News 9 is launching a series titled "Downtown Proud," with a monthly look at those places and things that make Oklahoma City unique and foster a sense of pride. News 9 reporter Darren Brown will be searching to find those rewarding stories about the city.
The series' first installment is a look at OKC's Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory. Opened in 1988, the Crystal Bridge features 13,000 square feet of tropical plants and flowers, two climate zones, and a 35-foot waterfall. It's all encased in a large "tube" covered with over 3,000 translucent panels, and has recently been fitted with LED lights that can be programmed with multiple colors and sequences.
"I think the Crystal Bridge is an icon for Oklahoma City," said Jim Tolbert. Tolbert is Chairman Emeritus of the Myriad Gardens Foundation. "It's a distinctive remarkable place that doesn't exist in any other city."
The Crystal Bridge got its name by way of another famous garden. Longtime OKC philanthropist Dean A. McGee brought the director of Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania to look at the project early on. It was still being referred to as a botanical tube when the director's wife insisted that "Crystal Bridge" be considered.