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.


Civil War Round Table Meeting April 15

The Chattanooga Civil War Round Table will hold its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 15, 2014.  The meeting is at 7 PM and will be held in the Millis-Evans Room of Caldwell Hall on the campus  of the The McCallie School (enter the campus from Dodds Avenue and follow the signs to the Academic Quadrangle and Caldwell Hall).  Dalton Historian, Author, and ... (click for more)

Remembering Embrey's Drug Store

A reader saw the Memories article on the downtown J.C. Penney’s ( http://www.chattanoogan.com/2014/3/7/271262/Remembering-the-Downtown-J.C.-Penney-s.aspx )  and recognized the building as having once been her grandfather’s drug store. The reader recalled, “My mother told me her father C.P. Embrey was a druggist and operated his business in that same building.  She ... (click for more)

Haslam Signs Bill Ending Forced Annexation And Giving Tennesseans Right To Vote

Governor Bill Haslam signed HB 2371/SB2464 on Wednesday. The law ends forced annexations and gives Tennesseans the right to vote. The law now requires cities to annex by consent of the landowner or through referendum approved by a majority of the landowners to be annexed. As an additional protection to farmers, land primarily used for agriculture purposes may not be annexed by any ... (click for more)

One Of "Worst Of The Worst" Gets 10-Month Federal Sentence

One of the men labeled as the "worst of the worst" in a Chattanooga roundup was sentenced Tuesday to 10 months and three years supervised release after he pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Guy Wilkerson told Federal Judge Sandy Mattice, "I'm just a young father and I want the best for my kids." He said he apologized and that he knew what he ... (click for more)

Time For Tennessee To Act On Climate This Earth Day - And Response

Tennessee will join the rest of the southeast region, the nation and countries across the world in celebrating Earth Day on April 22. The entire month of April is a great time to reflect on the strides we have made to reduce pollution over the last 44 years, and assess current environmental conditions while evaluating our personal responsibility to a cleaner environment.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why Jim Coppinger Excels

Jim Coppinger, who as the mayor of Hamilton County has understandably had to grow some thick skin, wants no part of the repulsive billboards now seen around town that ask, “Do you have gonorrhea?”  His Tuesday morning telephone call revealed he is just as disgusted as the rest of us who see them showing a picture of a forlorn African-American male. “You need to know the Hamilton ... (click for more)