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Armstrong Nurseries Collection
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Collection Overview
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The collection is a multi-media archive of the Armstrong Nurseries, Inc., with records dating from 1889 to 1984. Holdings include company records and marketing materials, approximately 14,000 photographs and negatives, motion picture films, sound recordings, and approximately 40 rolled sheets of maps and plans.
John S. Armstrong was born on October 11, 1865 in Brantford, Canada. After contracting tuberculosis, his doctor recommended moving to a warmer climate. He decided to head west and arrived in Upland on March 3, 1889. He found he liked working outdoors and learned the nursery business during his tenure at the Horsley and Eaton Nursery. He soon parted ways with Messrs. Horsley and Eaton, starting his own nursery and recovering his health in the process. He also bought land and began cultivating grapes, fruit and citrus trees. In 1898, Armstrong bought three lots on D Street and Euclid Avenue from Andrew Chaffey for $112 each. This land became the original Armstrong Nursery. He started a mail order catalog of roses and fruit trees in 1902. He continued purchasing acreage and selling plants, riding the ever-expanding demand for ornamental trees and shrubbery that began in the early 1900s. