Garden Shelter Drawing

History of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
and The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden

Winter 1967/1968

Garden in snow
The Garden in late March. Photo by E.F. Pabody 1933

Ken Avery begins his tenth year as Gardener.

In the Friend’s Newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™ Vol 16 No.1 Jan 1968, Martha Crone wrote:

“The first snowflakes begin to fall out of a pale-gray sky. The whole world is sparkling with diamond dust, snow clinging to every tree and shrub. This is the season of silence, when Nature's voice is hushed. The new snow muffles the echoes of all sound. There is new beauty where only bare bleakness existed before. Does one ever outgrow the fun of being out in a snow-storm? Really a treasure to store in the mind.”

She also wrote of the Cardinal - a relative new-comer to Minnesota:

“It was most interesting to observe a male cardinal the last week in October feeding in the drive of our cabin along the shore of Lake Superior, a mere 15 miles south of the border of Canada. He was in company with an immature female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and many Juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, Fox Sparrows and various other sparrows. The Cardinal, the State bird of Kentucky, has been extending its range northward and westward. Records of its appearance in the north have been few until recent years these occurrences have increased.

Female Cardinal
Female Northern Cardinal. Photo ©C L Bystedt

About 35 years ago it was confined as a resident bird to the southeastern portion of Minnesota. At that time it was considered a newcomer into Minnesota, and still is an object of special interest. At first it seemed to have met with little success in its attempts at nesting in the north and hopes for its survival were given up. Yet slowly they adjusted to a cooler climate and changed source of food. In the Wild Flower Garden they eagerly feed on sunflower seeds when the insects are gone but it was noted that these seeds were ignored by those in the north and they took only an assortment of smaller seeds.

Since cardinals are friendly, choosing by preference cultivated lands and coming freely into your yard, it perhaps has a better chance for survival. They are likely to be year-round residents and many depressing winter days are brightened by their presence. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak, a relative of the Cardinal which originally had lived in the deep forests, today is completely at home among the shade trees of towns and really seems to enjoy his contact with mankind. But he doesn't like cold weather and, in the winter, travels south to Central America and parts of South America. The observation of bird life is a delightful pastime and is certain to increase rapidly.”

Spring 1968

Martha Crone
Martha Crone, Friends secretary, membership chair and editor of the newsletter. Former Garden Curator 1933-1958.

Martha Crone wrote in the spring issue of The Fringed Gentian™ Vol. 16 No 2 April 1968:

“In comes the joyous spring which is really the high-tide of the year. The early flowers seem to have been appointed to entertain us from the moment when winter becomes too tedious, until the trees leaf out. We still have opportunities to see wild birds or a wild flower blooming, but they are getting fewer and fewer unless we help to protect them, so that the youth of tomorrow may know them. Of course we need paved highways and Freeways, but we also need quiet wood roads and trails. We need these simple pleasures and if we do not protect them the time will come when we won't have them.”

The Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden was held in the Garden, on Saturday May 18th, 1968. Martha Crone wrote in the summer newsletter:

Garden Office
The Garden Office on Oct. 21, 1955 from a Kodachrome taken by Martha Crone. This is the latest photo we have of the old office before it was replaced in 1970,

“The weather had forsaken us this year, it was cold and drizzly. In recent years it had been ideal for the meeting. However the little cabin was heated and the meeting was held inside. In spite of the gloomy weather the spring flowers put on an excellent show and the Rose-breasted Grosbeak sang to us from the feeder just outside the office.”

Directors elected were: Russell Bennett, Kenneth Avery, Elizabeth Carpenter, Miss Marion Cross, Martha Crone, Whitney Eastman, Catherine Faragher, Mrs. George (Jessie) Ludcke Sr., Walter Lehnert, Alice Martin, Leonard Odell, Elizabeth Reed, Leonard Ramberg, Carl Rawson, Mary Simmons, Hazel Solhaug, Mrs. Clarence (Ebba) Tolg, and Alvin Witt.

Officers elected at the board meeting following the annual meeting were: Catherine Faragher, President; Alvin Witt, Vice-president; Martha Crone, Secretary-Treasurer.

A $500 donation was approved to the Park Board for Garden maintenance. Martha wrote: “A hope was again expressed that a more adequate building could be obtained for this lovely setting housing an office, Museum and Herbarium of specimens. We need places to teach the love of Nature, for he who loves the land will keep the nation strong.” These were same sentiments she had expressed in her 1967 annual Secretary’s report.

Summer 1968

Fern glen entrance
The entrance to the fern glen as seen in 2012.

Martha Crone wrote in the summer issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 16 No. 3 July 1968) about the status of new Fern Glen which had its beginnings in 1955:

“A number of years ago the Minnetonka Garden Club and the Little Minnetonka Garden Flower Club, sponsored material for a new fern hill. For many years it had been a dream to turn this undeveloped area in the upper reaches .of the garden into a fern hill. The area was difficult to establish, it was covered with brush and weeds for many years. It has taken a great deal of work to make this hill a place of beauty. For a number of years it was rather discouraging but with great perseverance, good results have been obtained. Each year more ferns have been added until the result is a pleasure to behold. The elegance and grace of ferns is unsurpassed. Consideration was given to the natural environment of the various kinds. Ostrich Ferns, Cinnamon Ferns and Royal Ferns for the base of the hill where it is moist. Brittle Bladder Fern and Berry Bladder Fern on the slopes under oak trees. Lady Ferns and Interrupted Ferns on the steepest part of the hill where they are exposed to the sun. There are also Christmas Ferns, Goldie's ferns, Hay-scented, Narrow-leaved Spleenwort, Silvery Spleenwort, Marginal Shield Fern, Spinulose Shield Fern, Crested Wood Fern, Narrow Beech Fern, Bracken and Rattlesnake Fern."

