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The mission of The Friends of the Conservatory is to enrich our community's way of life through a greater understanding and enjoyment of tropical and other climate controlled plants at the Volunteer Park Conservatory, in cooperation with the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation.
This Victorian style glass conservatory, fashioned after London's Crystal Palace, stands as the focal point at the north end of Volunteer Park. First proposed by the City of Seattle in 1893, the Conservatory was actually incorporated into the Volunteer Park design by the prestigious landscape architects, John Olmsted and Fredrick Law Olmsted.
The original Conservatory building was the Palm House, now the center structure linking an east and west wing of two houses each. The Conservatory was manufactured in New York, and the shipped to Seattle and assembled by the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. It was completed in 1912 for the incredible sum of $5,000. The Conservatory and growing houses remain a function of the City of Seattle.
The controlled environment within the glass house allows for a unique and diverse collection of plants to thrive. Palms, cacti, bromeliads and cycads are featured, as is an award winning orchid collection. The rotating seasonal display adds interest and beauty.
In 1980 the Friends of the Conservatory (FOC) was organized to encourage the support of this growing legacy. They act as conservators, educators, hosts and provide a financial resource from their plant sales. Public education through programs in neighborhood schools and lectures has become a priority for the FOC. Their vision for the future is an educational facility that responds to the public interest in various horticultural topics.
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