Garfield Park Conservatory Announces Fundraising Campaign

"One Pane at a Time" events hopes to recoup some of the losses incurred by June 30 storm

By Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011  |  Updated 8:09 PM CDT
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Hail Shatters Garfield Park Conservatory

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Hail Shatters Garfield Park Conservatory

Hail shattered several rooms at Garfield Park Conservatory during Thursday's storm, causing "unprecedented" damage and closing the facility until further notice.
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It's been nearly three full months since a massive hailstorm caused millions of dollars of damage to Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory.

And while life is bouncing back, the park needs help from someone other than Mother Nature.

The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance on Wednesday announced its "One Pane at a Time" fundraiser campaign to help pay for restoration of the facility.

"We hope that the community will, in fact, step up and help to restore this beautiful facility," said Eunita Rushing with the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance.

The storm did more than $2 million in damage to the Fern Room, Show House, Desert House and 10 production houses, and insurance isn't covering everything.

"The hailstorm on June 30 destroyed about 85 percent of this roof. The glass was single-pane glass so when the hailstones, which were, like, handball sized, hit the glass, it shattered it," said Mary Eysenbach, the conservatory's director.

Much of the glass has been replaced with a polycarbonate roof to protect the plants through the winter, but that's only a temporary solution. Hundreds of plants were damaged by the storm, not by the falling glass but instead by the lack of humidity once the panes were shattered.

The conservatory is a landmark building and its restoration must be historically correct. The plans are eventually replace the plastic panes with laminated glass -- such as that found in windshields -- to minimize breakage.
 

 

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