The greenhouse complex was designed by Lord and Burnham of New York City in 1903 and was built between 1903 – 1915. The greenhouse buildings are arranged in the form of a hollow square with potting sheds in the center. The sections of the 13,000 square foot structure include:
- Palm House
- Chrysanthemum House
- Peach & Nectarine House
- Orchid House
- Violet House
- Vegetable Pit
- Mushroom Cellar
- Melon Houses
- Rose House
- Carnation House
- Propagation House
- East & West Display Houses
In the cellar are located the boilers, coal pocket and storeroom for cut flowers.
Our collection of wooden greenhouses and glass conservatory is one of the few remaining intact Lord and Burnham Greenhouse designs in the nation. A historic structures report has been completed on the complex, providing greater details, including use of some of the greenhouses to tend vegetables. Ultimately, Sonnenberg would like to return each greenhouse to its original utilitarian use as first designed by Mrs. Thompson.
Today: Sonnenberg’s greenhouse complex is one of the few remaining intact Lord and Burnham Greenhouses in the United States. Today, five of the greenhouses at Sonnenberg are open to the public for touring. As funds for continued restoration are received, more of the greenhouses can be opened again and returned to their original, utilitarian uses.
Near the southern portion of the greenhouse complex, you will find Sonnenberg’s newest garden, the Children’s Garden. It is a community garden from which more than 1000 pounds of produce are donated to the local soup kitchen.
Greenhouse Restoration Project: Palm House Conservation 2016 Update
July 2016: Funds to restore and conserve the Palm House or central conservatory portion of the greenhouse complex were raised via grants and private donations. The conservation work began in late spring 2016. By early summer, work to remove all the glass panels from the 100-year old structure had begun.
As the greenhouse complex at Sonnenberg is very unusual in that it still has its original structure and climate control pieces, the work must be done carefully and slowly as the wood and iron structure is understandably fragile.
June 28: Glass Removal
July 4: Glass Removal Still in Process
If you would like to help restore and preserve other parts of the greenhouse complex, please see our Greenhouse Restoration Project page.
Glass has begun to go back into the Greenhouse. The entrance to the Palm House has been restored. Representatives of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) organization came out to present a check to Sonnenberg for the Greenhouse restoration work.