Missouri Botanical Garden Logo

An Illustrated History 
of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Illustrated History Home    Historical Timeline
Browse by Subject Matter    Garden Home 

   Search for   Advanced Search  


1800-1820s
Henry Shaw grows up in England and comes to St. Louis to start a hardware business. - Learn more
1820s
Shaw first sees the land where the Garden will be located. - Learn more
1840-1851
Shaw retires and travels. - Learn more
1849
Tower Grove House constructed. - Learn more
1856
Shaw seeks advice from Engelmann, Hooker, and Gray. - Learn more
1857
Shaw begins to build up the Garden’s library and herbarium. - Learn more
1858
Shaw’s dream of funding a Garden was threatened by a lawsuit for breach of promise. - Learn more
1859
Museum Building constructed. - Learn more
1859
Shaw opens the Garden to the public. - Learn more
1860-1889
The Garden began to take shape during Shaw’s lifetime. - Learn more
1860-1889
The Garden contained an arboretum and a farm during Shaw’s lifetime. - Learn more
1860-1889
During Shaw’s lifetime, the Garden contained a formal "par terre" garden and an observation tower. - Learn more
1860-1889
Shaw’s attitude toward his Garden. - Learn more
1860-1889
Shaw was a generous benefactor and humanitarian. - Learn more
1867
Shaw hires James Gurney as Head Gardener. - Learn more
1860s
Shaw builds a mausoleum, but then later rejects it. - Learn more
1880s
Shaw commissions a sculpture of himself for his mausoleum. - Learn more
1880s
A building in the Southeast corner of the Garden was used for many things, including housing students. - Learn more
1885
Shaw founds a School of Botany at Washington University in St. Louis. - Learn more
1889
Shaw dies. - Learn more
1889
Shaw’s will takes effect, establishing the Missouri Botanical Garden as a charitable trust. - Learn more
1890
In accordance with Shaw’s will, a local clergyman begins preaching an annual "Flower Sermon." - Learn more
1890s
In accordance with Shaw’s will, his Town House is moved to the Garden grounds. - Learn more
1889-1890
The Board of Trustees takes over governance of the Garden. - Learn more
1889-1890s
Trelease becomes the Director of the Garden and moves into an enlarged Tower Grove House. - Learn more
1897
Frederick Law Olmsted’s firm submits a plan for the future development of the Garden. - Learn more
1889-1915
The largest crowds at the Garden are for the two open Sundays and for the flower shows. - Learn more
1889-1912
William Trelease leads the Garden as its Director. - Learn more
1912-1953
George T. Moore serves as Director of the Botanical Garden. - Learn more
1913
Palm House constructed. - Learn more
1920s
St. Louis suffers from coal soot pollution in the air. - Learn more
1923-1926
The Garden purchase a tract of land near Gray Summit, Missouri and moves its orchid collection to this property, known as the Missouri Botanical Garden Arboretum. - Learn more
1920s
The Garden sends plant collectors to South and Central America and acquires a sub-station in Panama. - Learn more
1930
Due to the stock market crash of 1929 the Garden realizes a decline in available funds by one-third over the next five years. - Learn more
1931
George Pring patents his widely popular water lily hybrid, Nymphaea of St. Louis. It was the first patent attributed to the Missouri Botanical Garden. - Learn more
1934
Feeling the effects of the Great Depression along with the rest of the nation the finances for the Garden hit a new all time low. - Learn more
1935
A portion of the new U.S. 66 highway is dedicated as the Henry Shaw Gardenway. - Learn more
1939
The Garden relinquishes its Tropical Station to the jurisdiction of the Panama Canal Zone. - Learn more
1939
Business papers from the Henry Shaw collection are sent on long term loan to the Harvard University Business School. - Learn more
1939
"Friends of the Garden" is first mentioned in the MBG Bulletin. - Learn more
1940
The Arboretum (now know as the Shaw Nature Reserve) is opened to the public for the first time. - Learn more
1942
The Garden pitches in for the war effort. - Learn more
1946
A destructive tornado strikes the Garden laying waste to outside gardens, trees, and plantings. - Learn more
1953
Financial troubles mount for the Garden. - Learn more
1953
Dr. George Moore steps down as director of the Garden - Learn more
1954
Dr. Edgar Anderson is named Garden director. - Learn more
1956
Attendance hits a new all time low. - Learn more
1956
Dr. Edgar Anderson steps down as director and returns to the Garden research staff as the Curator of Useful Plants. - Learn more
1958
Dr. Frits Went becomes Director of the Garden. - Learn more
1959
Construction on the Climatron begins. - Learn more
1960
The Climatron opens to the public. - Learn more
1961
The Climatron revives Garden attendence. - Learn more
1963
The St. Louis Herb Society establishes the herb garden behind Tower Grove House. - Learn more
1963
Dr. Frits Went steps down as Director. - Learn more
1964
George Pring retires after almost sixty years at the Garden. - Learn more
1965
Dr. David Gates becomes Director of the Garden. - Learn more
1965
The first official incarnation of the Garden Gate Shop opens. - Learn more
1966
The Garden returns to the Panama Canal Zone for the purpose of botanical research. - Learn more
1967
John S. Lehmann dies; former President of the Board of Trustees. - Learn more
1968
Garden Guides program created. - Learn more
1971
Dr. Peter Raven is named new the Director of the Garden. - Learn more
1972
John S. Lehmann Building opens. - Learn more
1973
Ground is broken on the site that would later become the Japanese Garden. - Learn more
1974
Anne L. Lehmann Rose Garden is established. - Learn more
1974
Shoenberg Fountain is constructed. - Learn more
1976
English Woodland Garden is created. - Learn more
1977
Japanese Garden is dedicated. - Learn more
1978
The Floral Display House, built in 1915, is destroyed by fire. - Learn more
1979
The Gladney Rose Garden dedicated; formally know as the Linnean Rose Garden. - Learn more
1982
Ridgway Center opens as the new entrance to the Garden. - Learn more
1982
Swift Family Garden - Learn more
1982
Heckman Rock Garden - Learn more
1983
Zoo/Museum District is created within St. Louis with the Missouri Botanical Garden as a participating member. - Learn more
1983
Scented Garden - Learn more
1984
Goodman Iris Garden - Learn more
1984
Kassabaum Dwarf Conifer Collection - Learn more
1986
First plantings established for the Kaeser Maze. - Learn more
1986
Samuel (Jacobs) Bulb Garden - Learn more
1988
Jenkins Daylily Garden - Learn more
1989
Shoenberg Temperate House opens. - Learn more
1990
Heckman Bulb Garden - Learn more
1991
William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening opens. - Learn more
1993
Dr. Alwyn Gentry, pre-eminent botanical researcher at the Garden, dies in plane crash in Ecuador. - Learn more
1994
Kiefer Magnolia Grove - Learn more
1995
Grigg Nanjing Friendship Garden (Chinese Garden) - Learn more
1996
Blanke Boxwood Garden - Learn more
1996
Piper Observatory - Learn more
1997
Kresko Victorian Garden - Learn more
1998
Monsanto Research Center opens. - Learn more
1999
Dr. Peter Raven named "Hero of the Planet." - Learn more
2000
Strassenfest German Garden - Learn more
2006
Dr. Peter Raven celebrates 35 years as Garden Director. - Learn more
2006
The Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden opens. - Learn more
2006
The Ottoman Garden opens. - Learn more
Browse the Timeline
View Simple Timeline (Text Only)

1800-1820s
Henry Shaw grows up in England and comes to St. Louis to start a hardware business.
 

Slide of photograph of Mill Hill School ca. 1890-1907



Articles sold by Shaw in hardware store, 1819-1839

Henry Shaw, a successful St. Louis businessman, founded the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1859. Shaw was born on July 24, 1800 in Sheffield, England, which had been a center of iron and steel manufacturing for centuries. Henry’s father, Joseph Shaw, had moved to Sheffield as a young man to open his own iron factory, along with a partner. The firm manufactured grates, fire irons and so forth. Henry was the oldest of four children in the family. He had two sisters, Sarah and Caroline, and a brother who died in infancy. Shaw received his primary school education in the village of Thone near his home in Sheffield. When he about ten or eleven, however, he was transferred to the Mill Hill School near London. He remained at this boarding school for about six years, before returning home to Sheffield in 1816.

Shaw was forced to return to Sheffield, it seems, because of his father’s financial difficulties. While he had been away at school, his father’s business had come upon hard times. The family could no longer afford the luxury of sending young Henry to the expensive school with other children of the upper classes. Nevertheless, Shaw had gained in his time at Mill Hill School the basic education of an English gentleman. He had studied the classics, learned some Latin and Greek, and studied French. He also studied mathematics and was introduced to the sciences. More importantly, however, he acquired the attitudes and outlook of an English gentleman, traits that he would continue to have even after decades of life in the United States.

On his return to Sheffield, Henry began to assist his father with the business. Searching for new markets, the elder Shaw turned his sights on the vast markets of the Americas. Iron and steel manufacturing in the former colonies was not as advanced as in England, and indeed, Sheffield steel products were some of the finest in the world. In 1818, Henry accompanied his father on his first trip across the Atlantic Ocean where the pair did business in Quebec, Canada. Young Henry must have impressed his father with his business acumen, because the next year he was sent to New Orleans alone on business, even though he was still a teenager.

A shipment of goods to New Orleans had been lost or misplaced and Henry was sent to find the shipment. Although he recovered the goods, he could not find a buyer in New Orleans. With the business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit that was to mark his adult life, Shaw was determined to find a market for the goods in the interior of the country. Vast territories of the American Middle West had been opened up in the previous decade by the Louisiana Purchase, which nearly double the size of the United States. In about 1817, New Orleans had become the gateway to this vast interior markets when the first steam powered paddlewheel boat made its way up the Mississippi River from the port of New Orleans.

In the Spring of 1819, Henry Shaw purchased passage for himself and his goods on a steamship called the Maid of Orleans. The trip, which took 40 days, cost Shaw $120. On May 4, 1819, Shaw landed in a small French village on the Mississippi called St. Louis. At the time, the village was about fifty years old. It ran about three blocks deep for about a mile along the bank of the river. Shaw set up a hardware store in St. Louis, selling high quality cutlery and other metal products. His first storefront was at Four North Main, on the west side of the street between Market and Chestnut. The goods were purchased by Shaw’s uncle, James Hoole, back home in Sheffield and shipped to St. Louis to be sold at a tidy profit. Hoole also provided the initial capital for the business. It turned out to be a good investment. It was a good time to be in the hardware business in St. Louis.

