California Nursery Historical Park

Garden Store

This building was demolished in 2019.  This area was site of a flourishing retail business.  In the 1930's there was a major shift from agricultural nursery to retail and George Roeding Jr followed the rising tide of the American middle class.

The rise of retail during World War II, with the idea of victory gardens transformed how the California Nursery dealt with the change of wholesale business. California Nursery is one of first in the nursery business to implement retail chains throughout California, creating a platform that would later expand their company. George Roeding Jr spearheaded this direction as he became the "vision" for California Nursery Company's future.

First established in 1884 by American nurseryman John Rock, the California Nursery relied on wholesale business. Rock did limited local selling. Wholesale at this time was the preferred way to run agricultural businesses. The nursery’s primary products were whole trees, from fruit to ornamental. San Franciscan Board Member William J. Landers took control of the company after Rock’s death in 1904. He built a lath house and a retail shop in hopes of garnering more local business as the Bay Area’s population began to increase. George Roeding Sr. then purchased the nursery in 1917. Roeding Sr. joined his own successful business in southern and central California and placed the California Nursery under the George C. Roeding Holding Company. His son, George Roeding Jr. began to develop the company’s retail in California as well as mail order throughout the United States, all while maintaining the international business.
early retail 1920s newer retail, 1934

This significant alteration of the retail center began in the 1920s. Focusing more on the retail production of bulbs and roses meant having to offer new retail services. Roeding Jr. opened several outlets, referred to as “sales yards,” throughout California. A Landscape Department was also created to provide landscaping services to other businesses and homeowners. These additions to the nursery’s shift in retail led to the construction of the Garden Store.

The Garden Store was introduced in 1933 and was built by Bill Cull, with the design attributed to Californian architect Frederick H. Reimers. In the 1930s, Reimers was intent on architecture that accentuated Modernism. Such buildings were often simplistic, spacious, and used natural materials such as stone, shakes and battens, and even adobe. The Garden Store consisted of two buildings with a breeze-way in between. The buildings were long, rectangular one-story wood structures. The store included an open porch near the front and rear end, a salesroom, wooden sliding panel doors, two offices, large windows, and restrooms. Overall the store was deliberately designed to favor accessible outdoor space.

The Garden Store became a central hub for the nursery’s annual spring shows, where daffodils and tulips were showcased. Its prime purpose was to serve retail customers and promote the Landscape Department’s services. The nursery’s alteration from wholesale to retail proved essential when World War II arrived.

As World War II emerged between the 1930s to 1940s, retail business became especially vital as the store began to hold showcases on how local citizens could grow fruit and vegetables at home. Retail shows gathered much attention and were used as demonstrations for clients. The Garden Store is known as one of the first permanent buildings whose obligation was solely to adapt to the economy’s changing times. It continued to thrive as the California Nursery’s retail interaction with the public notably grew in the 1950s and so forth.

Over time, the Garden Store experienced substantial deterioration near the ground. The rafters and purlins that once supported the roof began to decay. The wood faced corrosion due to termite infestation and water infiltration. Broken windows and boarded doors were also an issue.

Conributions: Charlene Dixon (TriCity Voice), Joyce Blueford, Bruce Roeding 


managed by Math Science Nucleus
owned by
City of Fremont

36501 Niles Blvd, Fremont
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