Thursday, June 27, 2013

Behind the scenes at Garfield Park Conservatory - Spring 2013

This spring I had the opportunity to peek behind the scenes at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. The conservatory is over 100 years old - and the buildings behind it, on the Northside, are almost as old.  In the photo below you can see the conservatory (square shape with the (A) marked on it), the production greenhouses just north, and then just north again, in the blue box, are these working buildings.

Garfield Park Conservatory Grounds - Aerial View

The West Park System was the part of Chicago politic responsible for the conservatory.  This was before the formation of the Chicago Park District.  When the smaller conservatories in Douglas Park, Humboldt Park and Garfield Park were taken down a key element in the decision on where to place the larger "Jensen Conservatory" was the existence of the Power Plant building in Garfield Park.  The Power Plant is the eastern most building in this space.  It's got this great brickwork and high windows. Really pretty. It was constructed in 1896. That's some old architecture :)
In 1928, the West Park System built the "works" building adjacent to the Power Plant. Today it is used by the Chicago Park district for various trades.  The trade building was designed by Michaelsen and Rognstad, so it's affectionately called the M&R building.
Below are a few photos of a quick exploration of these old buildings.  The last two photos are from inside the M&R building looking back onto the Conservatory.  It was a really fun day and an interesting perspective that I'd never before experienced.  One portion of the works building houses the shop that makes signs for the Chicago Park District, that was pretty interesting. There is also a carpentry workroom - that smelled just amazing.

I kept thinking these would make great loft offices or apartment spaces. Or perhaps an awesome party venue?
I enjoy the rich history of Chicago and the Conservatory. Always something old to learn :)
Power Plant and M&R Building Garfield Park - 2013

Garfield Park Conservatory - Back Yard, 2013

View from M&R Bldg over back of Garfield Park Conservatory, 2013

View out of Woodshop window

Happy Exploring,

Teresa Marie

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