Volunteer Park Conservatory Fights for Another 100 Years

The Volunteer Park Conservatory celebrates its centennial as supporters ensure it lives another day.
Brangien Davis  |   August 2012   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Modeled after London’s Crystal Palace, the Volunteer Park Conservatory turns 100 this year

When the Volunteer Park Conservatory opened its doors in 1912, there was no art museum, no “Black Sun” sculpture, no Shakespeare in the Park to keep it company. For 100 years, the Victorian botanical garden, built of cast iron and 3,426 panes of glass, has been treating visitors to rare bromeliads, ferns, palms, cacti, succulents and seasonal flora—and a few sweet, sweaty moments in the thick humidity our natural climate rarely provides. But despite its historic landmark status, the conservatory’s very existence hangs in the balance this year, due to city budget cuts. In May, a consultant hired by Seattle Parks and Recreation recommended a $3 or $4 entry fee (entry is currently free, with suggested donation) to offset costs. At press time, a decision was yet to be made. Meanwhile, the conservatory is holding a centennial celebration fundraiser, Victorian Day, wherein participants dress in period costume, play croquet, sample champagne and cake, and consider what a shame it would be to lose such a glinting, green gem.

8/12, 1–6 p.m. Event is free; croquet fundraiser entry fee $50–$60. 1400 E Galer St.; 206.322.4112; volunteerparkconservatory.org

Watch the video made by the Friends of the Conservatory:

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