Thursday, June 19, 2008

Eloise Butler

Eloise Butler was an amazing force. After the city of Minneapolis stretched its fingers into the soil of Loring Park, but before it reached Theodore Wirth Park, she saw what was to come - that development would take and tame the beautiful countryside outside the city limits and change it irrevocably. To forestall this, and to create a place where the public school teacher could take her young students "botanizing," she leveraged and cajoled city powers into setting aside a number of acres as a public garden of wild plants. The area she chose contained a stunning array of small environments suitable for everything from tallgrass prairie plants to swamp blossoms. She was visionary. She was also a daring soul. She traveled the world botanizing, and did not limit herself to romantic blooms, like orchids as some ladies might have done. No, she like algae. Desmids specifically, and actually discovered 12 previously unknown ones, including Stauranstrum minnesotense, Stauranstrum minneapolitanum, Cosmarium minneapolitanum and Cosmarium eloiseanum. After her death, her ashes were scattered in the Garden and her presence blesses the place with her devotion.

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