(1902-1995) was born in
Fresno, California and grew up in the three story mansion
built by his grandfather Frederick Roeding centered in the
Fancher Creek Nursery property.
He worked at Fancher Creek
from as a youth but stated working during the summers at
California Nursery starting in 1914, before his father
bought the property in 1917.
Roeding Jr. was a quick
study and his father made him manager of the Niles Nursery
Roeding Jr. took over
control of California Nursery’s statewide network of
nurseries and retail outlets upon his father’s death in
Roeding Jr. was a brilliant and outgoing salesman.
He saw the nursery market
changing with the growing California population and
redirected the business focus to retail sales rather when
wholesale sales to large orchards and nurseries.
While keeping a solid basis
of fruit trees in his catalogs, he expanded the ornamental
production with a particular emphasis on numerous varieties
Nursery became a key producer of rose plants for the entire
United States, producing 1.5 million rose plants annually.
Indeed, whole sections of
the Nursery in Niles were devoted to rose production where
they were continually developing new varieties of roses.
father before him, George Roeding Jr. work with the plant
scientists to obtain new varieties.
In 1940, he arranged to
work with Albert Etter (1872-1950), who like Luther Burbank,
was amazingly creative in this cross-polinization and
hybridization attempts to make new plant varieties.
One of Etter’s specialties
He turned over 40 of his
apple varieties to Roeding to test in the CNC orchards.
Of the 40, Roeding Jr.
decided that seven were worth patenting and selling due to
their quality and flavor.
Etter apple varieties first
appeared in the 1944-45 California Nursery catalog. (2)
At first the nursery was mostly
wholesale, then became a retail operation, ultimately
becoming the largest firm of its kind west of the Rockies.
California Nursery Company’s reputation had always been
built on high quality product.
Roeding Jr. continued and
increased this process, insisting that his trees and plants
be assessed not only on height, but graded on quality and
viability as well.
In the 1930s, he was able
to get a Grades and Standards Law for trees passed in
California, incorporating his methodology
design projects grew under Roeding Jr., especially in the
1930s and 1940s.
Throughout this period, the
nursery had 8 design crews of 2-6 men each including a
separate office downtown Oakland.
CNC would design, provide
and install the plants for businesses and large mansions but
had predesigned layouts of designs for small homes to take
advantage of the ever increasing suburban market for home
Part of the
salesmanship acumen of Roeding Jr. was turning the
California Nursery Company in Niles into a destination point
for people to travel to.
To that end, various types
of display gardens were built especially near the office and
around the “Old Adobe” and ads were put out showing the
do while at the nursery.
The adobe was such a draw
that it was transformed into a tea house for visitors to
enjoy while making their purchases.
Geroge Jr. hired famed
landscape designers father and son team Johannes and
Frederic Reimers for this purpose.
The Reimers also redesigned
the nursery retail yard.
order to get large numbers of people to travel to the
nursery, an annual bulb show was created.
in the 1930s and continuing for decades, the bulb show took
place from mid-March to mid-April, displaying over 100,000
flowering bulbs each year.
The nursery was known far and wide
in the Bay Area and often became the destination for garden
lovers and horticulturists.
The event was extremely popular
and over 5000 people a weekend would visit Niles from all
over the Bay Area.
To accommodate the many
visitors, special trucks were equipped with long seats so
that people could take tours of the flower displays, gardens
and large nursery property and growing grounds.
THE OLD ADOBE AS
was during this period that the “Old Adobe” truly became the
trademark of Niles Nursery Company.
In Niles, the California
Nursery office building was changed to have a tile roof and
an adobe looking exterior which remains today.
Retail offices in other
cities also had an adobe look.
the adobe was not forgotten when the California Nursery
participated in the World Fair on Treasure Island in 1939 to
The Nursery not only
provided extensive landscaping at the fair but also had its
own display complete with a recreation of the hallmark
LATER WAR EFFORTS
California Nursery Company continued working with the US
military under George Roeding Jr.
The nursery provided the
landscaping for Moffett Field, designed and maintained
camouflage landscaping for the artillery depots in Benicia
and provided topsoil and landscaping for the Alameda
Bruce Roeding remembers the
construction of the Alameda Airforce base was an urgent
project during the early years of the war.
The nursery had dump trucks
running day and night to bring topsoil to load on the trains
bound for Alameda. (1)
also had business with the US State Department especially in
the late 1940s and early 1950s with the development of the
United Nations starting postwar in San Francisco (4).
One of the biggest
contracts (and one of which the family is still proud) was
to provide large numbers of
dogwood trees as a gift from the United States
to the country of South
As the owner of one of the gravel
pits (now Quarry Lakes Regional Park), he cooperated with
the Alameda Co. Water District to allow fresh water
percolation in the pit to help prevent salt water intrusion.
Working with the local PG&E agent in Niles, they were able
to erect the two "Niles" neon signs. He was mainly
responsible for securing the first telephone dialing system
in the area, and pushed for the first underground utilities
in the Rancho Arroyo development in Fremont. He lobbied to
upgrade the Niles Post Office to a first class status.After
World War II there was a decreased need for large
landscaping jobs and and increased need for building
materials making it advantageous to open part of the nursery
Starting in 1948 and
continuing through the end of the 1960s, Roeding Jr.
subleased area of the nursery to the south of the railroad
tracks to various quarry companies.
Eventually 90 acres of CNC
property was being quarried and much of this quarried area
forms part of the current quarry lakes park.(1)
INVOLVMENT IN COMMUNITY
Jr. established the Central Chapter of the California
Association of Nurserymen; was among 10 prominent Washington
Township men to put up money to study the feasibility of
establishing a new city; was appointed by Robert Gordon
Sproul as a Director of the East Bay Regional Parks in 1962
to 1970. He was instrumental at having Del Valle and
Shadow Cliffs added as parks.
He had always wanted part
of the nursery property in Niles to become a public park, a
dream partially fulfilled by the Quarry Lakes park on the
southern edge of the property.
Roeding Jr also was one of the commissioners of Fremont's Parks and
years he contributed specimen trees and plant material to
the City of Fremont, specifically many of the conifers at
Central Park/Civic Center; he gave away hundreds of bare
root fruit trees to the citizens of Fremont in the mid
1960s. He donated the rest area by the train station on
Mission Blvd. in Niles to the State of California, which
subsequently gave it to the City of Fremont.Roeding Jr. also
was civic minded and interested in public parks and gardens.
He was the director of the
East Bay Regional Parks from 1962 to 1970 and
Roeding Bruce, Personal communication, April to June 2013
California Nursery Company layout designs
United Nations History