Re: Shipping Rose Stock By Rail


--- In STMFC@..., LOUIS WHITELEY <octoraro1@...> wrote:

There was a large rose business in Southern Chester County, PA along the
Octoraro Branch.  One of the leading growers (they say THE leading grower) was
Dingee & Conard in West Grove.  Another ad reads "West Grove, the Home of the
Roses".  The Arcadia post card book "Around Avondale and West Grove" states: 
"In 1925, Robert Pyle and his son, Robert, bought the nursery and renamed it
Conard-Pyle.  He registered Star Roses as the trademark for his roses and they
are still highly sought after in the nursery business today.  Conard-Pyle's
retail business closed in 1978, but the wholesale business is still growing

That stretch along US 1 and the Octoraro Branch including Kennett Square,
Toughkenamon, West Grove and West Grove is also known for mushroom growing. 
Another Arcadia book, "Chester County Mushroom Farming" notes that the industry
developed "about 1885, when William Swayne, a successful florist in Kennett
Square, conceived the idea of growing mushrooms beneath his greenhouse benches".

In the PRRT&HS Philadelphia Chapter's "High Line" issue that focused on the
Octoraro Branch, it states regarding  MD-59/MD-58, the Milk and Express train
that became known as "The Mushroom Train" that "Besides milk from creameries
along the branch, the express traffic consisted of flowers (Toughkenamon was
noted for its carnations, and West Grove was the home of Star Roses), and the
principal express commodity was mushrooms".

I do remember a sign along US 1 advertising a rose company in the early 80s. 
Conard-Pyle is evidently still in business -- there's a website with Star still
a registered trademark.

Lou Whiteley
Lawrenceville, NJ


Star roses in West Grove is what I remembered (a brand name owned by Conrad-Pyle). Turns out they abandoned the consumer sales market in the late 70's but continued in plant development and wholesale nursery markets, and Conrad-Pyle's web site indicates they exited the wholesale business in 2009/2010. They now focus on new plant development.

Conrad-Pyle had a siding listed on the PRR Octoraro branch in West Grove, PA as of 1945 (PRR CT1000).

The milk train/express service over the Octoraro fits in with the scenario of shipping plants via express reefers.

Dave Evans

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