What Did That Building Used To Be? - Schroeder’s Garden Center

Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - by Harmon Jolley
Schroeder’s Garden Center. Click to enlarge.
Schroeder’s Garden Center. Click to enlarge.

Each year, Chattanooga area residents are fortunate spectators of a very colorful parade of spring flowers and trees. The procession begins with the crocus and daffodil, followed by forsythia, flowering cherry, saucer magnolia, redbud, tulip, dogwood, and azalea. A business which once supported Chattanooga’s spring color parade was the Schroeder’s Garden Center.

William F. Schroeder attended Tulane University, where he was a member of the football team that played in the 1931 Rose Bowl. He graduated in 1933 with a degree in horticulture, and moved to Chattanooga in 1939. Following a job as manager of McDade Orchids, Mr. Schroeder formed Schroeder, Inc. in 1950, with warehouse and offices located off Bailey Avenue near National Cemetery. The company distributed “Gro-Mulch,” an organic mulch-fertilizer derived from Spanish moss. The product’s ability to increase the growth of plants had been documented in tests by Louisiana horticulturists, with additional tests performed by Mr. Schroeder in his home greenhouse.

Mr. Schroeder also opened a garden supply store at 510 Market Street. To be closer to Chattanooga’s growing suburbs, he moved his store in 1957 to Duncan Avenue beside the McCallie Avenue railroad viaduct. In a 1960 advertisement, Schroeder’s proclaimed its motto, “Everything for the Gardener,” and described its line-up of lawn seed, chemicals, fertilizers, sodding, landscaping, and supplies. Schroeder’s also sold lawn mowers, tropical fish, and camping trailers. The staff was reported to have 766 years of combined experience in horticulture. Southern Florist and Nurseryman magazine ran a cover story on the store in 1961. For those who couldn’t visit the store, Schroeder’s also offered home delivery. A 1965 circular said, “But if you just can’t come down, we’re as close as your phone. We’ll be glad to send it to you.”

In 1970, Mr. Schroeder sold the business to Charles B. Mehan, but stayed on as a director of the garden center. He passed away in 1979. North River Nursery acquired Schroeder’s in 1973, and operated the Duncan Avenue store until 1983. Since then, the Montessori World of Children has been located in the former Schroeder’s Garden Center building.

If you have memories of the Schroeder’s Garden Center, please send me an e-mail at jolleyh@signaldata.net.

Chester Martin Remembers Chattanooga's Enriched Society

With that title I am referring directly to the Jewish population of our city. This population had apparently begun its good work long before my time. My father was born in a very rural community in1884 and his family remembered "Leboits" - a peddler, who spoke with a strong "old world" accent. "Leboits" traveled to the most rural parts of North Georgia well before 1900, reaching ... (click for more)

Chester Martin Remembers Dr. Karel Hujer

When Dr. Karel Hujer arrived in Chattanooga shortly after WWII he was easily the most highly educated member of the University of Chattanooga faculty. His degree was "Doctor of Science", (D.Sc.) from Prague's ancient Charles University in Czechoslovakia. He received further education in Ancient Astronomy in many parts of the world, including Paris, London, Egypt, Mexico, and Peru. ... (click for more)

Volkswagen Stockholder Files Suit Against Automaker At Chattanooga; Seeks Class Action Status

A Volkswagen stockholder has filed suit in Federal Court in Chattanooga against the automaker, charging that its stock was over-valued and that it has not plummeted due to revelations about emissions cheating. The suit was filed in behalf of Michael Wolfenbarger by Knoxville attorney Gordon Ball and Nashville attorney James Stranch III. It seeks class action status for those ... (click for more)

Woman In Critical Condition After Being Shot In The Face Saturday Night Near O'Rear Street

A woman is in critical condition after she was shot while driving in Chattanooga on Saturday night. Just after  9 p.m. , the Chattanooga Police Department responded to reports of a person shot. Once on the scene, police located a female victim near the 2500 block of O'Rear Street suffering from a life-threatening gunshot wound to the face. The victim was driving a ... (click for more)

Misconceptions About Ban The Box

Mr. Exum,  I want to invite you as a guest speaker at the NAACP General Membership meeting.  I believe we can accomplish our goals and clear up any misconceptions about Ban The Box and the role of the NAACP in a much more meaningful manner face to face.   In that vein I would like to invite you to have coffee with me at Panera Bread.  I will not make a ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Great Thanksgiving

In order for you to best understand this, last Thursday was the first Thanksgiving I have ever spent alone.  Don’t misunderstand, I had a fistful of kind invitations but I am the only remaining member of my immediate family around here and I guess I started dwelling on that a little too much as the holiday neared. Making out my “thankful” list helped, and I ate enough with ... (click for more)