History of the Greenhouse
Located in St. Louis’ historic Forest Park, the city greenhouse has quietly housed the gardening activities of the park for over one hundred years. Currently Forest Park, City Hall, and a number of other city parks depend on the greenhouse for their flora. The greenhouse maintains the numerous plants displayed in the Jewel Box each season. City gardeners, in cooperation with Flora Conservancy volunteers, propagate hundreds of species of plants for display around Forest Park and other city parks.
The greenhouse was first built in 1892 and within five years, it was the primary source for the plants and flowers found in the city’s parks. Following the 1904 Worlds Fair, the greenhouse was expanded, and by 1906 it produced nearly 200,000 plants a year. When the Jewel Box was built in Forest Park in 1936, production of the greenhouse increased to more than one million plants a year. With the increased exposure of the park’s gardens, the greenhouse provided a critical working space for producing the floral arrangements that have made the Jewel Box famous.
From the 1950s to today, the city’s budget for gardening and the maintenance of the greenhouse has significantly declined. This decline has resulted in the loss of several greenhouse structures. In contrast, as the number of visitors to Forest Park has grown, the city’s gardening needs have increased. The greenhouse structures that remain today, while in dire need of repair, are heavily relied upon by the city’s parks and the Jewel Box. The Flora Conservancy has partnered with the City of St. Louis to write the next chapter in the history of the Greenhouse with your support. To read about the Greenhouse’s critical needs, click here.
Join the St. Louis City gardeners and Flora Conservancy volunteers in supporting the renovations of the greenhouses that have provided the city with more than a century of exceptional flora.