The Belle Isle conservatory was built in 1904. In April 1953, Anna Scripps Whitcomb, who was daughter of Detroit News founder James E. Scripps, gave her 600 orchids collection to the conservatory. Many of these exotic orchids had been saved from Britain throughout World War II. The conservatory became one of the largest governments owned orchid collections in the United States because of her contribution. Unfortunately in recent years, as a result of a shortage of maintenance and budget cuts, most of orchids have died. When it was first built the 85 feet tall dome was wooden, until the early 1950’s when the wooden frame was replaced by one made of iron and aluminum. It is currently the oldest continually running conservatory in the United States.
I took this photo a couple years ago and submitted it to a Detroit News photo contest and was happy to receive an honorable mention. The conservatory and garden is located on Belle Isle which is a city owned park on an island on the Detroit River. The park has seen better days. Sad.