Sunday, December 10, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO CONSERVATORY OF FLOWERS
The San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is a large botanical greenhouse in Golden Gate Park. Many exotic flowers from around the world are grown there for study and display.
It has been declared as the oldest existing public conservatory in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1872 the Victorian wood and glass greenhouse was opened to the public. In 1883 the heating plant exploded and set the main dome on fire. Railroad tycoon Charles Crocker donated funds for repair and in 1906 the Great San Francisco Earthquake destroyed much of the City but damage to the "glass house" was minimal. It has been closed several times for extensive repairs and in 1995 a monster storm with 100MPH (160KM/H) winds blew in off the Pacific from the Gulf of Alaska severely damaging the building. In 1998 the National Trust For Historic Preservation "adopted" the Conservatory. Restoration lasted from 1999 to 2003. Restoration was finally completed and the building was opened to the public.
The Conservatory contains approximately 1,700 plant species.
There are 16,800 window panes and the upper dome weighs 14.5 tons.
Further information can be found at Wikipedia for satellite images and virtual tours around the Conservatory of flowers.