Garden front gate and fence

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

Winter 1994/1995

This is the ninth year with Gardener Cary George in charge of the Garden.

Note: The issues of the Friend’s newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™, were numbered out of sequence this year. The correct volume numbers are used in the text. The "as printed" numbers are shown at the bottom of this page.

In the winter issue of The Fringed Gentian™, (Vol. 42 No.4) Elaine Christenson wrote about the 1993 addition to the prairie garden. [Story] A list of migrating birds that have been logged at the Garden was published.

Cary George reported that:

A river otter (Lutra canadensis) was again spotted this winter near the North Gate. I believe this is a favorite area of his because the stream-bed is spring fed and therefore open all winter. Usually, no one is with me when I have these sightings, so I realize this could take on the dimension of some sort of furtive "Bigfoot" of the Garden. Confirmation by someone else would be desirable - especially a photographer, but the sightings always occur after the Garden has been closed for the season.

Front gate fence portion
The new front wrought iron fence installed in early 1995 to the left of the gate matches this section from 1990. Photo at top of page shows the new footage extending from the left pillar. Photo G D Bebeau.

At a Friends Board Meeting held on Jan. 26th at Golden Valley City Hall, Steve Pundt, new chair of the National Register Listing Project Committee, reported that proposal of designating the Garden as an historic site was now in the hands of a Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (the Park Board) felt the cost of pursuing the issue was too expensive and that it might result in loss of control of the Garden. However, the city agency stepped in before they had to make a decision on the proposal. The commission had hired research people to see it the Garden could be eligible. [copies of the Friends 1994 committee documents - PDF.]

Early in the year Able Fence got the bid for the new wrought iron fence extending to the left of the Garden front gate and work was to begin soon. When the front gate was completed in 1991/92, funds were not available for the fencing, other than that between the pillars and to the right side of the gate pillars. The Friends were recipients of a bequest of $5,000 from the estate of Lillian Jensen which would help in the cost of the front and back gate work.

Jack and Shirley Schultz
Shirley and Jack Schultz - seen here on Nov. 6, 2004 at the Friends' Volunteer Event. Friends photo.

A second Board Meeting was held on March 30th at Golden Valley City Hall. Jack and Shirley Schultz surprised the board with the presentation of a $5,000 check in memory of Mrs. V. G. Peck, Shirley’s mother. Diane Reindl became the new editor of The Fringed Gentian™ beginning with the spring 1995 issue. President Harriet Betzold reported that a group of historical materials had been given to the Minnesota History Center and that the remaining material was to be stored in the Shelter attic. By the time of the meeting, Able Fence was completing the front gate iron fencing within the week. Cost to the Friends was $6,675.

Sample bookplates had been designed by Friends member Dan Miller for all the books at the Crone Shelter, and the design chosen by the board was then to be printed. Dan had a hand in the design of the 1993 commemorative stamp envelope also.

The design for the back gate was revised. It was originally to have four columns to match the front gate but the bids were too high, so the Park Board approved a two column design. Bids were then let to LaMere Concrete and to Able Fence for the stone and iron work to do this year.

The Park Board was developing plans to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act at the Garden by widening certain paths to five feet, building a ramp to the pit toilets and a ramp and railings from the patio area up to the Crone Shelter. The Friends had not been consulted on this implementation and a handwritten objection was drafted and given to Parks Foreman of Horticulture Dan Hasty, who was present at the meeting, to present to the Parks Operations Manager. The objection was that the work would destroy the original intent of the wildness of the Garden.

Spring 1995

The Garden opened April 1st with the Skunk Cabbage up and the Snow Trilliums emerging. There had been very little snow since the beginning of the year, most it melting after a few days.

In the spring issue of The Fringed Gentian™, (Vol. 43 No.1) Cary George noted the Elaine Christenson passed away on April 1st. She was a former board member and had worked with Cary on the addition of the extra acre to the prairie in 1993 as noted in the Winter section above.

Granite seating in the prairie
Above: Three granite slabs arranged for seating near the Red Oak along the new trail in the new addition to the Upland Prairie. Photo G D Bebeau

The Friends hosted author Martha Hellander at the Garden on Mother’s Day, May 14. She was there to greet visitors, and sign copies of her book on Eloise Butler, The Wild Gardener. The Friends had partially funded her research in 1989-1991.

The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden held their annual meeting on Saturday May 20, at the Martha Crone Shelter in the Garden. Former Friends Board Member and President and Eloise Butler Wildflower Gardener Ken Avery was in attendance.

Directors elected were: Steve Benson (new), Harriet Betzold, Elizabeth Carr , Mel Duoos, Marguerite Harbison, Jack Lynch, Gloria Miller, Steve & Sally Pundt, Kaye Rudberg (new), Shirley & Jack Schultz, Lola Wheeler, Kathleen Wolgamott.

Elected to their offices at the Board of Directors meeting: Harriet Betzold, President; Jack Lynch, Vice-President; Elizabeth Carr, Secretary; and Jack (Chester) Schultz, Treasurer.

In Committees, Shirley Schultz continued as Volunteer coordinator, Kathleen Wolgamott and Lola Wheeler as membership co-chairs, non-board member Diane Reindl was the new Newsletter editor and Marguerite Harbison as memorials chair.