During the two decades he stayed in this business, roughly 1819 to 1839, St. Louis grew quite rapidly. Shaw sold his goods to the people of St. Louis, to soldiers and farmers, and to the other new immigrants to the area. He also found a ready market in the pioneers making their way to the open lands of the West. Many of the pioneers moving westward were outfitted in St. Louis before moving West, and Shaw had the kind of hardware, tools and cutlery they would need to make the trip and set up a new homestead.


1820s
Shaw first sees the land where the Garden will be located.
 

Emile L. Herzinger watercolor portrait of Henry Shaw, 1859.

Shaw never married and did not live extravagantly. The income from his business, therefore, soon provided him with a surplus of funds. He invested the income from his hardware business shrewdly, buying a great deal of real estate in the St. Louis area. Shaw bought many commercial properties and other lots in the city. He also bought large tracts of land in the outlying areas. One of properties consisted of a tract in an area previously known as the Prairie de Noyes. In his later life, Shaw wrote the following account of the first time he saw this land in the 1820s.

For a distance of nearly two miles from where Tower Grove Park is now laid out to Taylorwick station, or rather the pond still existing there [1875], no trees were growing, except two or three venerable Cottonwoods (Populus Canadensis) in the low ground, on the water course running to Rock Spring, and thence to Chouteau Millpond; on this water course were a few plants of the (Nymphea ordorata Ait.) sweet-scented Water Lily, and a clump of Hazel Bushes on the rising ground, where the grove at the garden now exists. The prairie was grown over with a tall natural grass Andropogon, prairie grass, with an occasional patch of the wild Strawberry (Fragaria Virginiana) of which neither a tuft of grass or a plant of the strawberry can now be found.


1840-1851
Shaw retires and travels.
 

Photographic reproduction of painting of Henry Shaw, 1835.

After 1839, Shaw sold his hardware business and retired from an active life in business. A fellow St. Louis businessman who knew Shaw personally wrote the following account of the events that led up to Shaw’s decision to retire.

When the balance sheet for 1839 was struck it showed, to the great surprise of Mr. Shaw, a net gain for the year of over $22,000. He could not believe his own figures, and so went over them again and again until he could no longer doubt the fact. Telling the story many years afterward he said it seemed to him then that "this was more money than any man in my circumstances ought to make in a single year," and he resolved then and there to go out of active business at the first good opportunity. The opportunity presented itself very early in the following year, and was promptly improved by the sale of his entire stock of merchandise. So at nearly forty years of age - only the noon of life - with all his physical and mental powers unimpaired and vigorous, Henry Shaw was a free man - and the possessor of $250,000 with which to enjoy that freedom. There is every reason to believe that, with his exceptional qualifications for success in this department, he might easily have increased the $250,000 to $2,500,000 long before he had reached the age of sixty. By 1840, the population of the city was on the cusp of an extended period of population growth brought about by the influx of German and later Irish immigrants who began to settle in the northern and southern portions of the city. Within a period of a few short years the population of the city would begin to grow yearly by the thousands and it became clear that real estate would prove a lucrative endeavor of which Shaw would partake in during his remaining years. Shaw retired, not because he was afraid of losing what he had made, or thought he could not make any more; but because he felt he had enough, and intended to enjoy it. He always owned his money; his money never owned him. His tastes and habits were simple and sensible; he lived well but not extravagantly, and with not the slightest attempt at ostentation. Up to the last years of his life, be drove himself in the one-horse barouche which was his sole equipage, and not until friends warned him of the dangers incident to growing infirmity did he indulge in a carriage and coachman.

As mentioned above, Shaw retained the attitudes and habits of an English gentleman for his entire life. In the 19th century, an English gentleman’s education was not considered complete until he had made the "Grand Tour," an extended trip through Europe. Such extended travels were considered necessary to expose the gentleman to the arts, languages and cultures of the great civilizations of Europe. After his retirement, Shaw took advantage of his newly found free time to make just such a Grand Tour of Europe. Leaving his sister, Caroline Shaw, in charge of his interests in St. Louis, Henry Shaw made several extended stays in Europe over the next decade, staying on the Continent for up to three years at a time.

In 1851, Shaw made his final trip abroad in order to attend the first World’s Fair in London. On this trip, he visited the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and the Crystal Palace Exhibition. He also saw the wonderful gardens at Chatsworth, the Duke of Devonshire's country seat in Derbyshire. These gardens were two of the finest gardens in the world, and they inspired Shaw. It was apparently during his walk through Chatsworth Gardens that Shaw conceived of the idea of creating his own garden on his properties in St. Louis. For the rest of the life, the creation and care of a garden and a park on his property would be his principle occupation.


1849
Tower Grove House constructed.
 

View of Tower Grove House showing the original east wing. PRINT AVAILABLE -- SEE PHO 1983-0350. Copy negatives available at PHO 2007-1108, PHO 2007-1109, PHO 2007-1110, and PHO 2007-1122. Prints available at PHO 2007-1111, PHO 2007-1120, and PHO 2007-1121. Colorized negative available at PHO 2007-1112. Colorized prints available at PHO 2007-1113 and PHO 2007-1114.



George Barnett portrait from "Gateway Heritage", Summer 1984.

While Henry Shaw was traveling in Europe in the late 1840s, his agents were busily at work in St. Louis. In 1849, Shaw had hired a prominent architect named George I. Barnett to design his country home. This two story Italian style villa was built on Shaw’s property South-west of St. Louis. At the time, tall grass covered this prairie with only a few trees scattered growing mainly along streambeds. One grove of sassafras trees, however, did stand on a low hill. Just to the south of these trees, Shaw built his country home. For many years anyone approaching this hill could see the tower of the house with the grove of trees beside it. The house, therefore, came to be known as Tower Grove House. Today, Tower Grove House has provided the name for many things in the neighborhood. Tower Grove Park lies just to the South of the Botanical Garden, and Tower Grove Avenue runs along its eastern border. There is also a Tower Grove Neighborhood, a Tower Grove Church, and so forth.

Upon his return from England in 1851, Shaw began planning his garden and planting trees on his erstwhile treeless estate. During his lifetime, he planted thousands of trees and shrubs on the eighty-acre tract around this country home.


1856
Shaw seeks advice from Engelmann, Hooker, and Gray.
 

Photographic print of architectural drawing, map diagramming successive additions to Kew, showing dates sections were added.



Portrait of Dr. George Engelmann taken in 1860.



Portrait of Asa Gray standing.

Henry Shaw was determined to have not just a pleasure garden but also rather one of the finest botanic gardens in the world. In his quest to do so, he consulted Sir William Jackson Hooker, then the Director of the world’s premiere botanical garden, The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew not far from London. Shaw wrote to Hooker explaining his plans to build a garden in St. Louis seeking the eminent botanist’s advice. Hooker suggested that Shaw contact Dr. George Engelmann, a St. Louis gynecologist who was also a well-respected amateur botanist. In 1856, Engelmann had been one of the founders of the St. Louis Academy of Science. Engelmann had many contacts among American scientists and it was he, in turn, who put Shaw in contact with Harvard University’s Asa Gray, then America’s leading naturalist.

With the advice of Engelmann, Hooker and Gray, Shaw was convinced to build a botanical garden rather than merely a pleasure garden. The difference is that a botanical garden has facilities and personnel for scientific research in addition to beautiful grounds and plants. Historically, botanical gardens served the same role in the collection and study of plants that zoos played in the collection and study of animals.


1857
Shaw begins to build up the Garden’s library and herbarium.
 

Administration Building interior. Herbarium showing steel cases.

Henry Shaw’s advisors helped him make the Missouri Botanical Garden a first-rate scientific institution. In a letter dated August 10, 1857, Sir William Jackson Hooker, the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew advised Shaw of the importance of having a library and museum attached to the Garden. Shaw quickly took the advice to heart. He empowered Dr. George Engelmann to purchase for him in Europe many books that would become the heart of the Garden’s research collections. Engelmann was also able to purchase the herbarium of the recently deceased German botanist Johann Jakob Bernhardi. He bought the 60,000 specimen herbarium for $600. A herbarium is a collection of various species of plants, collected and dried for reference. Today the Missouri Botanical Garden herbarium contains over five million specimens, and the library contains over 120,000 bound volumes.


1858
Shaw’s dream of funding a Garden was threatened by a lawsuit for breach of promise.
 

Sepia slide of Effie Carstang portrait from New York Illustrated News. April 5, 1860. Page 328 1 duplicate 1 duplicate from slightly farther away.



Sketch of the Breach of Promise Case, Carstang vs. Shaw, at St. Louis, Missouri, 1860. Published in Harper's Weekly, March 31, 1860.

In 1858, Shaw made headlines when Effie Carstang sued him for breach of promise. The young St. Louis woman claimed that Shaw had promised to marry her and then backed out, the basis of her claim focused on a gift of a piano which Shaw requested that she return. The trial made headlines not only in St. Louis but also around the country. Initially, Carstang won a judgment of $100,000, but Shaw later won on appeal in 1859. The amount of the award may have impacted Shaw's plans for the Garden had he lost.


1859
Museum Building constructed.
 

Museum Building, ca. 1867,

When Henry Shaw needed a building to house his library and herbarium, he commissioned George I. Barnett to design it. Shaw asked Barnett to base the design on a building at Kew Gardens. The red brick building that Barnett designed also housed Shaw’s museum of natural history, and came to be called the Museum Building. In side, the ceiling was painted with a mural of natural science and the names of famous scientists.

Along with Tower Grove House and the Administration Building (which had originally been Shaw’s city home), the Museum Building made up the main "campus" of the botanical Garden. Over the years, the building has served many additional purposes. For a time there was a public restaurant located in the building, and later it housed the Ewan collection of books and papers on subject of botany and the history of science.


1859
Shaw opens the Garden to the public.
 

Main Gate exterior view with man leaning against pillar. Street and walk unpaved. c.1860 Copy negative available. PRINTS AVAILABLE -- SEE PHO 1984-0003, PHO 2006-2454, PHO 2006-2455, PHO 2006-2456, and PHO 2006-2457. Negatives available at PHO 2006-2502, PHO 2006-2503 and PHO 2006-2504.

