Built as part of the original Garfield Park Conservatory in 1907, the Palm House was designed by Jens Jensen to represent a giant haystack glistening in the farm field. Jensen was a leader in the 'prairie' style and featured many idealized el ements of the rustic Midwest, its farms and people that so influenced his work. His only major public ar chitectural effo1t, the Garfield Park Conservatory was hailed as a 'Glass Palace' to rival the great conserva tories of the world.
After decade of great populari ty and huge crowds of visitors, the original steel and wood structure be gan to deteriorate severely. In 1957 it was replaced entirely with a new steel 1-beam structure and covered in the now infamous fiberglass sheet ing. Originally hailed as the material of the future, semi-transparent, du rable and inexpensive, the fiberglass yellowed with age and soon deprived the palm collection of life-giving light.