The Chicago Botanic Garden traces its origins back to the Chicago Horticultural Society, founded in 1890. Using the motto Urbs in Horto, meaning “city in a garden,” the Society hosted nationally recognized flower and horticultural shows; its third was the World’s Columbian Exposition Chrysanthemum Show, held in conjunction with the world’s fair in October 1893.
After a period of inactivity, the Chicago Horticultural Society was restarted in 1943. In 1962, its modern history began when the Society agreed to help create and manage a new public garden. With the groundbreaking for the Chicago Botanic Garden in 1965 and its opening in 1972, the Society created a permanent site on which to carry out its mission. The Garden today is a successful public-private partnership. It is owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and operated by the Chicago Horticultural Society.