From the beginning, Shaw not only wanted the garden for himself, but also for the people of St. Louis. In 1859, he opened the doors of his garden to the public. It was to be open six days a week and also for two Sundays every summer, so that working people could see it as well. For the next thirty years, until his death in 1889, Shaw personally oversaw the development of the garden buildings and grounds. He hired the best horticultural personnel to care for the grounds and accomplished scientists such as William Trelease to do scientific research at the Botanical Garden.

One of the first things Shaw did in his garden was to build a tall stonewall along the Northern and Eastern sides of the tract. In a break in this wall, Shaw built an impressive stone building as the entrance gate. Originally, Shaw intended to inscribe a Latin phrase on this building, Hort. Bot. Missouriensis. Fortunately, Engelmann convinced Shaw that the use of such a phrase seemed merely pompous, and Shaw eventually used the English translation of the phrase. While the garden has always been known informally as "Shaw’s Garden," Shaw officially named it The Missouri Botanical Garden.

The photo above shows the entrance gate as it appeared in 1860, as well as the stonewalls extending from either side of the building. Note that not only were there no sidewalks built at the time, the street in front of the entrance was not yet constructed.


1860-1889
The Garden began to take shape during Shaw’s lifetime.
 

Main Conservatory Greenhouse with Juno and visitors in the foreground. The view is looking to the north. 'Shaw's Garden'



Linnaean House with people in foreground. 1- 8 x 5 in. black and white print. Print available at PHO 2006-2424 and PHO 2425. Negative available at PHO 2006-2319.



Camille & Dry 1875 map of the Missouri Botanical Garden



The Garden and Tower Grove Park, topographical plan dated 1865. Drawing also titled "Tower Grove and Surroundings, Estate of Henry Shaw, Esq."; surveyors: F. Tunica, architect and engineer

During Henry Shaw’s lifetime, the garden began to take shape. Although Shaw owned the land all the way from Grand Avenue on the East to Kingshighway on the West (see map), the garden he planned was to be a relatively narrow strip running to the north from his country home. The land immediately to the south of this strip would become Tower Grove Park in 1868; Shaw’s other major gift to the city of St. Louis. This large Victorian Park stretches all the way from Grand Avenue to Kingshighway. It is noted for its many bandstands and structures, and for the statues that Shaw had placed in the park of Shakespeare and other people. The park, even during Shaw’s life, was a frequent site of musical performances, many of which were sponsored by Shaw himself.

Early maps show the rectangular layout of the Garden in the 1870s. At the extreme North end was the fruticetum, a place for the growing of shrubby plants. The parking lots are located on this area now. To the south of this area were two greenhouses. In 1868, Shaw built the Main Conservatory, also called the 1868 Greenhouse. The plan above shows the outline of this greenhouse, with indications of what plants were grown in each section. This greenhouse housed exotic plants. In the 1880s, Shaw added a smaller brick greenhouse to the north of the Main Conservatory. This structure, known as the Linnean House, designed by Shaw’s favorite architect George I. Barnett, housed palms, citrus and other tender plants.

The Main Conservatory was eventually torn down in 1916, but the Linnean House is still standing. Shaw named this smaller greenhouse the Linnean House in honor of Karl Linneaus, the father of the science of plant classification. To honor Lineaus, Shaw placed the scientist’s bust above the front door of this building, flanked by busts of two famous American scientists, Asa Gray and Thomas Nuttal. Today the Linnean House is the oldest continuously operating greenhouse west of the Mississippi and today it houses the MBG collection of camellias.


1860-1889
The Garden contained an arboretum and a farm during Shaw’s lifetime.
 

Arboretum planted by Henry Shaw. The view is to the south east looking from what is now the corner of Vandeventer and Shaw Ave. Tower Grove House, Museum, and the Main Gate are visible in the background. This is a copy of an old photograph taken about 1866. Copied in March, 1909.

During Shaw’s time, the garden included more than just the main garden. To the west, there was a large area known as the arboretum. This area contained a collection and display of different species of trees. There was also working farm on the grounds. Of course, in the 1800s there were no motor vehicles or tractors, and so animal driven equipment worked the farm. The farm included a house and barns in which the animals could be housed. This farm produced food, of course, but there was also a vegetable garden in Shaw’s private garden behind the house. In the garden proper, there was a large area of plants of economic importance, although these plants were more for display than to produce food.


1860-1889
During Shaw’s lifetime, the Garden contained a formal "par terre" garden and an observation tower.
 

Observatory with people on both levels and on path. View is to the north with Juno and the Main Conservatory visible through Observatory entry way.



Statue of 'Juno' in the parterre in the 1890's.

As one entered the garden through the main gate in Shaw’s time, one came immediately upon the "par terre." This elegant and geometrically arranged garden was in the style of the ornate pleasure gardens that Shaw had seen on his trips to England and Italy. At the center of this garden stood a statue of the Roman goddess Juno. This statue has been moved to many locations in the Botanical Garden over the years. The statue, by Italian artist Carlo Nicoli, was copy an ancient Roman work. To the North stood the Main Conservatory and behind it, the Linnean House.

From the Juno statue at the center of the parterre, one stood directly in line with the front door of Tower Grove House to the South. In this line of sight, Shaw built an observation tower in an area north of the grove. From this tower, one had a good view of the garden in all directions. Surrounding the observation tower was a maze of shrubs.


1860-1889
Shaw’s attitude toward his Garden.
 

Mamillaria bed in parterre of the Missouri Botanical Garden

Shaw never married and his real love was his Garden. His attitude toward his plants was shown by a story reported in the first volume of the Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Some years ago Mr. Shaw was escorting a lady visitor through the Garden, and pointing out to her the various rare plants and flowers he knew so well and watched so fondly. She said to him, "I cannot understand, sir, how you are able to remember all these different and difficult names." "Madam," he replied with a courtly bow, "did you ever know a mother who could forget the names of her children? These plants and flowers are my children. How can I forget them?"

1860-1889
Shaw was a generous benefactor and humanitarian.
 

Main Conservatory (1868-1916) greenhouse-Palm house group. Unidentified gardener.

Henry Shaw was known in St. Louis as a generous man and a kind employer. For example, in the 1870s a young African American man named John Feugh arrived in St. Louis looking for work. He was sent by a relative to see Mr. Shaw, and Shaw hired him. Feugh eventually became Shaw’s personal assistant at the Garden. Feugh revered Shaw during his life and served as the unofficial guide to Tower Grove House for years after his employer’s death. In a newspaper article printed late in this Feugh’s life, he remembered Shaw as being a benefactor for himself and the community.

Shaw’s humanitarian nature is shown in the following story:

To someone who inquired why he employed so many Bohemians, he replied: The Bohemians do not seem to be very popular with us, and I think I ought to help them all I can. Walking one day in the Garden with a young lad who was visiting him, he met a lame workman engaged in sweeping up leaves, and greeted him with a 'Good morning, Henry.' A moment later, noticing that the boy had said nothing, "Charles. You did not speak to Henry. Go back and say 'Good morning to him."

1867
Shaw hires James Gurney as Head Gardener.
 

James Gurney - Head Gardener under Henry Shaw standing in the Arboretum

Shaw was fortunate in his hiring of James Gurney in 1867 to be the head gardener. Gurney had been trained as a horticulturist in England, and in St. Louis he took over the task of running the day-to-day operations of the Botanical Garden. He was famous for his cultivation of the large leafed Victoria water lilies, still seen in the Garden today. He was also called on by Shaw to work in Tower Grove Park, and in fact, after Shaw’s death, Gurney became the superintendent of that park.


1860s
Shaw builds a mausoleum, but then later rejects it.
 

Victory statue. Original in Pitti Gallery, Florence, Italy.



View of the Mausoleum, with Mrs. Trelease in mourning. 1889. Copy negative available. PRINTS AVAILABLE -- SEE PHO 1983-0348 and PHO 2006-2613.

Shaw left an oval shaped area surrounding the grove of trees near his home for a special purpose. This grove was to be his final resting place. He constructed a mausoleum there in which he would be laid to rest. Actually, he built two mausoleums. The first was an octagonal limestone structure with a copper roof. Shaw decided he did not like this model because the runoff of the rain from the copper roof tended to turn the stones green. Shaw moved this structure out of the grove and used it to house another sculpture by Carlo Nicoli, also a reproduction of an ancient Roman statue. It was called Victory, and symbolized the Victory of Science over Ignorance. (It is not, as many schoolchildren assume, a statue of Mrs. Shaw - because as mentioned above there was no Mrs. Shaw.)


1880s
Shaw commissions a sculpture of himself for his mausoleum.
 

Henry Shaw posing for mausoleum tomb sculpture.

In the years before his death, Henry Shaw commissioned Baron Ferdinand von Miller to sculpt a statue of himself for his memorial. He posed for the work in a reclining position. The work was completed several years before his death and was stored in the basement of Tower Grove House until it was needed. Shaw built a second mausoleum, designed by George I. Barnett, to be his final resting place. This octagonal structure is made of red granite with a copper roof. Today, one can still see the sculpture of Shaw in the mausoleum, where Shaw is laid to rest.


1880s
A building in the Southeast corner of the Garden was used for many things, including housing students.
 

Photographic print made from Boehl & Koenig Stereograph #168, part of H.A.B.S. MO-1135-15. Good shot of Casino, with horse-drawn carriage on dirt road. One print 10 in. x 8 in. COPY NEGATIVE AVAILABLE.

Shaw intended the garden as a pleasure ground for the public and as a site for scientific research. But Shaw also intended for his garden to provide practical training for gardeners, as well as scientific training for botanists. Eventually, the garden began taking on horticulture students, both men and women. Some of these students lived in a building at the corner of Tower Grove and Magnolia Avenues. This building, called the Casino, had been used for several things, including a restaurant. It stood at the southeast corner of the current garden grounds, where the director’s house now stands. The training and work of the gardeners was shown in detail in the Botanical Garden’s display at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.


