Ken Avery begins his 12th year as Gardener.
In The Friend’s Newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™ Vol 18 No.1 Jan 1970, Martha Crone wrote:
“Twilight time comes early and very suddenly. Then there are many spellbound hours to devote to reminiscing and planning for the spring to come. Yet light gains tremendously in February and the days begin to grow longer altho the tempests of February are yet to come. The winter woods so still have every tree laden with snow, there solace is found in the silence.”
For an update on the new Shelter construction, Friends President Catherine Faragher published this note in the newsletter:
The Martha E. Crone Shelter is progressing even in this sub-zero weather. Our thanks to the Park Board for their great co-operation which is, currently plowing the drive and parking lot for workmen and supplies. The rough shingle exterior charms all who have seen it. We have held up because everything is such a special order for this little gem of a building. We have had delays in millwork and the handcrafted iron work. However, as of this date, the windows are in and the especially cut stone from Wisconsin for the exterior chimney, which went to Iowa by mistake is due to arrive --- materials are now going in by toboggen from the parking lot. Our contractor assures us that all should be completed in February.
Our building chairman, Mr. Wilbur Tusler, is at Sanibel Island until March with his new wife. He has turned over his set of specifications to Mr. Henry J. Neils, a new member whose interest and generosity have been a god-send to us all. Mr. Neils, former president of Flower City Ornamental Iron Co., has consented to help supervise construction in Tus’s absence. Now that we are near completion, we are looking for volunteers to "baby-sit” the Shelter so that it may be always open to the thousands that visit the Garden in the summer. This will allow more time to our Curator, Mr. Kenneth Avery, for conducting tours. This should be a “fun" project with a friend or just with your knitting. Your Board of Directors wish to thank all of you for your generosity and vote of confidence to us but we do want to remind you that WE ARE NOT OVER THE HUMP YET.
We have a book for gifts and memorials, patterned after those beautiful ones at the Woman's Club of Minneapolis. (Donors of gifts listed separately from the memorials). Mr. Otto H. Japs is entering all in his lovely script so that each entry will stand alone, with space between, to be easily read. This Leather-bound volume will be kept out on the large reading table for all to see. This is such a beautiful way to remember a loved one or just to be remembered, yourself, by future generations for having had a part in this wonderful project.”
NOTES: Mrs Faragher’s letter highlights several important points about the Shelter. First, Mr. Neils made a major gift late in 1969 which allowed construction to be completed; second, she is instituting the concept of a volunteer staff to greet guests when the Shelter is open. This program, managed by the Friends, has continued to the present day; third, she mentions the fireplace stone. The initial plans for the shelter called for a Franklin Stove as a fireplace was thought to be too expensive for the Friends' budget. That is the time Friends members Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Dean stepped in and provided the funds to construct a fireplace, the exterior of which is cut stone from Wisconsin. The fireplace and the large copper fireplace hood was a memorial in memory of their daughter Kathleen Dean Hillman, who died at age 25 in July 1968. That money came from both the Deans and from Kathleen's Girl Scout friends. A plaque is on the wall to the right of the mantle.
Who were the donors? In the Aug. 28, 1969 minutes it was noted that 21 Friends members had contributed $100 or more and 66 had given amounts up to $100. By the end of 1969 44 new members had joined.
A special custom memorial book mentioned in Mrs. faragher's note above had been purchased with funds donated by Mrs. Gerald Burgess and lists of donors and memorials were hand inscribed on special pages by Mr. Otto Japs of Japs-Olson Printing. The book was kept on the large table in the new Shelter. Unfortunately, it was stolen and now we have a very incomplete record of who donated what except for what was referred to in the Friends board minutes. We know who paid for certain memorials - that is detailed in a section further below but the amounts are not known. As to other gifts, only the following can be discerned from the records:
At the Feb. 5, 1970 Friends Board meeting it was stated that funds collected now totaled $24,758 and came from 256 contributions of which 100 were memorials.
The Friends had just over $4,000 available to start so other than the gifts outlined above, over $13,000 was raised from many individual donors and members who are now the un-named unsung hero's of the endeavor.
