2003. Today the Conservatory contains about 1700 plant species, including more than 700 of the 1000 known species of high-altitude orchids, which has been described as the most comprehensive public collection in the world.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®. 

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