1885
Shaw founds a School of Botany at Washington University in St. Louis.
 



In the 1870s, the President of Washington University’s Board of Directors, William Greenleaf Eliot, began to approach Shaw with the idea of having the University take over the Garden after Shaw’s death. Shaw was not convinced. He wanted to keep the Garden separate from the University, but he did see the benefits of forming a connection between the two institutions. In 1885, Shaw funded the creation of the Henry Shaw School of Botany within Washington University. The professor of this school would also be an employee of the Botanical Garden, and the school would be able to use the scientific research facilities of the Garden.

This professorship, named after the recently deceased Dr. George Engelmann, required a noted scholar who also had a talent for administration. The first professor would have the task to build up the department from scratch, buy scientific equipment, and recruit students. Because there were no undergraduate students in botany at Washington University at the time, he would have to start by training undergraduate students in order to prepare the first group of graduate students in botany.

After consulting with botanists around the country, the most promising candidate was a young scientist then at the University of Wisconsin at Madison named William Trelease. Trelease was offered the job, and he accepted even though the new position did not pay significantly more than his former position. He was primarily convinced to come because of the great potential for growth he saw in this new program, and by the probability that he would become the director of the Missouri Botanical Garden upon Shaw’s death.


1889
Shaw dies.
 

Lying in state in Museum Building, 1889. The paintings along the upstairs banister are now located in the Missouri Botanical Garden Library.

In the late 1880s Shaw’s health began to deteriorate. Due to the severe heat in the summer of 1885, his physician suggested that he travel north to the cooler climates of Wisconsin. He returned to St. Louis in improved health, but his health soon began to decline once more. The long ride from his town house to the Garden began to become too much for him. Therefore, he moved out to his country home where he could be near his Garden. In 1889, he suffered an attack of malaria, and it was too much for his already weakened system. In August, Shaw began a steady decline and he died at 3:25 Sunday morning, August 25th, 1889. His physician and some friends attended him in his final hours. His death scene was described next day by several local newspapers, in which it was the lead headline. After his death, Shaw’s body lay in state in the museum building for viewing by the public. The crowds that came to pay their last respects were enormous, and they saw him lying in state in the museum building surrounded by flowers and exotic plants.


1889
Shaw’s will takes effect, establishing the Missouri Botanical Garden as a charitable trust.
 

Open Sunday at the Garden. Street cars on Tower Grove Ave. with people streaming from the Main Gate to the cars. Two 7x5 in. prints. Copy negative available.

Henry Shaw had made careful arrangements for the governance of his Garden after his death. Shaw wanted his Garden to be run as a first class botanical garden in order to provide knowledge and enjoyment to the people of St. Louis and the world for all time. Therefore, he was wary about turning over the ownership and control of the Garden to a single person, who might not share the same passion for gardening that he did. Once it had passed to an heir, there was no way that Shaw’s wishes could control its governance, and an individual heir could have changed the garden or even parceled it up and sold it off. On the other hand, Shaw did not trust politicians to care for his Garden either. He could have left it to the city or the state, but then its governance would be at the whim of voters and politicians, to be sacrificed to the greater good at the first sign of fiscal crisis.

During his lifetime, the Garden seems to have simply existed as a portion of Shaw’s personal estate without a separate institutional existence. In 1859, however, Shaw made a will that would create the Missouri Botanical Garden as a charitable trust upon his death. That is, he left the bulk of his property in this will to a Board of Trustees to be held in trust for certain purposes, specifically for the purpose of operating a Botanical Garden.

In Shaw’s will, therefore, he devised the bulk of his estate to a group of men, not for them to own outright, but for them to hold the property in trust for the purpose of running a botanical garden. In this way, the trustees would govern the use of the property, and such governance would have to be in accordance with the will he made. In that way, Shaw retained an element of control over his Garden even after he had passed on. The will states:

Whereas I have for many years been engaged in laying out and establishing a Botanical Garden, with a museum and library connected therewith upon a portion of the tract first described, and which is now known as the Missouri Botanical Garden, with the design at the time of my death to convey the same with other property to Trustees for the object and with the view of having for the use of the public a Botanical garden easily accessible, which should be forever kept up and maintained for the cultivation and propagation of plants, flowers, fruit and forest trees, and other productions of the vegetable kingdom; and a museum and library connected therewith, and devoted to the same and to the science of Botany, Horticulture, and allied objects...

In 1981, the Missouri Court allowed the Missouri Botanical Garden to restructure under a more modern trust document. The changes involved, however, reflect changes in business practices over the years, and did not alter the purposes of the trust.


1890
In accordance with Shaw’s will, a local clergyman begins preaching an annual "Flower Sermon."
 

Mausoleum with ladies in front. Taken from a Stereo View.

In another provision of his will, Shaw bequeathed two hundred dollars annually to the Bishop of the Episcopal Church for an annual sermon to be preached "on the wisdom and goodness of God as shown in the growth of flowers, fruits, and other products of the vegetable kingdom." On the Sunday of the sermon, the church was filled with beautiful flowers and plants from the Botanical Garden.


1890s
In accordance with Shaw’s will, his Town House is moved to the Garden grounds.
 

Henry Shaw's Townhouse located at 7th & Locust just before removal in 1891 to the Missouri Botanical Garden at 2315 Tower Grove Avenue. Similar to GPN 1982-0356. PRINTS AVAILABLE -- SEE PHO 1982-0357.

After Shaw’s death one provision of his will was that his town house, which had been located at Seventh and Locust in downtown St. Louis was to be dismantled and moved to the Botanical Garden. It was carefully torn down and each brick and plank was labeled so that the house could be reassembled on the grounds. The building, once it was rebuilt, was used on the grounds for administration purposes, and also for some of the scientific research facilities.


1889-1890
The Board of Trustees takes over governance of the Garden.
 

Date palm in Parterre in 1890's.

The will also selected a number of Trustees to take over the direction of the garden. The members of the Board included several members who served by virtue of the office (ex officio members). These included the mayor of St. Louis and the President of Washington University. The Board soon met and began taking over control of the garden. Things did not go off without some controversy. The Mayor of St. Louis believed that as Mayor, he should be the President of the Board and that the board should meet in his office. This bid for control over the Garden did not please the other board members, who met without the mayor. In the newspapers, it had been widely reported that Shaw had left the garden "to the people of St. Louis" or to "the city of St. Louis." While this was true as a matter of principle, it was not an accurate description of the trust set up by Shaw’s will. The will required the trustees to hold the property for the purpose of running a botanical garden. Eventually it was decided that the Board would elect its own President, rather than subjecting the decision to the whims of local politics.


1889-1890s
Trelease becomes the Director of the Garden and moves into an enlarged Tower Grove House.
 

Tower Grove House. Shows the east wing nearly completed. 1- 7x5 in. print.



Dr. William Trelease at summer house, better known as Tower Grove House.

Once the Board was constituted, Dr. William Trelease was quickly confirmed as the new Director of the Botanical Garden. After Trelease became the Director, he and his family moved into Shaw’s old country home, Tower Grove House. The House, however, had been designed to be a home for a bachelor, not for an entire family. Therefore, the Trustees approved an expansion of the House, adding a large section on the East side of the tower, doubling the size of the home. With the construction, Tower Grove House took on the shape that it retains today. The construction was also necessary because the structures that had been built up upon the east side, for the servants and so forth, were found to be unsafe. It was determined that the outhouse had been built to close to the well.


1897
Frederick Law Olmsted’s firm submits a plan for the future development of the Garden.
 

General Plan for the Missouri Botanical Garden looking west showing changes suggested by landscape architects F.L and J.C. Olmsted in 1897. Only the two ponds in the southwest section were actually constructed.

In the late 1890s, the Board of Trustees was able for the first time to sit back and reflect on the future of the Garden. For guidance on the Garden’s direction as they entered the twentieth century, the Board hired Frederick Law Olmsted and his landscape architecture firm to report on the state of the Garden and to create a master plan for its future development. Olmsted was perhaps the most important park designer of the 19th century, having laid out the plans for New York’s Central Park, among others.

The Olmsted firm submitted a report to the Board of Trustees. The plan suggested keeping much of the garden as it was, but it included ambitious plans for the development of the lands to the west of the current garden. In the area to the West of Tower Grove House, bounded by Magnolia Ave on the South and Alfred on the West, the Olmsted’s suggested creating a collection of plants from the North American continent. This area of the Garden would become known as the North American Tract. In the North American Tract, there had been a small stream running through, which drained the water from Tower Grove Park. The plan called for the damming of this stream to create a pond around which the North American Tract. This pond still exists today as the southern half of the lake in the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Japanese Garden.

Just a few weeks after the Olmsted plan was submitted, the Trustees met and adopted it. In 1899, the staff of the Garden built two of the ponds that the Olmsteds had placed in the southwest section, as well as planting trees in the area. This construction would be the only portion of the Olmsted plan to be put into effect, in spite of the Board’s unanimous adoption of the plan. Even that addition required a court decision on the implementation of Shaw’s will.


1889-1915
The largest crowds at the Garden are for the two open Sundays and for the flower shows.
 

Chrysanthemum Show. People waiting to enter show. 1- 7x5 in. print.



Chrysanthemum tent in front of Linnaean House (exterior). PRINT AVAILABLE -- SEE PHO 1982-0076.



Interior view of the Chrysanthemum tent in front of Linnaean House in 1905. PRINT AVAILABLE -- SEE PHO 1982-0075.

During the years from Shaw’s death through the early 1900s, the Garden was only open on two Sundays a year. Thus for workingmen, the garden was effectively only available on those two days. Most visitors, therefore, saw the garden either on one of these open Sundays, or for the flower shows. The Garden began holding the annual chrysanthemum shows in 1905, and it was an immediate success. In 1905, over 100,000 people took the streetcar down Tower Grove Avenue to the Garden. Thousands of chrysanthemums were arranged into beautiful displays for these mum shows. The Garden was finally opened on every Sunday in 1915.


1889-1912
William Trelease leads the Garden as its Director.
 

Dr. William Trelease in office at typewriter. Interior of Tower Grove House. Print available at PHO 2007-1212.

Under the Directorship of Dr. William Trelease, the Garden would make great strides as a botanical research institution. The library and the herbarium grew, as did the School of Botany. New and energetic people were hired in every area of the Garden, including the future director, Dr. George E. Moore. Trelease’s directorship was very successful in building up the scientific facilities and reputation of the Garden. Trelease, however, had some conflicts with the Board of Trustees, who were more interested in the Garden as a pleasure garden. At one point, a trustee made the statement to Trelease that what was wanted was "more garden and less science." The tensions between Trelease and the Trustees increased over time. In 1912, Trelease resigned his position of Director and accepted a faculty position at the University of Illinois, where he remained for the remainder of his long career.