At that same board meeting at the home of Mrs. Faragher, the horticulturist of the Park Board, Mr. Carl Holst, was present. He reported that the Garden fence and gate which had been destroyed by a Park Board truck would be replaced as soon as weather permitted. Some cedars were also destroyed in that incident and Mr. Holst wanted the board to send a letter asking that they be replaced. It would be added to the letter that when the gate posts were replaced that they be tall enough so that a sign could be mounted for people to walk under that designated the gate as the entrance to the Garden. Apparently the previous signs were either old, insignificant or not placed well.
Board member Mr. Harry Thorn was instructed to draft a letter to the Park Board outlining the donation of the shelter to the Park Board with the stipulation that The Friends be consulted about any changes.
Martha Crone wrote in the Spring issue of The Fringed Gentian™ Vol. 18 No. 2 April 1970:
“Help in identifying mushrooms can always be obtained from the Minnesota Mycological Society, which meets every Monday evening during the months of May, June, September and October at Walker Branch Library, 29th and Hennepin Ave.”
Martha was a Mycological Society member and had been Secretary from 1926 to 1943.
Mrs. Faragher writes to the Friends membership on March 23, 1970 (published in The Fringed Gentian™):
I have a broken leg. Mrs. Crone's "Fringed Gentian" is late because of me.
We are in the process of turning over the Martha E. Crone Shelter to the Park and Recreational Board with the stipulation that the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc., be consulted upon any future changes in the structure. The Eloise Butler Wildflower and Bird Sanctuary will open, as usual, on April 1st. Dedication and Annual meeting will be scheduled when the Garden is in all its spring glory.
We have accomplished what seemed impossible. Your Directors hope that you will be as pleased as we are with the "Shelter" as you are the ones who have done this through your enthusiastic contributions. We are leaving a few of the exciting finish up "frostings on the cake" until the bills are all in and paid.
We have a magnificent 81 by 42 table in the making --- the gift of Miss Elizabeth Schutt in memory of her mother, Mrs. Clara K. Schutt who was such a great friend of Miss Eloise Butler. We are hoping that the six 36 inch benches will be given by Garden and Bird Clubs before our Annual Meeting. We’ll be inside this year, warmed by a crackling fire in Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Dean’s Heatolator fireplace -- a memorial to their daughter.
Now we have a real call out for volunteers to host the "Shelter" on daily shifts of 9:30 to 12:30 and 12:30 to 3:30 with the exception of Sunday when Mr. Kenneth Avery will take over. Saturday Shift from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We are fortunate to have Mrs. Carl H. Olson take over the Chairmanship of this committee. Her telephone is 825-1464. As I am house-bound, I'll be happy to refer your calls to Mildred Olson if you can't reach her.
Our heartfelt thanks to our Honorary Board for their wise council and to all of you who have been a great help to me personally, and to others of your Directors. God bless you all. Cay Faragher.
Of the six benches Mrs. Faragher mentions, five were sponsored. The Friends provided the sixth in 1976.
On May 10 the Minneapolis Tribune published a brief note that this was the time to see peak spring wild flower bloom at the Garden, quoting Ken Avery about all that visitors might see. The article said nothing about the upcoming shelter dedication however.
At a board meeting of the Friends on April 9th, May 13 at 4:30 PM was set as the date and time of the Shelter dedication. Parks superintendent Robert Ruhe and the Park Commissioners were to be invited.
On May 13 Friends, Park Board Commissioners and contributors gathered at 4:30 PM for the dedication. Leonard C. Odell, son of Clinton Odell, was master of ceremonies. Martha Crone was present. The dedication plaque reads: “The Martha E. Crone Shelter was planned, financed and erected by The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden Inc. and it was given to the City of Minneapolis through the Board of Park Commissioners and dedicated May 13, 1970 at 4:30 PM.”
[Note: Cay Faragher's note to the membership states that the shelter will be turned over the Park and Recreation Board, yet the wording on the plaque lists the Board of Park Commissioners. In late 1969 the Park Board changed their official name to the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board but implementation was not yet phased in when the dedication was written.]
