Friends of the Wild Flower Garden
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary
On the wall by the door inside the shelter hang two walnut boards containing bronze plaques engraved with the names of persons for who the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden have received memorials of $100 or more. It also includes the names of living persons who have been honored with donations to The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden of $500 or more.
This was created by The Friends as a result of memorial funds received from Marian Eliason in 1981 in honor of her mother, Lydia W. Eliason, who had passed away on June 19. It is engraved with a dedication to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden. All such donations are used for the benefit of the Garden.
The Eliasons provide us with some entertaining moments. Minneapolis Star columnist Jim Klobuchar reported on Aug. 11, 1979 on the ladies trip to Finland to meet relatives and research their history - and the surprise of meeting 1800. Calvin Griffith gets into the article also. (pdf of article).
They also made the newspapers on June 24, 1956 when a group of fisherman from Ely met them up at Basswood Lake at the point in time when the Eliasons had decided to end their camping and fishing trip after a bear had made off with the backpack containing all their food, but the bear had ignited a box of matches in the pack and burned everything up. (24 June 1956, Minneapolis Tribune)
A sound system was installed in the Shelter at the time of construction. This included the purchase of a tape player that would play bird calls over the sound system. Vandals broke into the shelter and took the first player but it was replaced. This system was a gift of Hiram H. Livingston as a memorial to his wife who passed away in the Summer of 1969 while he was designing the Shelter. Livingston, a locally known architect in the Golden Valley area, was hired by The Friends Building Chair person, retired architect Wilber Tusler, to design the shelter building.
Louise Burgess (Mrs. Gerald H. Burgess) gifted the cost in 1970 of the original book of memorials that was displayed in the Martha Crone Shelter after it was dedicated. This book had a fancy custom made cover with pages that were hole-punched for insertion after they were engraved. The book was made by Mr. Otto Japs of Japs-Olson Printing and he engraved the pages, which were divided into two sections of the book. One section for the donors to the building of the Crone Shelter and one section for other gifts and memorials. The book was stolen from the shelter in later years. [Friends minutes Aug. 28, 1969, Oct. 9, 1969, secretaries notes Feb. 2, 1970 and April 9, 1970.]
As you enter the shelter you pass under the memorial to Margaret Tusler. This wood lintel was engraved and installed at the time of construction of the shelter. It was funded by her husband, Wilbur H. Tusler, who was chairman of the building committee for the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden.
The committee planned the shelter and saw to it's construction in 1969-70. Margaret passed away on April 1, 1969 just as the final plans for the shelter were developed.
Two memorials are shown in this next photo. First, is the fireplace at the back wall. The initial plans for the shelter called for a Franklin Stove as a fireplace was thought to be too expensive for the Friends' budget. That is when Friends members Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Dean stepped in and provided the funds to construct a fireplace, the exterior of which is cut stone from Wisconsin. Then the large copper fireplace hood was gifted, both as a memorial in memory of their daughter Kathleen Dean Hillman who had died in July 1968 at age 25. Contributing to the memorial were Kathleen's Girl Scout friends (see photo below). A plaque is on the wall to the right of the mantle.
Once inside the shelter you cannot miss the large 81 x 42 inch wood table the fills the center of the room. This table was a gift of Elizabeth Ann Schutt in memory her mother Clara M. Schutt who had passed away in November 1968.
History goes back a long way with this memorial. Clara Schutt was a great friend of Eloise Butler. Miss Butler obtained various plants for the Wildflower Garden from “Schutt’s Farm” or "Schutt's Forty".
Clara and Elizabeth both were acquainted with Martha Crone. Elizabeth, who passed away on April 10, 1999 (the same day of the same month as Eloise Butler's death) was a long-time member of The Friends, one in the first of Shelter Volunteers after the shelter was built and to this day, a benefactor of The Friends. You can read more here.
For sitting around the large table 5 benches were given to the Shelter. One each was funded by the
Kenwood Garden Club
Men's Garden Club of Minneapolis
Minneapolis Audubon Society
Minneapolis Bird Club
Woman's Club of Minneapolis.
All five have a dedication plaque attached. The Friends provided the sixth bench in 1976.
Below: A group of women who were part of Kathleen Hillman's Girl Scout Group who contributed to the cost of the fireplace hood, shown here when they visited the Crone Shelter on Aug. 25, 2007. Photo Phoebe Waugh.