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The Heart of the Community

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The Heart of the Community

The Eden Greenhouse and Nursery fire marked the end of an era for the community of Hveragerdi in south Iceland; in the last few years somewhere between four to five hundred thousand visitors came to Eden, Icelanders and foreigners alike.

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From Hveragerdi, South Iceland.

Inside the Eden greenhouse was a nursery, tourist shop, game arcade, confectionary and a restaurant. One of the items destroyed in the fire was Bóbó, a toy vending machine inside which Bóbó the monkey greeted children of all ages; a facebook site has been created to honor his memory.

Eden was a popular destination for Icelanders taking a Sunday drive or traveling to summerhouses, for tourists traveling to south Iceland and organized tours to Eden during the Christmas season were becoming popular.

Horticulturalist Bragi Einarssoon opened the Eden Greenhouse and Nursery in Hveragerdi in 1958 and ran the establishment for nearly half a century; his widow, Karen Wellk, worked with her husband for the last twenty-five years or up until 2006.

“It took my husband a long time to establish Eden in Hveragerdi but it was his passion in life and it was a privilege to help build the magnificent community center Eden became,” Wellk told mbl.is on Saturday.

On potential reconstruction plans she told mbl.is “it would be good to see Eden rebuilt but I am not sure it is a viable option at this point.”

Valgerdur Jóhannesdóttir, a retired employee of Eden who worked there for 39 years, told mbl.is “the destruction was devastating to see.” All that is left is the entrance door and the Eden logo. “The fact that the door and the logo survived the flames tells us we mustn’t give up.”

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