Lincoln Park Conservatory

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United States of America - Illinois - Chicago

Institution Code:

International Agenda Registration: No

BGCI Member: No

Lincoln Park Conservatory viewed from the center of the Great Garden.
Lincoln Park Conservatory viewed from the center of the Great Garden.

About the Lincoln Park Conservatory

Step inside and be transported to another place and time - Lincoln Park Conservatory - where you will find tropical palms and ancient ferns, right in the heart of Lincoln Park.

Constructed in stages between 1890 and 1895, the Conservatory was designed both to showcase exotic plants and to grow the thousands of plants needed for use in the parks.

Lincoln Park Conservatory was designed by a well known architect of the Victorian era, Joespeh L. Silsbee. He built the Conservatory during a time of great fascination with nature. Studying and classifying plants, animals and insects were common hobbies. People were becoming concerned about the effects of industrialization and conservatories provided "tropical paradises" within cities.

With its four display houses: the Palm House, Fern Room, Orchid House and Show House - home to the annual flower shows - the Conservatory continues to provide a haven in the city.

No matter the time of year, Lincoln Park Conservatory is always green and lush. Come take a stroll and let yourself be transported away.

Admission is free.

The Lincoln Park Commission constructed the Lincoln Park Conservatory in phases between 1890 and 1895, replacing a small greenhouse that dated from the 1870s. Nationally renowned architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee designed the Conservatory in collaboration with architect M.E. Bell. The park includes a second example of the work of each architect.

During the early nineteenth century developments in iron and glass building technology led to the construction of conservatories in cities throughout Europe and the United States. Later in the century, as people were increasingly concerned about the ill effects of industrialization, they became fascinated with nature and interested in collecting and classifying plants. Large conservatories with display and exhibit rooms gained popularity, and Lincoln Park's small greenhouse no longer seemed sufficient. Architects Silsbee and Bell were commissioned to design a much more substantial building. Rendered in an exotic style, the new structure included palm, fernery, orchid, and show houses. A "paradise under glass," the Conservatory supported "a luxuriant tropical growth, blending the whole into a natural grouping of Nature’s loveliest forms." Historically, aquatic plants propagated in tanks in the Conservatory were planted outside, in artificially-heated lily ponds. The exotic plants were so popular that in 1897 the Egyptian government requested seeds from Lincoln Park's water lilies. The rocky-edged ponds once meandered along what is now the fence line of the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Main Address:
Lincoln Park Conservatory
2391 N. Stockton Dr.
Illinois 60614 United States of America

Telephone: (312) 742-7739
Fax: (312) 742-5619
Primary Email:

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Mary Eysenbach
    Curator's Name: Harvey Bernstein
    Plant Records Officer's Name:
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number: 14
    Educational Staff Number:
    Research Staff Number:
    Administration Staff Number: 1

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: Private: No
    Status: State: No
    Status: Educational: No
    Status: Municipal: Yes
    Status: Satellite: Yes
  • Date founded: 1890
  • Physical Data
  • Natural Vegetation Area: No
  • Landscaped Area: Yes
    Landscaped Area: Size: 1 Hectares
  • Latitude: 41.9256610
    Longitude: -87.6360220
    Annual Rainfall: 840 mm
    Altitude: 177.00 Metres
    Total area of glasshouses: 5180 Metres
  • Additional Locations
  • Satellite Garden Names: Great Garden Conifer Garden
  • Locality: Information
  • Locality: Garden Name: Lincoln Park Conservatory
  • Local Address: 2391 N. Stockton Drive
  • Locality: City: Chicago
  • Locality: State: Illinois

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: No
    Arboretum: No
  • Micropropagation/ Tissue Culture Facilities: No
    Seed Bank: No
    Published Plant Catalogue: No
    Computer Plant Record System: No
  • Open to public: Yes
    Friends society: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Shop: No
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: No
    Disabled access: Yes
  • Number of Visitors: 1822500
    Number of Volunteers: 7

Plant Collections

  • Invasive Species Monitoring: Yes
    Plant Collection Policy: Yes

Conservation Programmes

  • Conservation Programme: No
    Medicinal Plant Programme: No
    Ex Situ Conservation Programme: No
    Reintroduction Programme: No

Research Programmes

  • Biotechnology: No
    Plant Breeding: No
    Conservation - Biology: No
    Conservation - Genetics: No
    Data Management Systems and Information Technology: No
    Ecology: No
    Ecosystem Conservation: No
    Education: No
    Ethnobotany: No
    Exploration: No
    Floristics: No
    Horticulture: No
    Invasive Species Biology and Control: No
    Molecular Genetics: No
    Pollination Biology: No
    Restoration Ecology: No
    Seed/Spore Biology: No
    Systematics and Taxonomy: No
    Sustainability: Yes
    Pharmacology: Yes
    Agriculture: No
    Land Restoration: No
    Urban Environments: No

Education Programmes

  • Visitor/Education Centre: No
    Education Signs in Garden: Yes
    Public Lectures/Talks: Yes
    Education Booklets/Leaflets: No
    Guided Tours: Yes
    Permanent Public Displays: Yes
    Special Exhibitions: Yes
    Courses for School Children: No
    Courses for University/College Students: No
    Courses for General Public: No
    Education Programme: No