Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum

Connecting people, plants, and place.

Notice: Our website is currently undergoing maintenance and information may not be current. For assistance please contact info@morrisarboretum.org.

The Dorrance H. Hamilton Fernery

Buildings

The Dorrance H. Hamilton Fernery


The Dorrance H. Hamilton Fernery is the only remaining freestanding Victorian fernery in North America. Originally built in 1899 under the supervision of John Morris, the fernery stands today as a historical time piece, documenting the British obsession with ferns and glasshouses during the Victorian era. The building was constructed using locally mined stone and utilized cutting edge technology in glass cutting, steam heating, and architectural elements.

In the century following the original construction, the fernery slowly fell into disrepair, with several small renovation projects to protect it from destruction. Finally in 1994 the fernery was fully restored to its original grandeur with a gracious donation from board member Dorrance H. Hamilton and other contributors who responded to a major matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This $1.2 million renovation included restoring the roof to the original curvature, replacing and updating the heating and electrical systems, installing an advanced climate control system, and restoring the waterfall, ponds and stone walls. The blue flagstone plaza was also installed during this project to welcome visitors, and provide a shaded relaxing place to stop and enjoy the arboretum.

Nestled in a curve of land below the rose garden, the fernery has become an iconic part of the Morris Arboretum. Its glittering rooftop welcoming visitors into a peaceful space filled with ferns, trickling waterfalls and reflecting pools. A wonderful place to explore in all seasons.

Download a Self-guided Tour of the Fernery


History of the Fernery

1898
1917
1956
1987
1994

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Construction Notice:

Parking Lot Closed Thursday, July 30 - Friday, July 31, 2015. Out on a Limb garden feature will also be closed Thursday, July 30 - Friday, July 31, 2015

Morris Arboretum’s parking lot is being repaved Thursday, July 30 - Friday, July 31, 2015. Our parking lot is a demonstration lot for its sustainability. Installed 25 years ago as one of the first of its kind, the parking lot has filtered into the earth about 31,863,304 gallons of precipitation from the Wissahickon watershed. But the time has come for it to be renewed.

The entire parking lot will be closed Thursday, July 30 - Friday, July 31, 2015. Auxiliary parking will be available at the bottom of the hill (near the kiosk) and shuttle service will be provided to the top of the hill. ADA access will be limited. No buses will be permitted beyond the kiosk.

Our Out on a Limb garden feature will be closed for maintanence on Thursday, July 30 - Friday, July 31, 2015

We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are committed to keeping our parking lot sustainable and our visitors safe. Thanks for your patience.

The Arboretum is open as usual. Click here for hours.

Please note that weather conditions can change quickly, check back or call (215) 247-5777 before heading out for a visit.

Weather conditions may limit garden access to certain features even if the garden is open – please check the web site or call (215) 247-5777 for updates before visiting. Our visitors’ safety in the garden is our top priority. Therefore when inclement weather is predicted, we will make decisions about closing the garden accordingly.

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