1912-1953
George T. Moore serves as Director of the Botanical Garden.
 

Sepia slide of George T. Moore, Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden (1912-1953).

Dr. Moore was Director for 40 years. During his tenure as Director, the Garden was able to make great progress in all areas of its mission: research, science, and education.


1913
Palm House constructed.
 

Main Garden Lily Pools with concrete construction; lilies in the fall of 1917. The newly constructed Palm House is in the background. Negative available at PHO 2006-2262.

In his first five years as Director, the Garden began publishing the Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden a journal containing articles about the Garden’s scientific research. During this time, the Garden also constructed a large greenhouse for Tropical plants, the Palm House, directly west of the main entrance. This structure was built in 1913, largely to replace the 1868 Greenhouse which had fallen into disrepair. In 1915, the 1868 Greenhouse was torn down once all the plants inside had been relocated into the new greenhouse.


1920s
St. Louis suffers from coal soot pollution in the air.
 

Smoke Pollution Recorder.

During the many years that Dr. Moore was Director, the Garden would face a series of unexpected problems, including the problem of air pollution from the burning of coal in the city, the World Wars and the Depression.

The growth of the city of St. Louis created certain problems for the Garden. The primary form of heat for the city was the burning of coal, both for industrial and home use. On a cold winter day, one warmed one’s home by burning coal in the furnace. The problem was that the coal did not burn cleanly and so much coal was burned that huge black clouds formed over the city, especially in winter when natural weather patterns kept the smoke trapped over the city. In the 1920s, there were several incidents in which large clouds of smoke hung over the city for days at a time. During one such incident in 1925, it was estimated that each person in St. Louis inhaled 15 tablespoons of soot over the five-day period. The Garden was active in publicizing this problem and working toward a solution. The Garden purchased a machine that measured the amount of pollutants in the air as it filtered the air for the green houses. George Moore was active in promoting smoke abatement projects and in seeking solutions to the problem of the deadly clouds of smoke.

The Garden was so active in fighting the smoke pollution in part because the large clouds of smoke were killing the Garden’s plants. The Garden had become one of the leaders in the world in collecting and studying the orchid family, and over time the garden had amassed a large and extremely expensive collection of orchids. These delicate plants were especially vulnerable to the smoke, even though they were grown in the green houses.


1923-1926
The Garden purchase a tract of land near Gray Summit, Missouri and moves its orchid collection to this property, known as the Missouri Botanical Garden Arboretum.
 

Arboretum (Gray Summit), key map dated Feb., 1933; surveyor unknown.

This problem of smoke pollution from coal burning was global in the 1920s, effecting major industrial cities around the world. In London, Kew Gardens, the Royal Botanic Garden of England, had purchased a large tract of land outside the city to move much of their collection away from the smoke. In 1923, the Trustees of the Missouri Botanical Garden agreed that the same measure was required in St. Louis. The Garden actually sold off fifty acres of its St. Louis site for residential development, in order to fund the purchase of a larger tract of land in the country.

After looking at several sites, the Trustees settled on a tract of land along the Meremac River near Gray Summit, Missouri. The area had been a farm for many years, but it was located in an area of rolling hills where there were still many woodlands. More importantly, the site was some thirty-five miles away from St. Louis, far enough to save the plant collections from the disastrous results of the deadly polluted rainfall. It also contained the Joseph H. Bascom Manor House, an elegant brick mansion, which was built in 1879. Today this building contains educational exhibits.

The Trustees called this area the Missouri Botanical Garden Arboretum, but it was always more than just an arboretum. An arboretum is a collection of tree species, and this tract certainly contained that. But it also contained fields of wildflowers and various gardens. Most importantly, it was the location of several large, state-of-the-art greenhouses, which housed the Garden’s orchid collections. The orchid collection was moved to the Arboretum (now the Nature Reserve) in 1926. This priceless collection was not only the best in the country, but one of the best in the world. Here, miles from the city, it was finally safe. Today, the site includes nature trails, education buildings, a native prairie and wetland area, and much more. In 2000, it was renamed the Shaw Nature Reserve, a name more fitting the diverse and varied activities on this now 2,500 acres tract.


1920s
The Garden sends plant collectors to South and Central America and acquires a sub-station in Panama.
 

View of house and shelters; 5 x 7 negative. Print available at PHO 2007-0352 and PHO 2007-0353.

It was no accident that the Garden had one of the world’s finest orchid collections. From the beginning, the collection and classification of plant species was one of the most important aspects of the Garden’s scientific research. Scientists from the Garden did research all over America including the desert southwest. Dr. William Trelease accompanied the famous Harriman expedition to Alaska along with other notable naturalists such as John Muir.

Early in the 20th century, the Garden began sending its research into tropical climes, seeking to catalogue the diverse species in these rich environments. Garden horticulturist, George Pring, made trips to remote locations in Mexico and the Panama Canal Zone. On these trips, the scientist traveled by horse or donkey and often had to live in the most primitive of conditions. They hired native guides to lead them to locations rich in native fauna, which they then collected and shipped back to the United States. These specimens were later labeled in St. Louis, dried, and catalogued in the herbarium for future reference.

Pring and others collected many species of tropical orchids for the garden. But the garden’s collection received a real boost from the generosity of a career bureaucrat in Panama. One of Pring’s trips, he met Charles Powell, an employee of the Panama Canal Zone Authority. For many years Powell had lived and worked in Panama. His hobby and passion was orchid collecting, and Panama was one of the best spots in the world for such an activity. By the time he retired, he had one of the greatest private orchid collections in the world.

He knew, however, that he could not care for his collection by himself, nor could he provide for its upkeep after he was gone. Therefore, he donated his collection, and his garden, to the Missouri Botanical Garden. It became the Panama Extension Station of the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1926.


1930
Due to the stock market crash of 1929 the Garden realizes a decline in available funds by one-third over the next five years.
 

Entering the Victory Garden Harvest Show, Oct. 2-4, 1942. Palm House and Lily pool. Mounted with PHO 2007-1501. Negative available at PHO 2007-1502.

Despite the widespread downturn in the nation’s economy the Garden pressed ahead presenting year round flower shows to visitors who were in need of a distraction from the growing unemployment lines. These shows included orchids, azaleas, hydrangeas, caladiums, dahlias, chrysanthemums and poinsettias.


1931
George Pring patents his widely popular water lily hybrid, Nymphaea of St. Louis. It was the first patent attributed to the Missouri Botanical Garden.
 

Lily Pools and Main Gate. Nymphaea, Mrs. G.H. Pring in foreground. Mounted with PHO 2006-2269

During this period George Pring and other Garden staff help maintain the Garden's visability nationwide by publishing articles in various nationally circulated magazines including the Ladies Home Journal among others.


1934
Feeling the effects of the Great Depression along with the rest of the nation the finances for the Garden hit a new all time low.
 

Entering the Victory Garden Harvest Show, Oct. 2-4, 1942. Palm House and Lily pool. Mounted with PHO 2007-1501. Negative available at PHO 2007-1502.

Due to financial constraints the Trustees of the Garden cancel their annual banquet and the annual Gardener's dinner for the first time. In a reflection of the hard times being seen nationwide Garden staff received a gift of turkey and apples instead.


1935
A portion of the new U.S. 66 highway is dedicated as the Henry Shaw Gardenway.
 

Emile L. Herzinger watercolor portrait of Henry Shaw, 1859.

Due to an effort by St. Louisians and spearheaded by A.B. Greensfelder a new section of U.S. 66 stretching from the St. Louis city limits to the entrance of the Arboretum (now formally known as the Shaw Nature Reserve) at Gray Summit is dedicated as the Henry Shaw Gardenway. This effort was actually a work around solution to publically honor Henry Shaw due to his stipulation that the Garden would never bear his name in any official way. This however had no impact on the fact that St. Louis residents would continue as they had for decades to informally refer to the Garden as "Shaw's Garden."


1939
The Garden relinquishes its Tropical Station to the jurisdiction of the Panama Canal Zone.
 

View of house and shelters; 5 x 7 negative. Print available at PHO 2007-0352 and PHO 2007-0353.

Established as the Panama Extension Station of the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1926 the station greatly improved the availability of orchid cultivars for the Garden horticultural collections. Under the direction of George Pring the Garden actually delved into orchid sales during the 1930s.


1939
Business papers from the Henry Shaw collection are sent on long term loan to the Harvard University Business School.
 

Business papers from the Henry Shaw collection are sent on long term loan to the Harvard University Business School where they would reside until the early 1950s. Luckily for the Garden the collection would return in fine condition and intact.


1939
"Friends of the Garden" is first mentioned in the MBG Bulletin.
 

Friends of the Garden Picnic. Arboretum. 1963?

"Friends of the Garden" is first mentioned in the MBG Bulletin as a way for people to support the institution through their charitable donations, they would take in six thousand dollars in their first year for much needed improvements at the Garden and the Arboretum. The "Friends of the Garden" would lay the groundwork for the establishment of our modern day Garden Membership.


1940
The Arboretum (now know as the Shaw Nature Reserve) is opened to the public for the first time.
 

Arboretum (Gray Summit) 1960s.

The Arboretum (now know as the Shaw Nature Reserve) is opened to the public for the first time year round. Prior to this date visitors could only view limitied areas on specific dates due in large part to a lack of infrastructure at the Arborutem, particularly roads and walk ways.


1942
The Garden pitches in for the war effort.
 

Ceremony in front of Tower Grove House. Mounted with PHO 2007-1498.

The Garden pitches in for the war effort publishing an article entitled, “Plants to Meet the War Emergency.” Thirty-eight beds in the Economic Garden are dedicated to displaying proper growing methods for citizens to grow their own “Victory Gardens.” The Garden would support the U.S. Armed Forces in many different ways during the course of the war. From facilitating knowledge of plants in various geographic locations across the globe to research on rubber production to providing knowledge and resources on quinine, a plant extract used to treat malarial symptoms.


