Somewhere in Time, Unlimited presents:

W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory Centennial
Dress-up Opportunity
August16, 2008
Tacoma, Washington

Representatives of SITU were invited to attend the Centennial Celebrations on this hot August day in 1908 attire. 
Temperatures exceeded 90
˚ F.
So long as we stayed outside of the conservatory,
use of a parasol, fan and hat were enough
Inside, the humidity was another story...

Long before Tacoma developed a reputation as a community of glass artistry, the WW Seymour Botanical Conservatory began wowing visitors with its gorgeous Victorian-style glass architecture and rare botanical collection.

The conservatory was opened in 1908, just one year after the Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma was formed as the first independent park agency in Washington State.  Funding was provided thru a generous $10,000 gift from William W. Seymour, President of the Metropolitan Park Board who later served as Mayor of Tacoma.  The 12-sided dome and more than 3,000 panes of glass create a spectacular showcase for the vivid colors and fragrant scents created by the conservatory's collection of more than 250 plant species.

In attendance for today's festivities, one could find both "Sir Harry of Essex" and "Lady Victoria" in full 1908 regalia.  This was amazing onto itself as the temperatures soared toward 94 this day.

The photo was taken on the drive before the Conservatory in the shade of historical trees. 

These fine specimen were planted approximately 1907 or early 1908 in time for President Theodore Roosevelt's arrival in Tacoma's harbour when he brought his Great White Fleet into town.  These same trees would've been on-site and heard the President's speech during the dedication ceremonies of the park itself. 
"Bully! Bully!  Bully!!!"

The conservatory was breathtakingly beautiful, both in and out.
In the left photo, cyclamen, coleus, caladium and other brilliant toned plants stood out from the background of lush green plants such as palms and vines.

In some places, the plants burst forth with such exuberance, they seemed to be raising the roof! Off in a quiet niche, one could find a waterfall (top R corner) leading to goldfish (bottom L - look closely).

"Sir Harry of Essex" was asked by many visitors to pose before the signage poster showing the dates of 1908 / 2008.

Just look at this incredible Spanish moss growth on the tree!  Reminds many of us of New Orleans and surrounds.

There is quite an elaborate story often told by people from the South about the origins of why this moss has been named "Spanish". Very haunting.

The brilliant whiteness of orchids stands out beautifully in stark
contrast to the varied green tones of the foliage.

Sir Harry, where are you?
Ah, there you are, amidst the ferns.
Careful or they might eat you!

Lady Victoria won't you pause?
She is wearing silk and it's
very HOT in here!

Even outside, the grounds around the conservatory are beautifully maintained and planted.  Here we see a "Monkey Tree" (top R of left photo) giving shade to the hanging baskets of the lamppost.  The pavers that make the walkway are much like cobblestones of old....
Tacoma Mayor Baarsma was on hand to address a sizeable crowd who were on hand to celebrate the
centennial with music and cake.

Also in this photo are 2 members
of The Sound of The Baskervilles,
a local Sherlock Holmes group.

This photo and the following
were taken by
Jenerations Photo of Tacoma.
Please contact Miss Jenn
for more photos or to see
her talents reflected in
her website!

Sir Harry and Lady Victoria are framed beautifully by the gazebo structure located to the left of the conservatory.  Quite romantic.

Everyone always wants Lady V's hat.  There is over $100 worth of feathers which have been hand stitched into position.  The parasol she is using came to her from her grandmother's estate in Germany.

After spending most of the day near the conservatory,
Sir Harry and Lady Victoria strolled down to the
lawn bowling area where they were able to
view a lively game in session.
Are you ready honey? Get ready...

There it goes! Played brilliantly!  Well done!!!
Look at these darling Victorian-inspired homes
just down the street from the park....
The event was recorded for posterity by a Tacoma Tribune reporter
Click HERE to see the article.
If you look carefully, you will spot a "1908 man" leaving a bygone era
behind, having participated and made history at the centennial.
Thank you for visiting our website and viewing the record
of a momentous day here in the glorious sunshine of the Pacific NW.
We hope you have enjoyed the little tour.

If you would like to know more about us,
click HERE to return to the Home Page where
you can learn more and view more photos!

Updated June 25, 2009