Portions of the Garfield Park Conservatory, devastated by Thursday night's massive hailstorms, reopened today.
The rooms of the 100-year-old conservatory that are open to the public sustained minimal damage during the storms because they were fitted with shatter-resistant glass during renovations in recent years, Chicago Park District officials said in a news release.
The Palm Houses, the Children's Garden and the Sugar from the Sun exhibit at the conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave., reopened, the release said, along with the conservatory's Monet, Sensory and City outdoor gardens.
The glass ceilings of Fern Room, Show House and Desert House, and in nine growing houses "sustained catastrophic damage" in the storms, according to the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance Web site. More than half the glass in the Fern Room was broken.
Those rooms, along with the Aroid House, remain closed, according to the release.
It's unclear how long it will take to reopen the damaged parts of the conservatory, and officials have not yet released an estimate of how much repairs will cost. Given budget constraints on the Chicago Park District, it's expected much of the funds will have to raised by the conservatory alliance.
Opened in 1908 and designed by landscape architect Jens Jensen and Hitchings & Co., a New York engineering firm, the conservatory is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Although it has been damaged in previous hailstorms, including in 2007, officials said they believe this is the most damage it has ever suffered in a storm.
Usually, the conservatory is open every day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Wednesdays, when it is open until 8 p.m. For more information, call the conservatory at (312) 746-5100.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times