logoThe Friends of the Wild Flower Garden

Then and Now at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

The Site of the Old Garden Office

Above: The current map of the Garden - the plateau is where the Visitor Shelter is indicated. Map courtesy Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.

Between 1912 and 1915 several small buildings were added to the Garden. First one or two old tool sheds were moved into the Woodland Garden. Then in 1915 a larger wood "cabin" was built to Eloise's specifications uphill and south of the wetland and downhill from the south entrance. That building served as office, visitor center, shelter, tool room and all other purposes until 1970 when the new shelter shown below was completed and dedicated to Martha Crone. The little building was known as "the little cabin" and as the "garden office".

It was at first unheated but later heated by a small wood stove and on cold days Martha Crone would report that water froze in the watering buckets, stove or no stove. Before the wood stove was installed, Martha Crone would bring a portable kerosene heater from home and the Park Board usually provided the Kerosene (Ref. Martha Crone's Diary). It served Eloise Butler, Martha Crone and Ken Avery for a total of 58 years. The location was on what Eloise Butler called “the plateau,” a flat area of about 1/2 acre in size. You can read her essay on the site in this article from 1926.

The photo below was taken in the fall of 1935. Martha Crone was finishing her third year as Garden Curator. The gentlemen at the far left are sitting on a pair of wooden "settees". One of the men on the right is sitting on the large boulder that bears the Memorial Tablet for Eloise Butler that was dedicated on May 4th, 1934. The office at this time is unheated. See the next photo below for a view of this site today. Photo courtesy Martha Crone Collection, MHS.

Garden Office 1935

In the photo below from October 2008, we see the current arrangement of the site of the old Garden Office. The boulder with the memorial table is at bottom right. At bottom left are a pair of limestone benches donated by Moana Odell Beim in honor of her father, Clinton Odell. They replaced the old settees in 1960. The old office would have been in the flat area where the patio benches are in the center of the photo. That area, now covered with a thick layer of cedar shavings is underlain with a paver surface.

Old Cabin Site

Martha Crone ShelterThe old office was replaced in 1970 by the new visitors shelter that was built by the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden and given to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in 1970 with a dedication to Martha Crone. It sits in a position that would be off to the right of two photos above - a spot previously occupied by small tool sheds (note). The boulder with Memorial Tablet for Eloise Butler is visible at lower center.

For a complete history of the creation of the Martha Crone Visitors Shelter see this article: "The Old Office Replaced."

Odell Patio BenchesNext is a detail of the pair of Kasota limestone benches, dedicated to Clinton Odell and presented by his daughter, Moana Odell Beim; they were installed in 1960 and replaced the pair of wooden "settees" shown in the top photo. Clinton Odell was the founder and first president of The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden. Moana Odell was president of The Friends 1975-1976. The bird bath between the two benches, also of Kasota limestone, is dedicated to Amy H. Odell, spouse of Clinton Odell, and presented by family and friends.

Note: Ken Avery stated that the small tool sheds occupied the spot where the new Shelter was built. Fringed Gentian™, (Vol. 23 No. 4 October 1975). He called them "little half-tumbled down shacks."