Re: Shipping Rose Stock By Rail


-- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

Bob Chaparro wrote:
I attended a local historical meeting at which the speaker discussed
his family's rose growing business.
This was a very large operation and shipped rose stock all over the
country. He mentioned that they shipped roses in refrigerator cars
from the 1940s through the 1960s.
Does anyone know more details about shipping rose stock in
refrigerator cars?
PFE maintained for many years a significant business in cut
flowers, shipped in express refrigerators, from the west coast to all
other parts of the country. Another case: I recall in my interview
with PFE's former AGM for Car Service, that he had been on a survey
team that went to the Cotton Belt in 1932 when SP obtained control of
that road, to evaluate what services PFE would have to perform on the
SSW. To their surprise, there was virtually no perishable shipping
from anywhere on the Cotton Belt, with only one exception: the roses
shipped from Tyler, Texas, which he said was a significant business.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history

I suspect when Bob describes Rose "stock", he is referring to actual rose plants, not cut flowers. My Grandfather (56+ years PRR), was also an avid rose grower, and after his retirement his primary hobby was evaluating (and photographing) new rose plants from both Starr Roses and Jackson-Perkins (?) to see how they grew and produced flowers in the Pittsburgh area. In the 1960's I recall my grandfather traveling to Southeastern Pennsylvania (somewhere SE of Lancaster) to meet with the rose companies, and I am pretty sure I recall driving past at least one of these growers - rose bushes in full bloom for over a mile along a road - amazing.

I believe this area of PA was one of the major producers of Rose stock in the US (but I could be completely wrong - I may have just been young and overly impressionable), and I suspect the shipments from these two producers went all over the country. There is a slight chance J-P may have been in Ohio, I just can not recall.

I'll check over on the PRRT&HS site to see if anyone recalls the PRR doing significant plant/rose stock business out of that area (I think near Gap, PA, along the PRR main). An interesting cargo, but IIRC plants were shipped dormant in either the fall/winter/or early spring for spring planting. So no bounty of colors for this load.

Dave Evans

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