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The 200-year-old U.S. Botanic Garden in Early Pictures

First given a marshy plot of land on the National Mall in 1820, the U.S. Botanic Garden celebrates its 200th anniversary this year. The delightful conservatory on the Mall and its surrounding gardens have always been a point of pride for the country as well as a practical laboratory for horticultural research. While we are unable to visit in person right now, we can take this opportunity to look back at how the Botanic Garden appeared more than 100 years ago, as captured in historic stereographs and other photos. Click on any of the images to see larger versions.

The idea for a national botanic garden was proposed as early as 1796. George Washington thought it a splendid idea and suggested several prominent sites as possible locations. Like many things in the new capital, it took awhile for anything to happen. In 1820, the Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences opened the first botanic garden on five acres at the eastern end of the Mall, below the Capitol. The priv…

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