The landmark custom greenhouse conservatory in Druid Hill Park in Baltimore is the subject of a new book. “Glass House of Dreams; Baltimore’s Victorian Glass Palace In The Park” by Margaret Haviland Stansbury and photographer David Simpson was just released by Palm House Publishing.
A book signing event was held at the conservatory on October 29th announced by a beautiful promo piece that captures the essence of the book on the greenhouse. It reads: “Glass House of Dreams celebrates the City of Baltimore’s Landmark Victorian steel and glass greenhouse palace – one of the surviving architectural treasures in the city’s historic Druid Hill Park. An extensive collection of original lithographic postcards illustrate the history of the 1888 botanical house, which is the second oldest in America.”
“Margret Haviland Stansbury the author is also founder of the non-profit Baltimore Conservatory Association, which worked with the city of Baltimore to bring this Victorian jewel back to life.”
“The original Palm House that featured 175 glass windows, many of them curved, is once again packed with exotic flora from around the world. The real excitement of this book is a portfolio of stunning new photographs by David Simpson. Simpson’s cutting edge photography not only captures the elegance of this architectural gem, but also presents us with intimate images that portray the beauty of its individual plants and flowers.”
“This book, celebrating the past, present and future of The Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens was just released.”
The conservatory in Druid Hill Park is one that is not often mentioned in the portfolio’s of great glass houses of America (or the world) and I was surprised to learn that it was the second oldest in the country.
In the later part of the nineteenth century, interest in conservatories reached America from Europe. The first American great public conservatory was constructed in New York City as part of the 1853 World’s Fair.
Philadelphia began construction of one shortly thereafter in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition there. Baltimore’s Palm House was actually one of four that were originally built in the city – one in Carroll Park one in Clifton Park and one in Patterson Park. The others have been demolished over time with only the Druid Hill Park Conservatory remaining.
It is an interesting design, more vertical and chunky looking than horizontal and sleek as are others of its grand cousins. At a time when conservatory and greenhouse design in America was soon to be dominated by the American firm of Lord and Burnham Greenhouses, the Druid Park conservatory designed by young architect George Frederick, stands out from the mold that became their notable style.
The Baltimore Sun ran a great article about the conservatory.
The new book can also be ordered from Margaret (Peggy) Stansbury.
It is worth a look.