Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Greenhouse honored with preservation award
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
For the past four years, a group of volunteers and skilled trade workers have worked tirelessly to restore Meadow Brook Greenhouse, removing nearly 55 truckloads of trash, installing fans, fixing vents and getting it in working order. The efforts of the group were recognized May 18 as the greenhouse was honored by the City of Rochester Hills Historic District Commission with the 16th Annual Earl Borden Award for History Preservation.
Work began nearly 15 years ago to restore the greenhouse, but tapered off over the years and was restarted four years ago. The restoration was made possible by the help of the skilled trade workers and volunteers, including those working to complete master gardener hours, members of the community, Oakland Community College landscape and horticulture students, and members of the OU student organization SPIN Preservation.
Pam Marin, assistant dean in the School of Nursing, completed her master gardener volunteer and education hours at the greenhouse and took on the project of researching the history of the greenhouse. Claudia Voit, an art and art history student, then used Marin’s research to write up a paper about the greenhouse’s architectural history.
“I was always intrigued by the greenhouse,” Marin said. “I have bought plants from there, but I didn’t know much about it.”
Meadow Brook Greenhouse, located near John Dodge House on the east side of campus, originally was part of the farm operated by the Dodge family. The six-room greenhouse was constructed by the leading greenhouse manufacturer of the time, Lord and Burnham, in about 1914 and was used by Matilda Dodge Wilson even after the completion of Meadow Brook Hall.
The greenhouse is still operational today, and with the help of volunteers, supplies the university with plants for commencement, convocation and university functions as well as the flowers and plants that beautify campus.
The greenhouse hosted its annual plant sale May 20-21 and the volunteers said it was very successful. The funds from the sale are used to support the greenhouse operations and restoration, which still isn’t complete. Some rotting wood needs to be replaced along with some other repairs. Volunteers would like to see the greenhouse be as presentable as Meadow Brook Hall, the golf courses or John Dodge House.
Meadow Brook Greenhouse always is looking for volunteers to help with planting, maintenance of the greenhouse, plant grooming and monitoring for insects or other problems. For more information on volunteering at the greenhouse, call (248) 370-4510.