The beautiful Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle is about to get a $1.9 million facelift starting in October.
The conservatory, built in 1904, is one of the park’s most popular attractions. It has some great exotic and rare plants from around the world.
So what’s going to be done? A structural assessment by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources last year concluded that portions of the 20 steel trusses supporting the conservatory dome — also known as the Palm House — need immediate replacement.
This winter, the first 21 feet of the steel trusses in the conservatory dome will be replaced. The work will be done by Detroit-based Ideal Contracting.
Construction begins October 1 and should be completed in April of 2019. The conservatory dome will be closed to ensure public safety during that time. The north and south wings and the show house will remain open to visitors Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Visitors will be able to access the building through the lily pond garden entrance.
Reservations for private events will not be available until May 2019.
Although this is a big project, there’s a lot more work to be done. Although this project is being funded by a $1 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and a match of $900,000 from the DNR, about $5 million more dollars are being sought for repairs to the upper portion of the dome.