Birdbath memorial
The limestone Birdbath memorial to Amy Odell in the Woodland Garden near the Shelter.

Martha had begun the development of the hill during her last two years as curator and Ken Avery had been doing all the work since then. Over the succeeding years, young trees would spring up, and grow into mature trees when they were allowed to grow. Other shrubs would make their way in, until 2014 when some of the density of the over-story began to be removed by taking down a number of Green Ash and some understory shrubs. Full story of the Fern Glen here.

A special memorial for Amy Odell was placed in the Garden this summer. A bird bath of Kasota limestone, was dedicated to the spouse of Friends Founder Clinton Odell; it was presented by family and friends, and is located between the two benches of Kasota Limestone that were dedicated to Clinton Odell in 1960. These are located just off the patio area in front of the Martha Crone Visitor's Shelter in the Woodland Garden near the location of the former Garden Office.

On June 24 The Minneapolis Tribune published an article about the Garden and in particular about Eloise Butler. Unfortunately, the article perpetuated the story that she was found dead in the Garden in 1933. The correct story of how and where she died is in our article about her life (link at bottom of page). The article was written by Clifford Simak, who was well known as a Science Fiction author. The Tribune article in PDF Form.

Autumn 1968

Martha Crone wrote in the fall issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 16 No. 4 October 1968) “The sun filtering through the autumnal foliage, gives it the appearance of candle-light. The bright autumn colors fade and the woods are soon cold. Happy memories of summer are past. Leaves that shortly budded now are dropping making a carpet for our feet. This is the season of ripe fulfillment.”

On Sept. 5th the first meeting of a project committee for the building of a new Garden shelter met at President Faragher’s house at 3401 East Calhoun Blvd. Present were Mrs. Faragher, President; Mr. Alvin Witt, Vice President; Martha Crone, Secretary /Treasurer; Mr, Kenneth Avery, Gardener of the Garden; Mr. Harry Thorn and W. H. Tusler. Tusler, Thorn and later Robert Dassett were joining the Friends Board of Directors.

The meeting was called for the purpose of discussing a proposed building to be erected in the Garden to replace the deteriorating "office," now used by Mr. Avery, which was erected as a office, tool shed and visitors center in 1915, to the specifications of Eloise Butler. The need of the building was to provide Mr. Avery a more suitable office, to provide shelter for visitors to the Garden in inclement weather, to hold meetings, show slides and movies, to have a place to give out information, distribute literature, to sell pamphlets on birds, flowers, plants, and to exhibit articles of interest to visitors.

drawing for new shelter
Drawing for the new Garden shelter by architect H. H. Livingston. Friends records file.

The details of the plans discussed are contained in this document [PDF]. Mr. Lou Crutcher of the Board of Park Commissioners attended the latter part of the meeting and was to take the plan to Superintendent of Parks, Mr. Robert Ruhe. For subsequent details see the 1969 history.

It was at this same meeting the Alvin Witt suggested that the Garden name be changed to add “and Bird Sanctuary” changing the name to “Eloise Butler Wild Flower and Bird Sanctuary.” The suggestion was to be presented to the Board of Park Commissioners. At a meeting on March 25, 1969 in the office of Superintendent Robert Ruhe, Mr. Ruhe said the Park Board was agreeable to the suggestion of changing the name as requested. However, when put into use the name came out with “wildflower” as one word substituted for “wild flower.” Details of the all that is in this document.

Twenty-one new members were added to the Friends membership this past year.

As to the planning for a new Garden Shelter, Martha Crone wrote in her 1968 Secretary's Report:

“When this Organization was incorporated in 1952, Mr. Clinton M. Odell, our first president and instigator had collected funds considerable over the establishment expense of the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden. It was agreed at that time to place the balance in a Savings Account as a nucleus for an adequate building which was so badly needed. It seems due to a number of circumstances we never got to that point until at this time when the occasion arose and if we all pull together we should finally realize this dream. No one knows how much work our president, Mrs. Catherine Faragher has put into this project and we owe her our everlasting thanks.”

Photo top of page: Architectural drawing of the new Garden Shelter - 1968/69

To History of: Previous Year ----------- Subsequent Year

Year chart - all years

Garden History Archive

Friends History Archive

Printable PDF file of this page.

Links to related pages:
- Abbreviated Life of Eloise Butler

- Martha Crone - 2nd Garden Curator

- Ken Avery - 3rd Curator and Gardener

- Cary George - 4th Gardener

- Our Native Plant Reserve - Short document on the origins of the Garden.

- Eloise Butler's writings, a selection of essays written by Eloise Butler on the early Garden years.

- Geography of the Garden- an illustrated tour


Meeting Minutes and correspondence of Friends of the Wild Flower Garden.

Archive of the Friends Newsletter The Fringed Gentian™
Vol. 16, # 1, Winter. 1968, Martha Crone, Editor

Vol. 16, # 2, Spring 1968, Martha Crone, Editor

Vol. 16, # 3, Summer, 1968, Martha Crone, Editor

Vol. 16, # 4, Autumn, 1968, Martha Crone, Editor

Photos by Martha Crone are from her collection of Kodachromes that was given to the Friends by her daughter Janet following Martha's death in 1989.

Historical Climatology of Minneapolis-St. Paul Area by Charles Fisk.

Friends Home Page

©2019 Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc. Photos are as credited and are used with permission for educational purposes, for which the Friends thank them and the organization providing the photos. Text and research by Gary Bebeau. "" - 111920