Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (The Domes)


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The Domes are considered by many to be the gem of Milwaukee’s nationally recognized PARKS system. The current structures were preceded by a glass-encased conservatory built by the City Park Commission in 1898 on land purchased from the MITCHELL family.[1] It was replaced sixty-one years later with a new facility designed by local architect Donald L. Grieb.[2] The new design included three domes: the desert (or arid), the tropical, and the “show” dome featuring seasonal plants and special exhibitions.[3] First Lady “Lady Bird” Johnson dedicated the seasonal dome in September of 1965, while the tropical dome opened in 1966 and the arid in 1967.[4] The construction of the Domes coincided with a larger city revitalization scheme that included the creation of the MILWAUKEE COUNTY ZOO and the relocation of the MILWAUKEE PUBLIC MUSEUM.[5]

Footnotes [+]

  1. ^ John Gurda, “Summer under Glass: Mitchell Park’s Conservatory Preceded Mitchell Park Domes,” in Cream City Chronicles: Stories of Milwaukee’s Past, ed. John Gurda (Madison: Wisconsin State Historical Society Press, 2007), 155.
  2. ^ “History of the Domes,” goMilwaukee, county.milwaukee.gov/ConstructionoftheDom10361.htm, accessed October 13, 2011.
  3. ^Friends of the Domes: Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory,” accessed October 13, 2011.
  4. ^ “Domes Dedicated by Mrs. Johnson,” The Milwaukee Journal, September 21, 1965, 5; “Parks, Recreational, and Culture Functions,” The Milwaukee Journal, October 28, 1967.
  5. ^ John Gurda, The Making of Milwaukee (Milwaukee: Milwaukee County Historical Society, 1999), 270-271.

For Further Reading

Anderson, Harry. “Recreation, Entertainment, and Open Space: Park Traditions in Milwaukee County.” In Trading Post to Metropolis: Milwaukee County’s First 150 Years, edited by Ralph M. Aderman, 255-323. Milwaukee, Milwaukee County Historical Society, 1987.

Gurda, John. “Summer under Glass: Mitchell Park’s Conservatory Preceded Mitchell Park Domes.” In Cream City Chronicles: Stories of Milwaukee’s Past, 153-155. Madison: Wisconsin State Historical Society Press, 2007.

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