The building is divided into four interior rooms with different climates to accommodate a variety of species. The conservatory is well maintained and the plants thrive in their environment. Since I’m unable to keep a houseplant alive I’m always impressed by the beautiful garden houses.
The Belle Isle Aquarium wasn’t the only place celebrating its 110th anniversary this weekend. The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory was as well. Yet another Albert Kahn building, the conservatory is stunning and my favorite place to visit on the island. Home to a variety of exotic plants it provides the sense of exploration without the hassle of passports.
The statue above is The Little Water Girl. It is one of four commissioned by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in the early 1900s to honor Lillian Ames Stevens. Legend has it that as a child Stevens’ mother would frequently send her to the bar to fetch her father. On one occasion she held out her hands to him and suggested he drink water instead of alcohol. The innocent pose of a child was used as a symbol for the movement and immortalized in her hometown of Portland, Maine, London, Chicago and Detroit.
This weekend’s visit to Belle Isle reinvigorated my love for Detroit. It’s such an amazing place I wish everyone could visit it to see that the city is more than the abandoned buildings that frequent the newspapers. The beautiful island is definitely deserving of its name.
Note: The last picture is from our Belle Isle photo session in 2011.
(Source: Kristin Robertson Photography)