Mitchell Park Horicultural Conservatory

Also known as: The Domes at Mitchell Park, The Domes
524 S. Layton Blvd., Milwaukee, WI

The world's first conoidal domes, housing 1 acre of plants under glass.

Photos 

Overview Looking East

To the left, the Show Dome, center-distant, the Desert (or "Arid") Dome and to the right, the Tropical Dome.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning

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Map 

Description 

The Mitchel Park Domes, as they are commonly referred to locally, are the world's first conoidal domes. Construction began in 1959 and was completed in 1967 at a total cost of $4.5 million.

The domes are constructed with a concrete foundation that is covered with an aluminum framework filled with glass. The framework is cleverly designed to allow expansion and contraction of the members. The frame members also collect condensation and carry it to the ground through special drain channels built into the framing. There are about 2,200 triangles of glass in each dome, the wired glass is about a 1/4" thick and is especially imported from Germany.

Update Log 

  • July 21, 2011: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • July 19, 2011: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • July 17, 2011: Added by J.R. Manning

Sources 

  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • Friends of the Domes - The Friends of the Domes is a support group whose purpose is to enhance projects and programs in Milwaukee's Mitchell Park Horicultural Conservatory.
  • The Architect's Newspaper - Blog entry describing the domes and their closure in February 2016.