Fate of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory

lhb conservatory

The 79-year-old Lord and Burnham Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory at Cornell is crumbling. Excellent article on it’s fate in the Cornell Chronicle.

Built by greenhouse architects Lord & Burnham Co. in 1931 for Liberty Hyde Bailey, the first dean of the College of Agriculture and a prominent palm taxonomist, the facility has deteriorated, with internal and external falling panes of glass, rotting wooden glazing bars and peeling asbestos-laden glazing putty. The college decided, based on advice from the Department of Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety, to close the Conservatory Greenhouse until a long-term solution can be found.

Restoration costs have proved prohibitive. But “There will be a conservatory in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,” says Senior Associate Dean Jan Nyrop, who will lead a discussion of the teaching functions of Cornell’s greenhouses Nov. 17 at 4:30 p.m. in 404 Plant Science Building.

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3 thoughts on “Fate of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory”

  1. So sad to see this closing, and not just because it’s an excellent winter hideaway. I always said, “I’m going to do a photo project there,” and now look. All I have are some camera phone snaps. Bummed.

  2. That sounds all too familiar… If it’s any consolation, after a ten year plus battle to raise funds and get the project approved by a very restrictive (initially) historic district commission, our 1901 L&B was rebuilt/restored in 2005 in aluminum. Let me know if you think anyone there would want to talk to anyone here about the project… (I’m sorry I’m so late seeing this.)

  3. As Liberty Hyde Bailey himself remarked, “It is worth the while to have a place for the affection of things that are not human. Did my reader ever care for a greenhouse in a northern winter? Has he smelled the warm, moist earth when the windows are covered with frost? Has he watched the tiny sprout grow and unfold into leaf and flower? Has he thrust a fragment of the luxuriance of August into the very teeth of winter? Then he knows the joy of conquest that makes a man stronger and tenderer…”

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