Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
After spending 2 hours or so photographing Dahlias in the East Garden of the Conservatory of Flowers I thought I’d go up the small flight of stairs to photograph the Conservatory building, and doors before it got really crowded with Sunday park goers and tourists.
Main Entrance Doors:
The Conservatory of Flowers has quite a history so, for the History Buffs:
The mission of the Conservatory of Flowers is to connect people and plants in a place of exceptional beauty.
“The Conservatory of Flowers has captivated guests for more than a century. This gem of Victorian architecture has a long and storied history, and is the oldest public wood-and-glass conservatory in North America. As a city, state and national historic landmark, the Conservatory remains one of the most photographed and beloved attractions in San Francisco.”~http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org/
Main Entrance Wide View:
“In the mid-19th century, James Lick, a wealthy businessman and philanthropist, ordered the greenhouse for his Santa Clara estate. Unfortunately, Lick died before it was erected, and the parts remained in crates, unused for decades. The kit was put up for sale by Lick’s trustees in 1877, and purchased by a group of prominent San Franciscans who offered it to the City. The civic-minded group of donors included Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University and Governor and Senator of California, and Charles Crocker, the industrialist responsible for much of the railroad system in the West. The Conservatory opened to the public in 1879. It was an instant sensation and quickly became the most visited location in the park.
Since its opening, the building has seen more than its share of accidents and natural disasters. In 1883 the dome was damaged by a boiler explosion. Charles Crocker came to the rescue with $10,000 for the restoration work. During this restoration, the dome was raised by six feet and the eagle finial on top of the dome was replaced with the planet Saturn, likely a reference to the ancient Roman god of agriculture.
In 1918, the dome and adjoining room burned again, and in 1933 structural instabilities caused a 13-year closure. The most devastating damage was done by a wind storm in 1995. After a winter of storms, 20 percent of the trees in Golden Gate Park were toppled and wind patterns changed. As a result, a relatively mild windstorm severely damaged the newly exposed Conservatory. Forty percent of the glass smashed, a portion of the rare plants were lost, and the building had to be closed.
In early 1998, the Conservatory was placed on the 100 most Endangered World Monuments list by the World Monuments Fund. The National Trust for Historic Preservation adopted the Conservatory into its Save America’s Treasures program, launched as part of then First Lady Hillary Clinton’s Millennium Council projects. Publicity from these efforts eventually led to a fundraising campaign to raise the $25 million dollars for the rehabilitation, which included support from the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund. The Conservatory reopened in 2003.
Docents are often asked how the Conservatory faired in the earthquake of 1906. The building stood strong, without damage, and the area leading up to the building, known as Conservatory Valley, became a location of temporary tents housing San Franciscans escaping the devastation and fires throughout the city.
Since reopening in 2003, over 2 million visitors have visited the Conservatory of Flowers, including tens of thousands of school children on free educational tours and hundreds of couples marrying in the most romantic spot in San Francisco. This modern version of the Conservatory strives to connect people and plants in a way that is most meaningful for the Bay Area community and for visitors from around the world.
And the Conservatory is a place where horticultural societies, botany students, and young plant enthusiasts gather to study collections and ensure passion for living museums and conservatories will continue to flourish.
Since re-opening in 2003, the Conservatory has garnered numerous local, state and national awards.” Abridged: ~conservatoryofflowers.org
Aquatic Plants Gallery Doors: “The magical pools in the Aquatic Plants Gallery simulate the flow of a river winding through the tropics. The gallery features carnivorous pitcher plants, warm-growing orchids, and brightly painted Heliconia and Hibiscus. Giant taro leaves line the pond and the flowers of hundreds of bromeliads emerge from their water-filled buckets. A sculpture of a Victoria amazonica water lily hangs suspended in the air. The Victoria amazonica, lotus plants, and colorful water lilies grow in the ponds during the summers when water conditions are just right.”~ conservatoryofflowers.org
The Conservatory and south garden; I think this garden is gorgeous.
Standing at the top of the stairs in the image above I made this image below; the view is looking south: Sutro Tower is in the distance on Twin Peaks. On Sunday the road that this bridge is part of is closed to vehicles which makes it a bit of challenge to find parking, but it’s a boon for pedestrians, and cyclists. Isn’t that stone bridge lovely. It’s for that bridge that I made the photo. Pedestrians can safely cross the road by using the tunnel under the bridge during the week. The flowers in the beds that I recognized are Foxglove and Begonia. There are other flowers, but I don’t know what they are.
I went back to the Dahlia garden after making this last image. I’ll share more of those images soon.
Nikon Df| Nikkor 24-70mm| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2015.5
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More to come…