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Landscape Art Under Glass

Today’s “Park Days” event took place at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago.  In 1905 Chicago’s West Park Commission’s general superintendent and chief landscape architect, Jens Jensen, demolished the three smaller greenhouses in Humboldt, Douglas and Garfield Parks to create what was intended as “the largest publicly owned conservatory under one roof in the world” in Garfield Park. Many of the original plantings came from the three smaller Westside conservatories.

Constructed between 1906 and 1907, the Garfield Park Conservatory was designed by Jensen in collaboration with Prairie School architects Schmidt, Garden and Martin and the New York engineering firm of Hitchings and Company. It represents a unique collaboration of architects, engineers, landscape architects, sculptors and artisans.

Jensen conceived the Conservatory as a series of naturalistic landscapes under glass, a revolutionary idea at the time. The simple yet strong shape of the structure, which is meant to emulate the haystacks of the Midwest, complements the collection of plants and foliage that it houses.

Referred to as “landscape art under glass,” the Garfield Park Conservatory occupies approximately 4.5 acres inside and out, and includes cold frames and propagating houses where thousands of plants are grown each year for displays in Garfield, Lincoln, and Grant Parks.

More information can be found at, the Garfield Park Conservatory website.