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Guide to the Bell Conservatory Company records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Bell Conservatory Company records
    Dates: 1889-1965
    Bulk Dates: 1889-1931
    Collection number: MS0030
    Creator: Bell Conservatory Company
    Collection Size: 4.25 linear feet (6 boxes)
    Repository: Center for Sacramento History
    Sacramento, California 95811-0229
    Abstract: The Bell Conservatory Company Business Records is comprised o f 4.25 linear feet of business records. The majority of the files are financial ledgers. Also included are two sample books of floral arrangements. The bulk of the collection dates from 1889 - 1930. The collection is divided into 3 series: financial records, sample floral arrangements, and artifacts.
    Physical location: 2C5-2C6, 44D1
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research use.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to publish or quote from private collections held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted in writing to csh@cityofsacramento.org. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item and/or item number], [box and folder number], Bell Conservatory Company records, MS0030, Center for Sacramento History.

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was donated by Bert Geisreiter, last owner of the Bell Conservatory Company, to the Center for Sacramento History in 1981 (accession number 1981/080)

    Processing Information

    The collection was partially processed in 1981 providing a listing of the contents. Processing was completed in 2019 by Ruth Craft.

    Biography / Administrative History

    The Bell Conservatory was located in Sacramento California on Broadway between 9 and 10th Streets in Sacramento, California. It was constructed in 1881 under the direction of Margaret Crocker, well known community leader and wife of E.B. Crocker. The cost of construction at that time was $38,000 dollars. Mrs. Crocker wished to supply flowers for the graves of the nearby Sacramento City Cemetery, where many of the city’s founders were buried. The conservatory building had a glass construction with a large dome on top. Some of the glass came from Belgium and was ordered through the Tiffany Company. The Conservatory was a half size replica of the San Francisco Conservatory which was built in 1878. The Conservatory was purchased by Eugene Geisreiter in the 1880s. Geisreiter, born in New York, came to California and worked at the San Francisco Conservatory. He moved to Sacramento and operated the Bell Conservatory for almost fifty years. After his death, his son Herbert (Bert) operated the company from 1928 until 1956. Bert Geisreiter attend UC Berkeley and obtained a degree in landscape architecture. Geisreiter served as mayor of the Sacramento during the years 1950 and 1951. He also served on the City Council and the Planning Commission. Additionally, he served as the General Manager of the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau from 1957 until 1972. The Bell Conservatory was sold in 1954 and was then torn down to make way for a Safeway supermarket.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Bell Conservatory Company records consist primarily of financial records of The Bell Conservatory Company from the years 1889 – 1931. The collection is divided into three series. Series 1 : Financial Records contains financial ledgers from the company from 1889 through 1931. Some years are missing. Two ledgers , one for the year 1900 are in very poor condition. Series 2: Sample Floral Arrangements contains two sample books of floral arrangements. Series 3: Artifacts contains an overcoat donated with the collection


    Series 1. Financial ledgers Series 2. Floral arrangements Series 3. Overcoat

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Bell Conservatory Company
    Conservatory gardening
    Sacramento (Calif.)--history

    Related Material

    A photograph of the Conservatory can be found at the Center for Sacramento History 1968/110/0060. Additionally, the California State Library has three photographs of the Bell Conservatory in the California History Room. Also, in the 1890 Bird’s Eye View map of Sacramento by C. P. Cook, one of the side vignettes is of the Bell Conservatory. The Sacramento Public Library owns a book published by the Bell Conservatory in the 1880s titled “The Descriptive Catalogue of ornamental nursery stock: roses, carnations, palms, evergreens and shade trees, greenhouses, bedding and border plants, etc.” The Sacramento Bee has many articles pertaining to the Geisreiter family and the Bell Conservatory. The Center for Sacramento History maintains a research file on the Bell Conservatory.