The Bronx is rich with history and culture, as people from all over the world have contributed to the borough’s diverse melting pot culture. Among the variety of cultural sites scattered throughout the city is the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a traditional Victorian greenhouse situated in the New York Botanical Garden. In the early days of our city’s history, New York Botanical Garden co-founder Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife Elizabeth decided that New York City could use one of these greenhouses after visiting the Royal Botanical Garden at Kew in the United Kingdom. 115 years later, the conservatory is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Bronx, and one of the crown jewels of the New York Botanical Garden. Our Bronx personal injury lawyers revisited the conservatory over the past weekend and thought we’d share what we love so much about this state-of-the-art historic conservatory.
Changes Since 1902
The conservatory has undergone a few major transformations since its completion in 1902. The original design remained mostly intact until the renovations of 1935 and 1950, which both made significant changes. These two renovations removed significant portions of the conservatory’s ornate decoration. In 1935, renovators intended to stop the deterioration of the building and also remodel it according to European Modernism.
The conservatory was very nearly demolished in the 1970s, as it had deteriorated and fallen into a state of extreme disrepair. However, there was a major renovation in 1978 after philanthropist and former magazine publisher Enid A. Haupt donated $5 million to save the landmark. This is why the conservatory was renamed in her honor.
There was one last renovation by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects in 1997. During this renovation, the company upgraded the mechanical systems used to control temperature, humidity, and ventilation – converting them to computerized systems. This upgraded system provides optimal growing conditions for a larger variety of plants throughout the conservatory’s various greenhouses. The exhibits were redesigned following these upgrades, and now visitors walk through a transitioning environment beginning with a hike over mountains, through the rainforest, and finally down through the desert.
The park has remained a center of education for the numerous tourists, school field trips, and locals who visit each year. The original New York Botanical Garden was designed with the conservatory as a centerpiece, and it continues to be one of the largest tourist draws over a century later.
A Greenhouse For All Classes
When this conservatory was constructed at the turn of the 20th century, greenhouses were a privilege reserved for the wealthiest classes of society. However, this new conservatory did away with this exclusivity and offered world-class greenhouses accessible to people from all walks of life and income levels. While the Bronx may have some of the highest poverty rates in the country today, thousands of school children from throughout the borough are able to learn about horticulture here on school field trips.
A Resource For Scientists And Horticulturists
Through its history, the conservatory has been a research hub for horticulturists and a variety of scientists, hundreds of whom visit here to study exhibitions of rare vegetation every year. And in all likelihood, at least a handful of the school children who visit here have their interest peaked for a future career in science or horticulture.