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.


Looking For Robert Springer, Former Chattanooga Printer

I am looking to locate my grandfather who once worked for the Chattanooga News or the Chattanooga Times as a printer before WWII and after returning from the war.   His father was Charles Clinton Springer. His first wife was Barbara Nolan, both of Hamilton County. I am trying to locate family members from both sides.   Robert Springer later moved to Florida ... (click for more)

Chester Martin Remembers UFOs

Yes, I've seen at least three or four UFO's, but they were totally un-dramatic and low-key. I was alive and in my early teens when, in 1947, the big (and now famed) “Roswell incident” occurred in New Mexico. Some kind of alien spacecraft had crashed there, and bodies had been removed; the U.S. Air Force knew all about it and refused to release details. Already an amateur astronomer ... (click for more)

Fire Destroys Highway 58 BBQ

A fire destroyed a barbeque restaurant on Highway 58 on Friday afternoon.   Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to the Highway 58 BBQ around 6 p.m. The business is located at 4921 Highway 58. Though the business was housed in a small building, the flames and smoke could be seen from a long distance away.  Captain Teri Rose with Quint 6 said the ... (click for more)

2nd Independent Candidate May Be On Walker County Ballot

A second Independent candidate may be on the ballot for sole commissioner of Walker County in the election on Nov. 8. Perry D. Lamb, Jr. has been working toward collecting the necessary 1,640 signatures of registered voters on a petition. His campaign said he is close to the goal. Incumbent Bebe Heiskell is running an an Independent. Election officials said since she was ... (click for more)

Save Coolidge Park - And Response (2)

Last Monday morning while at work a good friend messaged me concerning a matter that I had not heard anything about dealing with Coolidge Park and its future. Apparently that night the City Council was to read an ordinance that would allow the mayor to start negotiations with the relocation of the Medal of Honor Museum. This ordinance would enable the city to lease approximately ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Looking For A Wife

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is a really cool place. I tried to buy a huge mounted buffalo head in an antique store there one time until I found out the shipping charges were four times what the head was worth. But suddenly my rapt attention is riveted on Coeur d'Alene again because a dazzling social experiment is taking place this very moment at a plush resort in north Idaho. Several ... (click for more)