Who Knew? Climatron Was Constructed Around MOBot's Existing Palm Trees

Categories: History

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The Palm House comes down to make way for the Climatron.
As author Todd E. Styles explains in the book, the Climatron was built to replace the aging Palm House that, beginning in 1913, housed the garden's tropical plants. Construction of the Climatron got underway in 1959 with the dismantling of the Palm House. The hope was that MOBot could then build the Climatron quickly enough in the Palm House's footprint to salvage the trees before the first frost of winter. It didn't happen.

The Climatron, with new palm trees, opened in October 1960 and quickly became the garden's biggest draw. So there you have it. Now go impress your friends with this amazing factoid!

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Foreman Albert Daufenbeck (left) and architect Eugene Mackey discuss construction of the Missouri Botanical Garden's Climatron in 1959.
Photos reprinted with permission from Missouri Botanical Garden, by Todd E. Styles. Order your copy online at www.arcadiapublishing.com or by calling 888-313-2665.

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The front entrance pillars of the old Palm House, which are visible here, were also preserved for a time in the the Climatron. The Climatron is a geodesic dome, a design invented by Buckminster Fuller. Architects  Murphy and Mackey were the architects on record and Thomas C. Howard of  Synergetics Inc. designed the dome. 


If you are a longtime resident of St. Louis, you would have been aware the Climatron was built around the trees...everyone knew that at one time, but enough time has passed  that people forget..but not Kitty.


The Climatron was designed by architect Thomas C. Howard of Synergetics, Inc. geodesic dome expert.  Architect Eugene Mackey did not design the dome, only the lower ground level. 

The Climatron was the first geodesic greenhouse and the first use of plexiglass in a greenhouse.

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