Historic White House Conservatories

Would you believe the White House probably had the most historic US Conservatory you have never heard of? The conservatories of the West Wing, at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

white-house-conservatoryPres. Buchanan was the first to add a wooden greenhouse on the roof of the west terrace in 1857, adjacent to the State Dining Room. One could enter a private world of plants and flowers grown for decorating the entire White House. The flowers grown in this conservatory provided for one of the most elaborate White House weddings in history. Nellie Grant, the daughter of Ulysses S. Grant, had the entire East Room covered in flowers. The crown which she wore upon her head was made of orchids from the conservatory as well. Unfortunately,the structure burned in 1867 and was replaced by iron and wood structure twice as large as the earlier one. They were most fortunate the entire building did not burn at that time.

In the 1870s and 1880s additional conservatories were added to the exterior of the White House, including rose houses, a camellia house, orchid houses and a house for bedding plants. One was removed to add the West Wing by Teddy Roosevelt, the other was removed for no apparent reason that we can find. However, in their day, these structures were used to grow all the produce and flowers that graced the White House — all year long.

Mrs. McKinley loved to celebrate the holidays in the White House Conservatory, as evidenced by stereoscope photos she used for her Christmas Cards. Abraham Lincoln grew lemons in the White House Conservatory and gave them as gifts. On his last day, he met a foreign ambassador in the conservatory, peeled an orange and ate it while offering another to his guest.

A conservatory on the White House has its place in history when our Nation had an abiding appreciation for the very objectives you are achieving through your garden — the growth of fresh nutritious foods.

Today’s conservatories easily meet the green building standards President Obama is so committed to. In many of the structures we build, we use solar glass that collects Solar Power, produces electricity and are completely self-sufficient. Imagine a year round garden room that literally costs nothing to operate and extends your passion for healthy, nutritious food to year round.

What the White House is now missing, you can have for your own. Call us and we will help you fulfill your dream.