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  
Simple Historical Time
View expanded timeline with images or without images.



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

- Researched and written by Kent Bunting.

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