Enders Greenhouse restoring 1920s greenhouse

CHERRY VALLEY—Committing to restore the 1920s wood and glass Enders Greenhouses has proven to be challenging while repeating its history. Enders Greenhouse is restoring its glass greenhouse back to its original design. Shannon Neuendorf, owner, is committed to preserving the history of the business and is keeping with the Cherry Valley historical theme. Like the original greenhouses that were built from a salvaged greenhouse, much of today’s restoration is being done with salvaged parts.

Carl Enders, the original owner, started the business on Hogan Street in Cherry Valley and then moved it to the current location sometime in the early 1920s, where he built the three wood and glass greenhouses that stand today. He salvaged the materials, including the old-growth bald cypress roof bars, from another greenhouse and took three years to build them, completing them in 1923. They are based on the famous Lord & Burnham design.

Over the last decade, the greenhouses have begun to show their age and are in need of much repair, which started last summer. During the past winter, Enders Greenhouse received the break it needed. Neuendorf learned of a similar greenhouse in Bensonville that was being demolished and got permission to salvage as much as they could in a week. The Bensonville greenhouses were built prior to 1920 and had bald cypress roof bars. With the help of friends and family, the employees of Enders salvaged enough glass to replace all the glass on the three houses, much-needed hardware and enough roof bars to replace the ones on two houses. While restoring the houses, many of the original roof bars and hardware will be re-used.

Mike Glennon, an employee, is taking the lead in restoring the houses. He says; “Just like Carl Enders, the restoration will take a few years to complete because we cannot shut down the business to do the work. We have to work around the daily operation of the business.” Glennon found a source for Lord & Burnham greenhouse blueprints and expects to refer to them to maintain the original design.

Most wood and glass greenhouses built after 1920 use redwood roof bars, which support the glass on a pipe framework. Old-growth bald cypress is superior to today’s wood because it resists decay much better. Although glass greenhouses require more maintenance, they transmit light better, and the white-painted roof bars reflect the light better than many of today’s greenhouses.

Enders Greenhouse has been in business since 1912 in Cherry Valley. The business remained in the Enders family until Neuendorf bought it in January 2003. Enders Greenhouse specializes in native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and trees, specialty geraniums and herbs.

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