Mini-Flood 5: Missouri Botanical Garden

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photograph by Patrick Gioia

The origin of the Missouri Botanical Garden is a story steeped in the history of its founder, Henry Shaw.  Mr. Shaw moved to St. Louis from Sheffield, England, around 1819, and set up a hardware shop to sell goods imported from back home.  At the time, the city was on the verge of major growth, and Shaw’s venture* proved prescient.  Henry Shaw purchased large swathes of land with the profits from his business, which was so successful that he was able to retire at an early age (40).  After traveling extensively, Shaw returned to St. Louis determined to champion his love of botany.

Around his manse, Tower Grove House, Mr. Shaw began to construct a garden that attracted leading botanists from around the world.  With their cooperation, Missouri Botanical Garden was expanded extensively, and eventually opened to the public in 1859.  Afterward, Shaw donated a considerable amount of land, adjoining the Garden, to the city of St. Louis for a public park.  The presence of Henry Shaw’s Garden, Tower Grove Park, and Shaw Place (a residential development informed/owned by its namesake) spurred development and transformed south St. Louis forever.

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photograph by Sunjoo Lee

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photograph by Mandi Gray

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photograph by Captured N Time

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photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

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photograph by Mandi Gray

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photograph by Jason Gray

Today, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a world leader in botanical conservation and study, and an innovator in plant science.  The organization partners with educators, researchers, horticulturists, and more to expand plant preservation awareness and encourage the enjoyment of flora wherever it’s found.  The Garden is listed as a National Historic Landmark, and is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the western hemisphere.  In addition, two of the Garden’s greenhouses are of historical significance- the Linnean House (built 1882) is the oldest continually operated greenhouse west of the Mississippi River, and the Climatron (built 1960) is the world’s first geodesic greenhouse.

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photograph by Ann Aurbach

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photograph by Janet Henrichs

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photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

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photograph by Jason Gray

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photograph by Patrick Gioia

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photograph by Captured N Time

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photograph by Ann Aurbach

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photograph by Captured N Time

A stroll through the Missouri Botanical Garden is a veritable trip to Eden.  The Garden features over 70 acres of horticultural display, which take on a different character as the seasons change.

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photograph by Mandi Gray

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photograph by Jason Gray

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photograph by Patrick Gioia

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photograph by Ann Aurbach

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photograph by Jason Gray

Map:

MiniFlood5

 

 

*As the city grew, Henry Shaw diversified his business to capitalize on emerging markets and expanded demographics.

3 Comments
  1. Erin Miller Cash 6 years ago

    These are great images and tell the story well. Thanks for sharing one of my favorite snippets of home!

  2. […] McRee Town began to spill over into the Shaw neighborhood, an especially alarming trend for the Missouri Botanical Garden, located nearby. Since the Garden’s inception, the surrounding Shaw neighborhood has been an […]

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