Thursday, December 25, 2008

New Orleans 1885: Horticultural Grounds.....

Located in the in the immediate vicinity of Horticultural Hall, the horticultural grounds covered several landscaped acres. A vast circular park, surrounding Horticultural Hall, occupied the majority of the acreage, and was landscaped with lawns, trees, and shrubs. Numerous pathways, paved with crushed-shell, meandered through the park and allowed visitors to inspect many varieties of plants from around the world. Just west of the circular park was located Lake Brilliant; while south and east of Horticultural Hall were spacious lawns dotted with numerous Live Oaks, remaining from the former Foucher Plantation. Several of these trees were over a century old and of immense proportions. Adjacent to these noble oaks, at the south-east corner of the grounds, was located a small lake and the Mexican National Headquarters. Immediately in front of this building was laid-out a spacious and picturesque garden; filled with immense specimens of cacti & aloe, century plants, and other varieties of Mexican flora. At the north-east portion of the horticultural grounds was located another small lake, spanned by a picturesque wooden bridge, with a pathway leading toward Art Hall. In addition to many varieties of landscaping, two Rendle Company model-greenhouses were constructed within the circular park surrounding Horticultural Hall. One greenhouse was located on the west side of the building, and another on the east side. A decorative cast-iron fountain was also located east of Horticultural Hall. During a drastic drop in temperature, in mid-February of 1885, water in the fountain completely froze and heavy frost coated the glass roofs of Horticultural Hall. This unusual event caused numerous editorial quips, in northern newspapers, about New Orleans being located in "The Sunny South".

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