Conservatory

Volunteer Park

Conservatory, 2015. Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives, 178680.
Entrance to Volunteer Park Conservatory with Homage in Green, a hand-blown etched stained-glass designed by artist Richard Spaulding, in the lunette window above the vestibule. Courtesy Volunteer Park Conservatory.
Fern House in the Conservatory, 1970. Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives, 30487.
Seward Statue, originally installed at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909. Courtesy Friends of Seattle's Olmsted Parks.
Conservatory, Volunteer Park, 1914

Constructed in 1912 from a pre-fabricated kit from the Hitchings Company of New Jersey. It consists of five rooms. The domed section at the center is the Palm House. Not long after the conservatory was erected, Anna Clise donated her orchid collection. This formed the nucleus of the orchid collection and inspired others to make similar donations. Fern House and Bromeliad House are on the west. To the east, the Seasonal Display House is now located where the original Cyclamen House was found. The east wing also holds the Cactus House. The distinctive window over the front entry is known as a lunette or peacock window and is original to the building.

Though it has been substantially renovated over the years, the building retains its original appearance as a Victorian iron and glass conservatory. It is operated by the Friends of the Volunteer Park Conservatory in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation.

The Seward statue in the center of the traffic circle in front of the Conservatory was first placed at the University of Washington campus for the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. It honors William Henry Seward, who was the Secretary of State responsible for the purchase of Alaska from the Russians. The statue was moved to Volunteer Park after the exposition was over in the fall of 1909. It was the first of many memorials and monuments in the park.

To go to the Keeper’s Lodge, turn right and follow the sidewalk to the Carriage Drive (it is the roadway extend west from the statue and it is usually closed to traffic). Walk down the Carriage Drive and the cottage will be behind the fence, on your right.

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