Minneapolis Poet Betty Bridgman wrote a poem on behalf of the occasion - “A Letter of Thanks from the Eloise Butler Wild Flower Garden on the Occasion of the Dedication of the Martha Crone Shelter on May 13, 1970.” Read it here.
Below: At the dedication of the shelter - in front left, Leonard C. Odell, master of ceremonies; center, Martha E. Crone; right, Hiram H. Livingston, architect. Minneapolis Star photo.
Below: The 81 x 42 inch table referred to above by Mrs. Faragher. It was a gift of Elizabeth Schutt in honor of her mother Clara. Mrs. Faragher refers to six benches, several of which are seen in this photo. One each was provided by the Kenwood Garden Club, the Men's Garden Club of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Audubon Society, the Minneapolis Bird Club, and the Woman's Club of Minneapolis. The Friends provided the sixth in 1976.
The Annual Meeting of The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden was held in the Garden, on Saturday May 16th, 1970, in the new shelter building. As President Cay Faragher had a broken leg, she sent the following message:
“I want to start off my letter with a pat on the back, to Mrs. Carl H. Olson, a new Board member, for the superb job she has done in organizing her "Hosts" committee and express our appreciation to the following 21 persons who, working on three hour shifts, are making the first season of the Martha E. Crone Shelter such a success by their knowledgeable and enthusiastic presence in our new building.
Mmes. Herman Arnott, Frank Carleton, Clark Chamerlain, Alexander Dean, Lester Ericsson, Russell Gutteridge, William Hardacker, E. A. Hedentrom, T. A. Hoffmeyer, Carl H. Olson, George L. Peterson, S. C. Reed, Mary Simmons, T. E, Stark, Oscar Vanlander; Edward Verbarg, Miss Marion Griffith, Miss Elsie Johnson, Miss Elizabeth Schutt and Mr. & Mrs. Don Miller whom you will see all day on Fridays.
We are going to miss "Eddie Bruckelmyer" in the garden. He is a great fellow but we should feel fortunate indeed, to have Sam Baker back again full time. This fellow has a green thumb and has already salvaged some trilliums from a Coon Rapids road grader. [Ed. note: Back when Ken Avery had several helpers, Sam Baker was one of them. In the 1970s he was allowed only one helper.]
Mr. Alvin Witt has consented to head up a Garden Advisory Committee. If you have suggestions for the “Sanctuary," call Alvin because this is our job from now on. I am happy to serve as your President for one more year. It will be a great day when I am able to get to the Garden and actually see the Martha E. Crone Shelter in use, to see that dream fulfilled and from all reports, it is a true testimony to the talent of our building Chairman, Wilbur Tusler and his Architect, H. H. Livingston.” Cay Faragher.
Directors elected were: Kenneth Avery, Martha Crone, Robert Dassett, C. L. DeLaittre, Catherine Faragher, Leonard Odell, Mrs. Mildred Olson, Leonard Ramberg, Alvin Witt, Harry Thorn, Wilber Tusler. A number of the previous directors plus several new persons were again approved as Honorary Directors.
Officers elected at the board meeting that followed the annual meeting were: Catherine Faragher, President; Robert Dassett Jr., 1st Vice President; Alvin Witt, 2nd Vice-president; Martha Crone, Secretary-Treasurer; Mrs. Mildred Olson, Recording Secretary.
In The Fringed Gentian™ Vol. 18 No.3 July 1970, Martha Crone wrote:
“Summer is singing its noon song. Spring just past is a restless season, the time of planting and hoping, but Summer brings the peace of fulfillment. Mid July is the halfway stile between the first cautious growth of June and September's ripening.”
Then she added this note of thanks to the Membership:
“I take this opportunity to express my appreciation and extend my heartfelt gratitude to all members and friends who made possible the beautiful Shelter Building in the Eloise Butler Wild Flower Garden and Bird Sanctuary and dedicated it to me. I am most grateful to those who have given of their time and effort to make it such a success. This is really the culmination of many years of my life devoted to the Garden.”
