Inspired by Nature
The Garfield Park Conservatory and Chicago's West Side
Distributed for Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance
The Conservatory is at the center of a larger story: how nature, urban design, and horticulture helped to shape one of Chicago’s most interesting neighborhoods. As early as the 1870s, architect and engineer William Le Baron Jenney began the verdant tradition of Chicago’s West Side by designing its seminal park and boulevard system. For more than a century, ideas and visions of nature have influenced the development of Garfield Park, its magnificent conservatory, and the surrounding West Side community. Today gardening and the greening movement are a catalyst for reviving this vital part of Chicago.
Published in honor of the centennial, Inspired by Nature blossoms into a living history that looks to the future, and covers everything from the history of the conservatory and Garfield Park to the revival of the surrounding community. This fascinating and comprehensive volume includes historical essays, archival photography and plans, as well as contemporary color photography by Brook Collins. Inspired by Nature also features vignettes by Chicago Public School students, who write about their experiences as members of the Garfield Park Community. A reflection of the passionate interest and partnerships behind the Garfield Park revival, as well as a celebration of nature’s important role in people’s lives, Inspired by Nature is an essential publication for anyone with an interest in Chicago history, urban parks and communities, and the botanic splendor of the Garfield Park Conservatory.