The Nurseries of Shenandoah
Fertile soil and abundant water made Shenandoah the ideal place to start a nursery.
The early pioneers found that fruit trees from other parts of the United States grew well beside the native wild plum and crab apple trees.
D.S. Lake, father of the nursery industry in southwest Iowa, founded Lake's Shenandoah Nursery in 1870 with stock he had brought from Illinois.
T.E.B. Mason established Mount Arbor Nurseries in 1875. E. S. Welch bought the nursery in 1892, and developed it into one of the largest wholesale nurseries in the nation. Welch supplied retailers such as Burpees [sic], Montgomery Ward, and Earl May.
Henry Field began his nursery career at age five with fifty cents worth of homegrown flower seed. In 1899, he sent out his first catalog, a four page folder he printed himself. In 1902, he built his first seed house, and business mushroomed. Field built an enormous mail-order company even before the advent of radio.
Earl May, who learned the nursery business from E. S. Welch, his father-in-law, started his own retail and catalog business in 1919. May's ingenious use of radio advertising quickly put his fledgling company on par with the giant Field enterprise. By 2000, the company was still operated by a branch of the May family and maintained 54 retail stores offering nursery and landscaping products.
[Bottom right photo caption reads]
Giants of Shenandoah's nursery industry. From left to right: Ralph Lake, Earl May, Bert Lake, E.S. Welch, and Henry Field.
Location. 40° 45.961′ N, 95° 22.283′ W. Marker is in Shenandoah, Iowa, in Page County. Marker is at the intersection of Sheridan Avenue and Sycamore Street, on the right when traveling west on Sheridan Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 503 West Sheridan Avenue, Shenandoah IA 51601, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Julian Dubuque (within shouting distance of this marker); A Tradition of Innovation in Agriculture (within shouting distance of this marker); Women's Christian Temperance Union Fountain (within shouting distance of this marker); American Veterans Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); John V. Atanasoff (about 300 feet away); A City In Print (about
Also see . . .
1. Earl May Nursery History. (Submitted on August 26, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Henry Field's Seed and Nursery Company. (Submitted on August 26, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. History of the American Seed and Nursery Industry. (Submitted on August 26, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Horticulture & Forestry • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 26, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 188 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 26, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.