At a board meeting of the Friends on Sept 24th, the insuring of the shelter was discussed. A big order of new business was the request of Mrs. Crone to be relieved of duties of editorship of The Fringed Gentian™ and as treasurer and membership secretary as of the next annual meeting. The board prevailed on her to continue to issue the newsletter until that time.
Martha Crone wrote in the Fall issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 18 No. 4 October 1970):
“Autumn has the last lovely smile of the year, when the hunter's moon is high, it seems reluctant to retire. There are many reminders of the fast maturing year. From budding to fruiting, the year has flown. There is much color in September and so much lingering warmth in October that the transition between them seems less marked in a way than that between any other two consecutive months. The dying of Summer's fire can be a wondrous experience. There is something in autumn that we never understand, the changing moods and things that are perfected by nature. Dusk comes earlier now and the daylight quickly diminishes and soon the familiar star patterns shift in the sky.”
Below: The Martha E. Crone Visitors Shelter, shown here in 2008. Photo G D Bebeau
That Fall issue contained another note from President Cay Faragher to round out the year:
“What a rewarding season in the Eloise Butler Wild Flower and Bird Sanctuary. The first half of our guest book reveals visitors from 35 states of the Union plus Egypt, England, Germany, Norway, Puerto Rico, India, Mexico, New Zealand, and Canada. Isn't it great that our hosts were in the Martha E. Crone Shelter to greet these people plus those from all over the state of Minnesota, plus our local visitors who came again and again, plus the groups or children, bird groups, garden groups and other organizations?
Mrs. Olson reports that the following members joined her staff of Hostesses: Mms. Hildegarde Holtz, Franklin Kerr, Preston Haglin, Henry Norton, Constance Humphry, Marian Grimes. Miss Elsie Johnson. Dr. Grimes and Mrs. Alexander Dean are still coming on their scheduled afternoons during these late fall days. Our thanks to all who have given their time to make our building such a true headquarters and to Mr. Avery for his interesting display's therein.
The Sanctuary itself enjoyed a good season. Especially outstanding was the magnificent display of Cardinal Flower in the lower garden. The tiny Wild Poinsettia (so fascinating to me) did themselves proud in the upper garden, expanding in size and number. So did the Prairie Dock (a very tall, showy, pale yellow Sunflower type which was introduced to the garden seven years ago and seems to like where it lives. [This is historically incorrect as Eloise Butler planted it in 1923, then Martha Crone planted it several times, first in 1939, then 1942, 1951 and 1955. She may be referring only to the more recent plantings in the prairie area by Ken Avery in 1963 and 1970.]
Mr. Avery reports that on Sunday, October 4th, there were twice as many species or plants in bloom as on the same date last year, and all will go to sleep in great shape as he has had extra fall help from the Park Board. Next spring there will be additional plantings in the area of the Shelter plus a drinking fountain which will be incorporated into the general plan.”
The drinking fountain reference is the memorial to Mrs. Alvin Witt (Bernice), who had passed away in June. The fountain is located directly in front of the Martha Crone Shelter.
On December 4, Carl W. Rawson passed away. He was a charter member of The Friends and a director from 1954 until 1969 and was honorary director till his death. Martha Crone announced his death in the January 1971 newsletter.
When the year ended the Friends had 235 members.
Photo top of page: The Martha Crone Shelter in the Fall of 1992. Photo ©G D Bebeau
Meeting Minutes and correspondence of The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden.
Archive of the Friends Newsletter The Fringed Gentian™
Vol. 18, # 1, January 1970, Martha Crone, Editor
Vol. 18, # 2, April 1970, Martha Crone, Editor
Vol. 18, # 3, July, 1970, Martha Crone, Editor
Vol. 18, # 4, October, 1970, Martha Crone, Editor
Photos by Martha Crone are from her collection of Kodachromes that was given to the Friends by her daughter Janet following Martha's death in 1989.
Historical Climatology of Minneapolis-St. Paul Area by Charles Fisk.