In 1933, the city of Cincinnati received one of its most enduring gifts, one that continues to draw residents and tourists daily: The Krohn Conservatpory.
The Conservatory, located in Eden Park, celebrates its 79th anniversary this year and remains one of the city’s richest landmarks, housing more more than 3,500 plant species from around the world in addition to an indoor 20-foot waterfall constructed from locally quarried limestone.
“We are known world wide,” says Andrea Schepman, director of the Krohn Conservatory. “And one of the greatest things we do is our international-quality Butterfly Show.”
The International Butterfly Show is one of Krohn’s most highly anticipated events every year and a hallmark of spring in Cincinnati. This year’s event, “On the Wings of Harmony,” will showcase thousands of butterflies from six continents in free flight starting April 1.
“Spring is the prettiest time to visit the conservatory,” Schepman adds.
The two most popular rooms in the conservatory are the Fern House, which houses ferns from around the world, and the Palm house —Schepman’s favorite — which holds the conservatory’s edible grove, housing chocolate trees, fruits tree and vanilla vines among others.
Occasionally, when the fruits on the trees ripen, patrons can sample them.
Schepman says another unique aspect of the conservatory is its history, the roots of which were planted long before its opening in 1933 with the establishment of Eden Park itself.
Eden Park began through the work of one Cincinnatian, Nicholas Longworth. Beginning in 1859, Longworth began purchasing the tracts of land that would later be renamed Eden Park in order to establish a vineyard, one of the first in the nation where wine grapes were being grown on a large scale.
“He essentially brought the grape-growing community into the Midwest,” she says. “There’s still an active community now because of him.”
The conservatory is built on the same site where another similar greenhouse stood. The conservatory is made primarily of aluminum and glass and was constructed in the Art Deco style, which can be seen in some the original railings, floor tiles and etched glass in the windows.
The memorial groves adjacent to the conservatory are also full of history. The largest is the Presidential Grove, establish on Arbor Day in 1882. One tree has been planted for every American president.
Living presidents are even consulted by the conservatory to help select the tree they would like planted in their honor. Both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush chose D.D. Blanchard Magnolias, while Bill Clinton opted for a Swamp White Oak. President Barack Obama has not yet had a tree planted in his name.
“The conservatory holds lots of surprises,” says Schepman. “We’re part of the culture and we get communities to come together.”
: Each year, the Krohn Conservatory utilizes more than 600 volunteers for the Butterfly Show.
• Donate: Internationally acclaimed events like the Butterfly show need your financial support in order to continue. Consider getting a “Friend of Krohn” membership. For more information, call 513-421-5707.
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By Ryan McLendon