Department of Natural Resources
June 18, 2019
|The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory has more to celebrate this year than the 115thbirthday it shares with the Belle Isle Aquarium. On Wednesday, the conservatory will reopen for the public to enjoy its collection of exotic plants from around the world after the completion of the first phase of much-needed structural repairs.
Significant structural replacement and repairs have been finalized, painting of the repaired steel has been completed and scaffolding no longer circles the interior of the Palm House. The $2.5 million project was funded by $1.5 million from DNR Parks and Recreation funds and a $1 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Grant, of which the Belle Isle Conservancy acted as fiduciary. This generous support has helped maintain an important Detroit landmark.
“We are pleased to have the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation assist in funding this critical project,” said Ron Olson, DNR chief of Parks and Recreation.
|The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is one of the most visited and recognizable historic structures in Belle Isle Park, and both the conservatory and the aquarium are contributing elements to Belle Isle Park’s listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The conservatory is one of the oldest in the United states. Construction began in 1902 on the Aquarium and Horticultural Building, as it was called then. The two buildings, designed by Albert Kahn, opened on Aug. 18, 1904. On April 6, 1955, the conservatory was dedicated to Anna Scripps Whitcomb, who donated her 600-plant orchid collection to the City of Detroit.
Questions? Contact Amanda Treadwell, DNR urban area field planner, at 313-264-6359 or firstname.lastname@example.org.