CHICAGO (CBS) — Spring is a time of renewal, and that is the case at the Garfield Park Conservatory, which reopened its doors Wednesday after massive repairs.
CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez got a look at the grand reopening.
That hailstorm four years ago shattered 50 percent of the glass there.
The plants were all there throughout the repair process…but the public couldn’t enjoy them, until today.
It was a spring fling at the Garfield Park Conservatory where visitors were soaking up the beauty of the Fern Room once again with its lush greenery, waterfall, and brand new windows.
“I’m a photographer as a hobby and I just love to… see beautiful things,” said visitor Edward Erhart. “I saw the pictures of the damage after the hail and it was just terrible.”
Terrible it was. The hailstorm shattered 30,000 window panes causing glass to rain down on the 100 year-old Fern Room.
Seeing the images brought it all back for Mary Eysenbach, director of conservatories for the Chicago Park District.
“I was blown away,” said she said. “I had forgotten all of that through construction so it really was a reminder of how far we’ve come.”
There is all new glass in the desert room which also reopened today and in the Show House, which is in full bloom. And of course the Fern Room is back open for business, too.
“I’m so happy to see it now up and it looks beautiful. They did a wonderful job,” said Laura Glidewell.
But Eysenbach says with these new windows, another calamity is unlikely.
“This glass is twice as thick plus it is laminated so it will never shatter,” she said. “That’s the key.”
The folks there say the silver lining, they did a brand new roof and a chance to restore the conservatory to the original vision of the landscape architect.
After insurance, the repairs have cost $5.4 million so far.