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Shaw opens the Garden to the public.

Main Gate exterior view with man leaning against pillar. Street and walk unpaved. Circa 1860.

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.


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