38 volunteers were on the active list. 218 persons on the membership list, a large drop from last year.

Cary George noted the work going on of removing sumac and other undesirables from the new prairie area. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board funded 3 granite slab benches for sitting which were placed under the lone oak in that part of the eastern prairie. Work was completed by Able Fence on the new wrought iron fencing to the left of the new front gate with Friends funding of $6,675. The Friends were also providing funds for the reconstruction of the back gate [photo in 1996] and the Nordquist fountain. That cost was $11,289 to LaMere Concrete for the gate structure and fountain and $1,606 to Able Fence for iron work. Additional fence funding would be needed in 1997. A memorial donation of $2,000 from the Nordquist family in 1994 paid for the fountain.

Below: The Garden back gate, seen here in 2008. Some of the surrounding stone wall work was completed in 1997 and about 70 feet of the wrought iron fencing around the gate was added then also. The remaining lengthy extension of fencing along the pathway to the right of the gate was added in 2005. Photo G D Bebeau

back gate

Summer 1995

The new north gate at the back of the Garden was being worked on.

Nordquist Fountain
Fountain dedicated to Dr. Daniel Nordquist, situated at the top of the oak hill in the Upland Garden. Completed in 1995 with memorial funds received by the Friends from the Nordquist Family. This is the newest of the three fountains in the Garden. (photo courtesy of Harriet Betzold)

The new fountain on the center hill in the Upland Garden was in operation. Dr. Daniel Nordquist was a researcher at the University of Minnesota and died at age 34 on Dec. 11, 1993. The fountain is of Lannon Stone, the same as the other two fountains in the Garden.

The Friends held a Board meeting on July 20th at Golden Valley City Hall. Although there are no minutes available, the agenda indicates committee reports were given, additional copies of Martha Hellander’s book had been ordered and received from the printer, and there was discussion on a letter received from Mary Lerman of the Park Board (July 10, 1995) where she relayed a request from Commissioner Patricia Baker to meet with the Friends about the proposed safety and access issues at the Garden. These were the issues noted in the winter section above.

After the Garden closed for the season, Cary George reported in The Fringed Gentian™ vol. 44-1, Spring 1996, that new plantings in the prairie area this year were: [Link on name goes to complete information sheet]

Autumn 1995

Twelve Friends Board members attended the meeting with Commissioner Baker on Sept. 14th. An understanding was reached that
1) no changes or alterations would be made to the Garden without input from the Friends,
2) the Horticulture Section would not be acting independently with the Garden, and
3) changes would go through the Planning Department as has been done in the past.

The Friends hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Get-together on Sept. 12 at the Crone Shelter at the Garden. This was the 25th year that the Friends provided volunteer greeters at the Crone Shelter. 25 volunteers attended.

Young shelter visitors
Young visitors to the Martha Crone Shelter. The microscope on the table was made by Tim Nordquist in 1994. Friends photo.

At a Friends Board meeting on Sept. 28th the membership co-chairs of Kathleen Wolgamott and Lola Wheeler stated they would not be continuing after the next annual meeting. The North Gate project was still being worked on.

The Heritage Preservation Commission of Minneapolis decided not to pursue designating the Garden as historically significant because it was a teaching facility. [Documentation here - PDF]

Friends President Harriet Betzold wrote in the autumn newsletter:

The expertise and knowledge the Volunteers impart to the many garden visitors is much appreciated. Have you wondered where the visitors who enter the Shelter and are greeted with your friendly smile come from? The guest book tells the story. In July we had visitors from as far as South Africa and Honolulu, Hawaii as well as from Maryland, Pennsylvania, California, Georgia and Connecticut. In August visitors came from LaPaz, Bolivia and Finland; and in the U.S., Oregon, Texas, Montana, Virginia, Florida, Nevada, and Ohio were represented. September brought visitors from Venice, Italy and Poland and locally from Wisconsin, Nebraska, Washington, Michigan and North Dakota.

The comments ranged from "Great cake, I'll be back" to "Breathtaking," "WOW," "Just amazing," "Wonderful," "Fabulous," "Enchanting Refuge," "Beautiful," "Cool," "Very Peaceful," and "Astonishing.” Two children from Golden Valley and their "Gramps" commented that "the Lady was very nice." referring to Catherine (Kaye) Rudberg who served the beautiful birthday cake. A local couple made the statement "Wowie-Zowie - Excellent Staff." If they were referring to the Naturalists with those words, they summed it up beautifully as some wonderful programming was offered by these dedicated young people during the 1995 season."

At the end of 1995 the Friends had financial statement assets of $61,300.

Weather: Precipitation for 1995 was a few inches below median. Very little snow had fallen in Jan-March and later the winter of 1995/96 would produce just slightly more snow than the median of 43 inches. Temperatures during the year were average.

Photo top of page: The front gate of the Garden. Photo from October 2012 ©G D Bebeau

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. 42 No.4 Winter 1994/95, Kathy Stennes, Editor.

- Vol. 43 No.1 Spring 1995, Diane Reindl, Editor (all issues mislabeled Vol. 45)

- Vol. 43 No.2 Summer 1995, Barbara Milligan, Editor

- Vol. 43 No.3 Autumn/Winter 1995, Barbara Milligan, Editor

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. "" - 011121