1946
A destructive tornado strikes the Garden laying waste to outside gardens, trees, and plantings.
 

Windstorm and hail damage 1 Sep 46. North side of museum. See MBG Bul 35, 1947. Same as PHO 2005-0560.



Damage, Windstorm and hail, 1 Sep 1946. Damage to stonewall. MBG Bull 35, 1947. Same as PHO 2005-0555.

A destructive tornado strikes the Garden laying waste to outside gardens, trees, and plantings. Luckily the storm spares most Garden structures.


1953
Financial troubles mount for the Garden.
 

Entering the Victory Garden Harvest Show, Oct. 2-4, 1942. Palm House and Lily pool. Mounted with PHO 2007-1501. Negative available at PHO 2007-1502.

The Garden which had been financially strapped since the 1930s runs a deficit for the first time. Unfortunately the Garden is forced to forgo many necessary repairs and put any further developments on hold.


1953
Dr. George Moore steps down as director of the Garden
 

Sepia slide of George T. Moore, Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden (1912-1953).

After serving as Director for over forty years Dr. George Moore steps down, he would stay on at the Garden with the title Director Emeritus which he would retain until his death. During his tenure the country had experienced two World Wars and the Great Depression. The Garden during this time in many ways reflected the changing times ranging from the boom years of the 1920s to the bust of the 1930s from which it would never fully recover during his tenure. Due to a lack of available funds since the 1930s and what some would say uninspired leadership the Garden would change very little during the last two decades of his watch eventually leading to a steady decline in the number of visitors due a sense that nothing new was being developed at the Garden.


1954
Dr. Edgar Anderson is named Garden director.
 

Dr. Edgar Anderson studying corn.

Long time faculty research staff member Dr. Edgar Anderson takes the reigns of the Garden as its new director.


1956
Attendance hits a new all time low.
 

Entering the Victory Garden Harvest Show, Oct. 2-4, 1942. Palm House and Lily pool. Mounted with PHO 2007-1501. Negative available at PHO 2007-1502.

Attendance hits a new all time low, it becomes apparent that unless something is done to attract new visitors that the future of the Garden would be in jeopardy. Many factors can be attributed to this decline including the fact that Garden displays changed very little in twenty years, the arrival of television, the American fascination with the automobile, and the rapid development of the suburbs which in turn began to depopulate the city of St. Louis.


1956
Dr. Edgar Anderson steps down as director and returns to the Garden research staff as the Curator of Useful Plants.
 

Dr. Edgar Anderson studying corn.

Dr. Edgar Anderson steps down as director and returns to the Garden research staff as the Curator of Useful Plants. During his brief tenure the Garden would see the return of the Henry Shaw Papers and the establishment of the annual Symposium on Systematic Botany which still cotinues on to this day. Dr. Hugh Cutler is named interim director.


1958
Dr. Frits Went becomes Director of the Garden.
 

Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden between 1958-63 Dr. Frits Went (1903-1990) was born in Utrecht, Holland and received his Ph. D. from the University of Utrecht in 1927 with a focus on the study of plant hormones and their relationship to plant growth. He spent the next five years as plant physiologist for the Royal Botanical Garden of Buitenzorg, Java (now Bogar, West Jakarta, Indonesia) where developed a lasting interest in tropical vegetation and tropical plant growth requirements. In 1933 he joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology and began developing a facility featuring rooms in which humidity, temperature, and light could be precisely controlled for the purpose of biological study. The facility known as the Phytotron enabled the study of plants in various climates to better understand the requirements needed for optimal growth among various plant species. By the 1950s Went had become a world renowned authority on plant growth and was highly sought after by many national and international committees. Seeking new challenges he accepted the position of Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in May of 1958. Recognizing the Garden’s need to modernize and attract new visitors he sought to combine his love for plants and study with a new structure to replace the now obsolete Palm House which had fallen into disrepair. Intent on creating a new structure that would symbolize a new era for the Garden as it celebrated its 100th anniversary he commissioned the Climatron in 1959 and coined the term itself. The Climatron became the first geodesic dome used as a greenhouse conservatory and featured different climatic zones with the idea being that the structure would serve as a public attraction and a research facility at the same time. While the Climatron never achieved success as a research facility due the inability to sustain microclimates within it nonetheless became an over night sensation as a public attraction and brought people back to the Garden in near record numbers. Although the Climatron proved to be a great success Went’s tenure as director would be a short one. Disagreements with the Board of Trustees led to his decision to return to academics and he resigned in 1963. For the following two years he was a professor of Botany at Washington University in St. Louis and then became the director of the Desert Research Institute at the University of Nevada-Reno, a position he would retain for the remainder of his career. His brief tenure helped put the Garden on track for a bright future after decades of decline and gave the Garden a lasting symbol with the construction of the Climatron. Went was recognized for his efforts and contributions to the Garden in 1990 when he was awarded the Henry Shaw Medal, the award is the highest honor that the Garden can bestow.

Dr. Frits Went, previously of the California Institute of Technology was widely viewed as a top expert on greenhouses and their use. He was responsible for the ground breaking research institution known as the Phytotron which was comprised of climate controlled air-conditioned growing rooms which enabled researchers to study and maintain microclimates. This background would soon prove invaluable to the Garden in guiding the inception and construction of the Climatron during his tenure.


1959
Construction on the Climatron begins.
 

Climatron Construction. Scaffolding



Climatron Construction series. Same as: CLI4#22, PHO 2005-0097.

Construction on the Climatron begins as the old Palm House (1914) is torn down. The Climatron would be the first major construction project at the Garden in over five decades. The Climatron replaced the old Palm House which had become to signify the state of the Garden with its obsolete design and its crumbling structural integrity. The Climatron would mark a clean break with the past with its radically futuristic design based upon the architectural concepts of Buckminster Fuller who first originated the concept of the geodesic dome.


1960
The Climatron opens to the public.
 

Climatron Exterior II. Duplicate on file PHO 2005-0219

October 1, 1960 the Climatron is dedicated and opens to the public the following day, it becomes an overnight success receiving press coverage worldwide as the "only geodesic dome greenhouse" and also as one of the first computer-designed structures in the world. The structure with its wide open floor plan requiring no internal supports amazes the public and stirs the imagination of those already caught up in the quickly evolving space race of the 1960s between the United States and the then Soviet Union. Dr. Frits Went at the time had hoped that the Climatron would be a structure that lent itself to botanical research as much as horticultural displays with its use of controlled climate zones within the structure. Unfortunately the latter would prevail largley due to the lack of ability to establish and maintain microclimates within the Climatron.


1961
The Climatron revives Garden attendence.
 

Climatron Exterior II. Duplicate on file PHO 2005-0219

Attendance to the Climatron alone surpass the total attendance for the Garden in recent years prior and gives the Garden a long over due financial shot in the arm due much in part to the Garden charging twenty five cents admission to the Climatron.

1963
The St. Louis Herb Society establishes the herb garden behind Tower Grove House.
 

Herb Garden, Tower Grove House. Mounted with PHO 2006-0968, PHO 2006-0970, PHO 2006-0971.

This Herb Garden exists today and is still supported by the St. Louis Herb Society. The herb garden and was recently renovated in 2003.


1963
Dr. Frits Went steps down as Director.
 

Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden between 1958-63 Dr. Frits Went (1903-1990) was born in Utrecht, Holland and received his Ph. D. from the University of Utrecht in 1927 with a focus on the study of plant hormones and their relationship to plant growth. He spent the next five years as plant physiologist for the Royal Botanical Garden of Buitenzorg, Java (now Bogar, West Jakarta, Indonesia) where developed a lasting interest in tropical vegetation and tropical plant growth requirements. In 1933 he joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology and began developing a facility featuring rooms in which humidity, temperature, and light could be precisely controlled for the purpose of biological study. The facility known as the Phytotron enabled the study of plants in various climates to better understand the requirements needed for optimal growth among various plant species. By the 1950s Went had become a world renowned authority on plant growth and was highly sought after by many national and international committees. Seeking new challenges he accepted the position of Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in May of 1958. Recognizing the Garden’s need to modernize and attract new visitors he sought to combine his love for plants and study with a new structure to replace the now obsolete Palm House which had fallen into disrepair. Intent on creating a new structure that would symbolize a new era for the Garden as it celebrated its 100th anniversary he commissioned the Climatron in 1959 and coined the term itself. The Climatron became the first geodesic dome used as a greenhouse conservatory and featured different climatic zones with the idea being that the structure would serve as a public attraction and a research facility at the same time. While the Climatron never achieved success as a research facility due the inability to sustain microclimates within it nonetheless became an over night sensation as a public attraction and brought people back to the Garden in near record numbers. Although the Climatron proved to be a great success Went’s tenure as director would be a short one. Disagreements with the Board of Trustees led to his decision to return to academics and he resigned in 1963. For the following two years he was a professor of Botany at Washington University in St. Louis and then became the director of the Desert Research Institute at the University of Nevada-Reno, a position he would retain for the remainder of his career. His brief tenure helped put the Garden on track for a bright future after decades of decline and gave the Garden a lasting symbol with the construction of the Climatron. Went was recognized for his efforts and contributions to the Garden in 1990 when he was awarded the Henry Shaw Medal, the award is the highest honor that the Garden can bestow.

Due to differences between himself and the Board of Trustees as to the future direction of the Garden Dr. Frits Went resigns as Garden director returns to research sector.


1964
George Pring retires after almost sixty years at the Garden.
 

George Pring

First signing on to the Garden staff in 1906, George Pring remains to this day the longest serving member of the Garden staff. During his tenure he spearheaded the Garden's first exploratory trips to the tropics of Central and South America, developed the Garden's lily and orchids into world renown collections, and served as witness to the changes at the Garden that saw it shift from the old Victorian garden that Henry Shaw had created and that still existed in 1906 to one that embodied the future in the construction and completion of the Climatron in 1960.


1965
Dr. David Gates becomes Director of the Garden.
 

Dr. David Gates, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden, Sept., 1965- Sept., 1971.

Dr. David Gates becomes Director of the Garden and immediately states the need for a new botanical research facility at the Garden, his efforts would later be realized in the Lehmann Building.


1965
The first official incarnation of the Garden Gate Shop opens.
 

Garden Gate Shop inventory. Mrs. Frank Vesser, chairman of Tower Grove Shop, and Mrs. Jerome F. Kircher, chairman of Volunteers, taking inventory at the shop.

