Botanic Garden History
Thanks to Bill Lindstrom of Bevara Digital, we digitized a historic video/slide show produced in 1980 titled “We Grow Things,” about the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens early days (1977 – 1980).
Our apologies for the rough quality, but we have a great history and this is a glimpse of how we started!
Below is a timeline of the history of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
- 1977 – Cheyenne Community Solar Greenhouse built and opened in November. It was located east of Cheyenne off of Whitney Road near Hwy 30. Shane Smith joins as a volunteer and is later hired by Gary Garber to work for Community Action who operated the project. Glen Vosler (who helped oversee construction), was the first Assistant Director.
- 1978 – First crops harvested
- 1978 – Started the State of Wyoming’s first community garden since the Victory Gardens of WWII era.
- 1980 – Tom Throgmorton joins staff as Second Assistant Director.
- 1980 – The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens organizes and operates Wyoming’s very first farmers’ market.
- 1984 – Constructed the first wheelchair accessible orchard.
- 1985 – $395,000 Community Development Grant funds a new Botanic Garden structure in Lions Park.
- 1986 – Claus Johnson hired as new Assistant Director
- 1986 – Construction of the new structure is completed and the Botanic Gardens becomes a division of the City of Cheyenne Parks and Recreation Department
- 1986 – President Reagan recognizes the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens an award for “Exemplary Volunteerism”
- 1986 – Claus Johnson becomes the third assistant Director
- 1986 – Doors open to the public at the new Lions Park site in November of 1986
- 1989 – Shane Smith selected to serve as a “Harvard Loeb Fellow” for the year
- 1990 – CBG honored by President George Bush (Sr.) with the 83rd of “1,000 Points of Light Award”
- 1993 – Friends of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens non-profit Foundation formed
- 1994 – Recognition from President Clinton/ Partners for Livable Communities/ American Entrepreneurial Leadership award.
- 1994 – First time in our history our staff grows larger than two people
- 1996 – GFWC Women’s Civic League of Cheyenne Peace Garden dedicated
- 1996 – Photovoltaic solar energy panels installed on Greenhouse
- 1996 – Cheyenne Botanic Gardens named Community Hero by Governor Jim Geringer
- 1997 – Master Plan created that envisioned future gardens done by Landscape architect, Herb Schaal.
- 2000 – Rotary Century Plazas completed
- 2002 – Shelterbelt completed, historic fencing placed around Wyoming’s oldest locomotive – “Ol’ Sadie”
- 2004 – Hedy & Attilio Bedont Rose Garden opened
- 2005 – Walter Reckling Herb Garden completed
- 2006 – Garden Labyrinth in honor of former first lady, Bobbi Hathaway, dedicated
- 2006 – Fundraising begins for Paul Smith Children’s Village
- 2008 – 62 acres of the USDA Research Station transferred to city for the High Plains Arboretum
- 2008 – Construction begins on the Paul Smith Children’s Village
- 2008 – Cheyenne Botanic Gardens on ballot for $750,000 for renovation/construction design. Passed by 62%
- 2009 – Paul Smith Children’s Village opens to the public as the nation’s first “LEED certified” (platinum) public children’s garden. Aaron Sommers hired as first Education Director
- 2012 – Renovation and Expansion of the Greenhouse Conservatory placed on optional sales tax ballot for $16,000,000 and passes by 56%
- 2014 – Allie Byrd Skaer hired as fourth Assistant Director.
- 2015 – Construction begins for renovation and greenhouse expansion