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Garfield Park Conservatory Launches Fundraiser To Replace Damaged Glass

Hail caused signifcant damage to the historic Garfield Park Conservatory. Here, glass panes are shattered in the Fern Room. (Credit: Garfield Park Conservatory)

Hail caused signifcant damage to the historic Garfield Park Conservatory. Here, glass panes are shattered in the Fern Room. (Credit: Garfield Park Conservatory)

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Updated 09/14/11 – 4:59 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — It has been two and a half months since a hailstorm shattered the glass ceilings of the Garfield Park Conservatory, and caused more than $2 million in damage.

As CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, officials have made progress in the painstaking process of cleaning up and trying to get the plants at the conservatory covered up before winter’s cold rolls in, but they still need lots of help.

Although insurance covered some of the cost, the conservatory has kicked off a fundraising campaign to pay for the rest.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, the campaign launched Tuesday night is called “One Pane at a Time.” Eunita Rushing, president of the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance says some of the restoration has been completed at a cost of $1 million.

But another $1 million worth of repairs are still needed in the room where the seasonal shows rotate.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

“The show house is almost completely bare,” Rushing said. “Unfortunately, our large magnolia trees in the show house are gone. A foot of the soil in the show house is gone.”

Rushing says the 103-year-old conservatory, in a blighted area of Chicago’s West Side, is an often-overlooked Chicago treasure.

“It’s a wonderful place and while there are two conservatories in Chicago, there’s none other like the Garfield Park conservatory,” she said. “We are the largest with contiguous greenhouses in the country.”

A hail storm on June 30 destroyed 23,000 glass panes at the conservatory, including about half the glass over the Fern Room, Desert House and Show House plant rooms.

Conservatory officials said kids have even stopped by to offer up money from piggy banks and lemonade stands. They’re hoping moms and dads will donate by buying a pane of glass for $250 and up. You can send it in by calling Development Coordinator Sheila Quinn at 773-638-1766 x.13; by mailing a check made out to “Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance” to Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago, IL, 60624; or by visiting the “One Pane At A Time” website to donate online.

Even the repairs already made are only temporary. The conservatory hopes to start putting up a new permanent roof by 2012.