Situated at the old main entrance now known as the Spink Pavilion the Garden Gate Shop offered visitors unique mementos of their visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden. The original concept of a shop at the Garden came about in 1962 as a very small and limited operation but it paved the way for the development of the future gift shop. With the opening of the Garden Gate Shop in 1965 the shop became a part of the official operations of the Garden for the first time. The Garden Gate Shop moved to Ridgway Center upon its completion in 1982 and remains open to the public to this day offering a wide variety of items and gifts.


1966
The Garden returns to the Panama Canal Zone for the purpose of botanical research.
 

Dr. Walter Lewis in USAF helicopter. Negative available at PHO 2007-0231. Mounted with PHO 2007-0233 and PHO 2007-0234.



Madden Lake/Dam, Panama



John Dwyer.

The Garden returns to the Panama Canal Zone for the purpose of botanical research. This would usher in a new era of Garden botanists exploring Central and South America to document the diverse plant life from one of the most botanical profuse areas in the world. This research continues today.


1967
John S. Lehmann dies; former President of the Board of Trustees.
 

John S. Lehmann

John S. Lehmann dies; former President of the Board of Trustees who also served as Acting Director of the Garden (1953), he was responsible for guiding the Garden through some of its most financially difficult times and spurring public donations to the Garden with his own.


1968
Garden Guides program created.
 

Guide Program. Part of a series taken for MBG Bull. 60(3):30-32 (May-June 1972). A9. Mounted with PHO 2005-0809. Negative available at PHO 2005-0840.

The Garden Guides program first instituted in 1968 continues to this day and provides the Garden with the invaluable service of providing visitors with guided tours of the Garden highlighting its rich history and horticultural displays.

1971
Dr. Peter Raven is named new the Director of the Garden.
 

Dr. Peter Raven standing on the rear porch of Tower Grove House.

Dr. Peter Raven is named new the Director of the Garden. During his tenure the Garden would grow in both botanical research and horticultural displays unparalleled since Henry Shaw founded the Garden in 1859.


1972
John S. Lehmann Building opens.
 

Lehmann Building. Exterior. Shoenberg fountain in foreground.



Lehmann Building. Exterior in spring with Tower Grove House in background.

John S. Lehmann Building opens providing the Garden with the first new botanical research facility in over half a century. The construction of the Lehmann Building was due to the efforts and vision of Dr. David Gates who resigned as Garden Director the year prior in 1971. The completion of the building would provide the new Director, Dr. Peter Raven, with a modern research facility that would enable the rapid growth of Research Department that would be seen under his leadership.


1973
Ground is broken on the site that would later become the Japanese Garden.
 

Japanese Garden, Construction. Bridge construction. Negative available at PHO 2006-1559.

Development of the area long known as the North American Tract begins in anticipation of the creation of the largest Japanese Garden in the western hemisphere. Over the course of the next few years this area which for decades had assumed an Arboretum type asthetic will become radically altered in both landscaping and design. Upon completion the only earlier feature that would remain in any form would be the lake albeit in a new design unique to the Japanese Garden. The same year the event entitled "Bal Orientale" hosted by the Garden and organized by the Members Board raised over $30,000 for the construction of the Japanese Garden.


1974
Anne L. Lehmann Rose Garden is established.
 

Lehmann Rose Garden. Shaw Camera. Mounted with PHO 2006-2004.



Lehmann Rose Garden. Shaw Camera. Mounted with PHO 2006-2003.

The Anne Lehmann rose Garden is established on the location of the old Economic Garden. This large rose garden contains historic cultivars, miniature roses, modern hybrid tea, floribunda and shrub roses, and test roses. Horticulturists evaluate new rose hybrids in conjunction with the All American Rose Selection, Inc.'s yearly trials for the best new rose of the year. A gazebo with a fountain and small pool can be found near the south end of the garden; towards the center the Kerchival Fountain entertains visitors near the test roses; while the dramatic Shoenberg Fountain at the north end of the garden is a favorite, especially with children. Peak season of bloom is summer and autumn. Anne Lehmann, wife of John S. Lehmann, carried on the legacy of unyeilding support for the Garden and its programs that she and her husband established decades prior up until her death in 1991.


1974
Shoenberg Fountain is constructed.
 

Lehmann Building. Exterior. Shoenberg fountain in foreground.

Shoenberg Fountain, located just east of the Lehmann Building is a modern fountain structure featuring a sloping pyramid design. The fountain is often popular with children and those looking for a moment of peace with the sound of cascading water in the background.


1976
English Woodland Garden is created.
 

English Woodland Garden. May 1977



English Woodland Garden. Dedication. May 4, 1976. Professor John Heslop-Harrison, Dir. Of the Royal Botanic Gardnes, KewDirector MBG, Dr. Peter H. Raven. MBG Bull. Vol LXIV, Number 6, p 1, June 1976. Same as PHO 2006-0121.

This quiet, informal garden attracts people and wildlife alike. Three vegetation layers, typical of a mature woodland support an upper tree canopy; a middle shrub layer; and a lower layer of herbaceous perennial plants and ground covers. Several small clearings permit the sun to spear shafts of sunlight through the dark overhead canopy. In the spring, hundreds of woodland flowers including dogwoods, trillium, Virginia bluebells, winter aconite, and azaleas put on a massive display. This garden was renovated in 1994, almost doubling the size, adding several water features, and making it completely accessible to wheelchair users. Peak season of interest is from early spring through summer and into autumn.


1977
Japanese Garden is dedicated.
 

Japanese Garden. Construction.



Japanese Garden. From Jack Jennings negative, 1980.

This garden is named Seiwa-en, which means "the garden of pure, clear harmony and peace." Designed with great care by the late Professor Koichi Kawana to ensure authenticity, this 14-acre garden is the largest of its type in the Western hemisphere. A four-acre lake is complemented with waterfalls, streams, and water-filled basins. Dry gravel gardens are raked into beautiful, rippling patterns. Four islands rise from the lake to form symbolic images. Several Japanese bridges link shorelines; families delight in the feeding of the giant koi (Japanese carp). Visitors are enthralled by cherry blossoms, azaleas, chrysanthemums, peonies, lotus, and other oriental plantings. This garden represents centuries of tradition and a multiplicity of cultural influences synthesized in a uniquely Japanese art form.


1978
The Floral Display House, built in 1915, is destroyed by fire.
 

Floral Display House - Damage. Enlargement of #13 on PHO 2006-0489. Same as PHO 2006-0505.



Floral Display House Damage. Enlargement of negative #16 on PHO 2006-0490. Same as PHO 2006-0496 and PHO 2006-0499.



Floral Display House - Damage. Enlargement of #8 on PHO 2006-0491. Same as PHO 2006-0475 and PHO 2006-0503.

Long the site of the Garden's annual flower shows and displays, the Floral Display House is ravaged by a fire that quickly spread from a food court area. In accessing the damage after the fire it becomes clear the structure is beyond saving and that a new replacement is necessary.


1979
The Gladney Rose Garden dedicated; formally know as the Linnean Rose Garden.
 

Linnean Rose Garden with Linnean House. Mounted with PHO 2007-0490.

Shaped in a giant wheel, this garden displays hundreds of hybrid tea and floribunda roses. Many varieties of climbing roses are featured on the formal fence and arbors enclosing the Gladney Rose Garden. Peak display lasts from early summer through autumn.


1982
Ridgway Center opens as the new entrance to the Garden.
 

Ridgway Center, exterior. Looking northwest from Gladney Rose Garden. Linnean House on right.



Ridgway Center, exterior. Front entrance with flags.



Ridgway Center, exterior. North entrance.



Ridgway Center view.

Ridgway Center opens as the new entrance to the Garden, it also provides the Garden with office space for its growing Education Department, a new Garden Gate Shop, Garden Restaurant, auditorium, and floral display area.


1982
Swift Family Garden
 

Ridgway Center, exterior. Looking northwest from Gladney Rose Garden. Linnean House on right.

Garden features include a perennial border, aquatic pools, annual display beds, and an arbor, all enclosed by ligustrum and yew hedges with a pleached beech hedge enclosing the vista. Peak season of bloom is spring, summer, and fall.


1982
Heckman Rock Garden
 

Heckman Rock Garden

Located immediately in front of the Shoenberg Temperate House, this garden features a myriad of flowers and bulbs from higher elevations or those that have similar growth habits, including the rose campion, pasque flower, and Missouri evening primrose. Peak season of bloom is spring and early summer.


1983
Zoo/Museum District is created within St. Louis with the Missouri Botanical Garden as a participating member.
 

Ridgway Center, exterior. Front entrance with flags.

Zoo/Museum District is created within St. Louis with the Missouri Botanical Garden as a participating member. For the first time in Garden history tax based revenues support day to day operations and become a part of the annual budget.


1983
Scented Garden
 

Scented Garden

This garden, designed for the visually impaired, features Braille and raised-letter labels, and is a delightful experience for all. The garden also features scented and texturally enticing flowers, herbs, spices, and raised beds for visitors in wheelchairs. The Bell Tree Sculpture and Shell Fountain delight the ears of visitors and provide great entertainment for the young and young-at-heart. Peak season of bloom is summer.


1984
Goodman Iris Garden
 

Samuel (Jacobs) Bulb Garden

Hundreds of flowers in all the colors of the rainbow decorate this delightful garden. Dozens of wild species complement hundreds of cultivars in brick-lined beds bisected by turf paths. Peak flower season is May.


1984
Kassabaum Dwarf Conifer Collection
 

Kassabaum Dwarf Conifer Collection

Dwarf conifers, in growth habit resembling the vegetation found at treeline, are interplanted with colorful companion plants and flowers of the Heckman Rock Garden.


1986
First plantings established for the Kaeser Maze.
 

Maze being laid out and planted. Administration Building in background. Gift of Dr. Raven.

This entertaining and puzzling maze recreates one constructed by Shaw in the 1800s. Visitors wind through a labyinth of yew hedges bordered with arborvitae. Yews alternate with paths leading to a vine-clad gazebo. The hedges stand at 5.5 feet, but the maze is sunk 2.5 feet, so outsiders can watch the journey of the intrepid.


