Glenwood greenhouse legacy of Osgood |

Glenwood greenhouse legacy of Osgood

Willa Soncarty
Registrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum

Gardeners are lured by the beautiful plants and flowers found in the greenhouse at Glenwood Gardens in West Glenwood Springs. While some of the plants last only one season, their transplanted greenhouse has provided beauty for nearly a century.

In 1903, Colorado Fuel and Iron Corp. founder John Cleveland Osgood completed his $2.5 million Redstone home. With marble fireplaces, mahogany woodwork and walls covered in green leather, Cleveholm Manor was a place of beauty.

Osgood also appreciated nature. Inspired by conservatories found in England, Osgood constructed a large greenhouse on his estate. The greenhouse provided flowers for use inside the mansion and for colorful landscaping outside.

J.C. Osgood died in 1926, and in 1939 retired Forest Service employee S. Floyd Chappel purchased the greenhouse.

To move the conservatory from the Osgood Estate, workers meticulously marked and numbered each stone in the foundation and chimney. They then disassembled the structure.

With Chappel’s guidance, the greenhouse was reconstructed some 30 miles away on the Diffendarfer property in West Glenwood Springs, Chappel’s place of business.

After Chappel’s death in 1943, Edna and Preston Halliburton operated Glenwood Floral at the greenhouse. Lloyd and Dorothy White bought the business and property in 1949. Hugh and Molly McPherson purchased the greenhouse in 1992 from the Niemann family who had owned the historic structure and business since the 1950s.

Because of a coal baron’s desire for beauty, we can thank J.C. Osgood for building what has become a local landmark, and for inspiring all of us to add plants and flowers to our own small estates.

“Frontier Diary” is provided to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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