When were the Domes built?
The Mitchell Park Conservatory has been part of the Milwaukee scene since the first conservatory was built in 1898. The original conservatory exhibited flowers in a "greenhouse" setting and served the public until 1955. Because it was determined to be unsafe and impractical to repair, the conservatory was demolished.
A design competition, won by a local architect, produced the plans for the new conservatory. Donald Grieb's winning entry called for three beehive-shaped (not geodesic) glass domes, 140 feet in diameter at the base and 85 feet high, offering 15,000 square feet of growing space for plant display. Each dome would have a distinct climate and exhibit plants in a naturalistic setting. These are the Desert, Tropical,and Floral Show domes.
Construction began in 1959 and proceeded in stages. The Floral Show Dome opened in 1964, the Tropical Dome opened in 1966 and the Desert Dome opened in October 1967. The total cost was $4.5 million when it was completed in 1967. The facility was dedicated by First lady Mrs Ladybird Johnson (below)
On November 5, 2008 The Domes welcomed visitors at the Grand Re-Opening, with special guest, Donald Grieb. The reopening revealed the new LED lighting system and light show.