1986
Samuel (Jacobs) Bulb Garden
 

Heckman Bulb Garden

In the spring, tens of thousands of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, crocus, grape hyacinths, and minor bulbs burst into flower. In conjunction with the Heckman Bulb Garden these gardens feature summer and fall-flowering bulbous plants such as autumn crocus, lilies, cannas, caladiums, dahlias, and many more. Peak season of bloom is from early spring through autumn.


1988
Jenkins Daylily Garden
 

Jenkins Daylily Garden

Adjacent to Shaw’s original stone wall, this garden provides a link between the Goodman Iris Garden and the historic district of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Daylilies are hardy and tolerate the summer heat very well. They display a wide range of colors and flower prolifically. Hydrangeas and ornamental grasses accent the massive drifts of daylilies, traversed by grass paths. Peak season of flower is June and July.


1989
Shoenberg Temperate House opens.
 

This dramatic greenhouse complements the Climatron, flanking the domed structure to the north. This spacious conservatory displays plants unique to the temperate regions of the world. Many of these regions are characterized by hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters. This greenhouse includes specimens from Africa, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, South America, the Mediterranean Sea basin, coastal California and the southeastern United States. The Temperate House has seven distinct interior gardens. Plants of the Bible can be found in one display, as can figs, grapes, pomegranates, laurel, and numerous herbs and spice plants. A special carnivorous plant area displays insect-eating flora. In addition, a historic stone portico overlooks a beautifully tiled Moorish walled garden that reflects major elements in the history of formal garden design. Peak season of interest is late winter/early spring.


1990
Heckman Bulb Garden
 

Heckman Bulb Garden

In the spring, tens of thousands of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, crocus, grape hyacinths, and minor bulbs burst into flower. In conjunction with the Samuel (Jacobs) Bulb Garden these gardens feature summer and fall-flowering bulbous plants such as autumn crocus, lilies, cannas, caladiums, dahlias, and many more. Peak season of bloom is from early spring through autumn.


1991
William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening opens.
 

Aerial view showing Kemper Home Gardening Center and Blanke Boxwood Garden in background. View is looking to the west.

The William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening is the largest non-profit gardening information center of its kind in the nation. It provides recreation, education and resources for Midwestern home gardeners. The Kemper Center pavilion opened in 1991, and includes a cozy living room area with a fireplace, a demonstration kitchen, a "plant doctor" clinic, a gardening book reference library that includes tool and seed catalogs, a greenhouse, a classroom, indoor gardening displays, monthly gardening calendars, an information center and offices. It has the look and feel of a residential structure. The 23 display gardens, which opened in 1996, include a city garden; butterfly garden; secret garden; family vegetable garden; fruit garden; ornamental displays for landscaping, lawns, and shrubs; rock, shade and flower trial gardens; children's garden; herb garden; garden for attracting birds; and other gardens.The Kemper Center provides home gardeners with a valuable opportunity to see the application of gardening principles discussed in reference materials and the pavilion’s displays. Since each garden is scaled to the size of a typical residence, the visitor has the opportunity to apply these principles at home.


1993
Dr. Alwyn Gentry, pre-eminent botanical researcher at the Garden, dies in plane crash in Ecuador.
 

Dr. Alwyn Gentry

On August 3, 1993, Al Gentry while traveling along with four other conservation scientists perished in a tragic plane crash in Ecuador while conducting fieldwork as a member of Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program. His death was a tremendous loss to both tropical botany and to neotropical conservation. Gentry, field botanist and a senior curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden was famous for his encyclopedic knowledge of tropical plants and his relentless drive. During a career that spanned twenty-five years Gentry collected nearly 80,000 plant specimens and published close to 200 scientific papers. He applied his extensive knowledge to address urgent conservation problems, particularly those found in the South American tropics and rainforest regions.


1994
Kiefer Magnolia Grove
 

Kiefer Magnolia Grove

In March 1994 the Garden planted eight new adult magnolia trees along a new walkway leading from the Linnean House to the Climatron. The Keifer Magnolia Grove was made possible by a gift from Mrs. Elmer G. Kiefer in memory of her husband.


1995
Grigg Nanjing Friendship Garden (Chinese Garden)
 

Grigg Nanjing Friendship Garden (Chinese Garden)

The Margaret Grigg Nanjing Friendship Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri, is modeled on the "scholar’s gardens" of the southern provinces of China, near Nanjing, which are smaller and less ornate than the Imperial gardens of the north. Designed in the traditional colors of black, white and gray, the intricate artistry and exquisite detail of the Nanjing Friendship Garden pavilion, the focal point of the garden, creates a subtle elegance in the landscape. This garden, designed by Chinese-born architect Yong Pan, is considered the most authentic of its size in the United States, and a showplace of absolutely extraordinary craftsmanship.


1996
Blanke Boxwood Garden
 

Blanke Boxwood Garden

The Ruth Palmer Blanke Boxwood Garden is designed to display the Missouri Botanical Garden’s outstanding collection of boxwood, which is notoriously difficult to grow in the Midwest. Boxwood has been valued in gardens for thousands of years, from the "pleasure gardens" of ancient Persia and the landscapes of Greece and Rome, to the formal gardens of Europe. There are no native North American boxwoods; the first plantings in this country were made by colonial settlers who imported cuttings from England, France, and Holland. Boxwood then moved westward with the pioneers. The elegant beauty of boxwood gives shape, structure, and evergreen foliage to any garden setting. The Missouri Botanical Garden’s interest in boxwood stems from the work of the late Edgar Anderson, former director of the Garden and a distinguished member of its scientific staff for 40 years. In 1969, Dr. Anderson established a test program at the Garden to identify hardy strains of boxwood collected from Asia and the Balkans. Today the collection is maintained in the Boxwood Nursery with help from enthusiastic volunteers of the Boxwood Society of the Midwest.


1996
Piper Observatory
 

Piper Observatory

This observatory is modeled on one that was constructed by Henry Shaw in Tower Grove Park. During Shaw's time there existed an observatory and maze in the park, our Victorian area within the Garden recreates this design concept so that visitors today can experience this attaction from years past.


1997
Kresko Victorian Garden
 

Kresko Victorian Garden

This Victorian garden is a majestic example of the height of fashion in England at the time Shaw was planting his gardens in St. Louis. The style of landscaping was introduced in the early 1800s when new varieties of flowers were coming into England from different parts of the world. Elaborate and colorful combinations of flowers, foliage, and succulents were combined in “plant tapestries,” the combination referred to as "carpet bedding." Spring, summer, and fall displays of lush and vibrant floral orchestrations light up the historic area in Victorian style and grace.


1998
Monsanto Research Center opens.
 

Exterior view of the Monsanto Research Center.

Monsanto Research Center opens providing much needed expansion for the Garden’s Research department and herbarium. The Monsanto Center, houses the Garden’s research division, one of the world’s most active and important scientific research operations, including its herbarium, which contains more than 5 million plant specimens, and its highly valued research library. In addition to a staff of more than 150 research scientists, associates and graduate students, hundreds of American and foreign scientists conduct short- and long-term biology projects there each year. A model of "green architecture," this building brings together in one structure environmentally friendly technology, from the siting of the structure and the materials used in construction, to the carpeting, paint, and even the furniture. The sustainable, environmentally sensitive design used recycled and recyclable materials and developed an environmentally sensitive energy system throughout the structure.


1999
Dr. Peter Raven named "Hero of the Planet."
 

Dr. Peter Raven standing on the rear porch of Tower Grove House.

Dr. Peter Raven named "Hero of the Planet" by TIME magazine for his efforts to promote conservation and sustainability.


2000
Strassenfest German Garden
 

Strassenfest German Garden

The Strassenfest German Garden incorporates some of the native flora of Germany and central Europe, as well as plants hybridized or discovered by native Germans. The design is that of a woodland setting full of herbaceous perennials and biennials, as well as deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. Included are sweeps of grasses, astilbes, ferns, columbine, yarrow and many other plants. Annuals are placed in broad areas to add color, including impatiens and geraniums, which are widely used in Germany. The woody plant material is mostly native to central Europe such as the Austrian pine, common boxwood, pontic azaleas, and linden trees. The artistic centerpiece for the garden is a bronze bust of Dr. George Engelmann, created by sculptor Paul Granlund as a tribute to the German native for his accomplishments and contributions to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Engelmann was a German physician who immigrated to St. Louis in the 1830s. He was a noted botanist and a principal advisor to Garden founder Henry Shaw. Engelmann instilled a strong scientific mission for the Garden, laying the foundation for the Garden’s world-renowned research program. Formally dedicated in July 2000, the Strassenfest German Garden was funded by a charitable donation from the St. Louis Strassenfest Corporation.


2006
Dr. Peter Raven celebrates 35 years as Garden Director.
 

Dr. Peter Raven standing on the rear porch of Tower Grove House.

Under his tenure as director the Garden has grown exponentially in both horticulture displays and botanical research the likes unseen since Henry Shaw first established the Garden in 1859.


2006
The Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden opens.
 

Doris I. Schnuck Children's Garden

The Children’s Garden occupies nearly two acres west of the Climatron dome conservatory. Interactive themes of adventure, discovery and frontier settlement bring 19th century history and botany to life with appeal to both kids and adults. The Children’s Garden is first and foremost about family fun while completely integrated into the Garden’s educational programs. It is designed for children ages two to 12, with an emphasis on ages four to 10.

2006
The Ottoman Garden opens.
 

Ottoman Garden view.

The Ottoman Empire was among the largest in history. It was a Turkish state, which at the height of its power in the 16th and 17th centuries spanned three continents and controlled much of southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The Missouri Botanical Garden’s designers tried to recreate sights and smells common to the people and officials of this historic empire. While gardens in Islamic lands differ in layout, most share the purpose of resembling the Koran’s description of the Gardens of Paradise. Gardens in those countries, many of which are arid, feature flowing water and abundant plantings. Visitors will find a profusion of flowers that include classic Turkish tulips and drifts of bulbs, exotic citrus, aromatic herbs, pomegranate, lilac and various perennials, all set within a private courtyard embellished with Middle Eastern architectural elements and the music of water. Horticulturalists supervised the planting of nearly 9,000 bulbs, including historic hybrid tulips, with varieties dating from the 1500s through the mid-1900s.

- Researched and written by Kent Bunting.

Copyright © 2000-2010  |  Missouri Botanical Garden  |  Contact MBG Archives