Thursday, July 28, 2016

Garfield Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden - Indianapolis Indiana

Garfield Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden - Indianapolis Indiana
Garfield Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden
Garfield Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden



The 136-acre Garfield Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden is the oldest of the Indianapolis city parks. Designed by German landscape architect George Edward Kessler, the sunken garden opened on October 29, 1916.


History of Garfield Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden
Garfield Park Conservatory
Garfield Park Conservatory
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites,
Markers & Museums
Central Edition
Southern Riding Park

Garfield Park sprang from two unsuccessful attempts to operate a racetrack and fairgrounds from an area known as Bradley Woods. The Jeffersonville Railroad owned the area and sold it to a group in 1888 that opened the Southern Riding Park. This venture failed, and Marion County Sheriff N. R. Rucker. He later sold the property to the City of Indianapolis. The city leased to a group called the Indiana Trotting Association. Their venture failed also, due to the area's remoteness from the city. The city transformed the land into a park, calling it Southern Park in 1876. The city renamed the park Garfield Park in 1881, in honor of the recently assassinated President James A. Garfield. The city extended the streetcar line to the park in 1895. Numerous improvements took place at the park until Indianapolis hired German landscape architect George Edward Kessler to design a new park
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George Edward Kessler (July 16, 1862 – March 20, 1923)
The son of Edward Carl Kessler and Adolphe Clotilde Zeitsche Kessler, George was a native of Frankenhausen, Germany. The family immigrated to the United States in 1865. The family lived in several states before settling in Dallas, Texas. Edward died when George was sixteen. His mother, in consultation with relatives, decided that George would work in landscape architecture. She took him back to Germany to study at the Grand Ducal Gardens in Weimar, Germany. Kessler studied there and at various other places in Europe before returning to the United States in 1881. He obtained his first design job in Johnson County, Kansas designing Merriam Park. During his lifetime, he completed over 200 projects and prepared plans for 26 communities. He designed twenty-six park and boulevard systems, 49 parks, 46 estates and residences, and 26 schools. Kessler did several projects for Indianapolis including a park and boulevard system in 1909. Indianapolis has named Kessler Boulevard in his honor.

This article excerpted from the author's book:
Conservatory
Garfield Park Waterfall
Garfield Park Waterfall

Kessler spent the next several years designing and building the park. Construction of the first conservatory completed in 1915. This conservatory lasted until 1954.  The Park constructed the current structure to replace it. This 10,000 square foot conservator was the first to use welded aluminum and glass construction in the United States. It houses a luxuriant tropical habitat featuring tree frogs, koi, free flying birds and a fifteen-foot waterfall. Visitors will also find cacao plants, banana trees, fig trees, and an extensive orchid collection. Plant lovers will find a host of other plantings that can turn a cold winter day into a tropical vacation. The conservatory staff hosts changing educational displays as well as three floral displays each year.
Garfield Park Sunken Gardens
Garfield Park Sunken Gardens
Garfield Park Sunken Gardens
The Sunken Gardens include a three-acre formal classical European garden. The brick walkways, fountains, and extensive plantings provide a restful place to walk in a serene setting. Visitors may enjoy three main floral displays in the Garfield Park botanical garden. The spring tulip display peaks about mid-April. The summer annual flower display is usually best from June through August. September and October is when the fall mum display takes place.
Picnic Areas - Pagoda
Garfield Park has ample places to picnic with tables and shelters scattered throughout the park. Visitors will also find playgrounds for children to play and plenty of walking paths.
Garfield Park Sunken Gardens Fountains
Garfield Park Sunken Gardens Fountains

Garfield Park Arts Center
The Arts Center utilizes arts spaces, visual arts galleries, classrooms and a literary arts library to provide city residents with a diverse artistic and cultural experience. The galleries are open to the public and are free to view.
2432 Conservatory Drive
(317) 327-7135
Memorials, Events, Field Trips and Tours
In addition to the numerous memorials, trails and sports facilities, visitors will find numerous events, field trips and tours hosted by park staff. For more information, contact:
2505 Conservatory Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46203
(317) 327-7183
Visitors will find numerous events and concerts hosted at the MacAllister Center for the Performing Arts. For information, contact:
2432 Conservatory Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46203


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