Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

  • Nature, Animals & Parks
  • 1893

Henry Phipps was one of Andrew Carnegie’s most trusted partners, and ended up owning more of their steel operation than anyone but Carnegie himself. After the sale of the company, Phipps became a very generous, albeit very quiet, philanthropist. (See his entry in our Philanthropy Hall of Fame.) His most visible donation was his creation, in Pittsburgh, of one of America’s most impressive botanical gardens. The property centers on one of the preeminent surviving examples of a Victorian greenhouse, a structure now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside, and on the land surrounding, is a tremendous collection of flora. Phipps, who was known as a kindly man, particularly intended for his gardens to be accessible to and enjoyed by working men and women, whom he believed deserved the refreshment of natural beauty amidst the toil and busyness of urban life. The nonprofit that runs his conservatory has recently turned it into one of the most environmentally efficient such facilities anywhere.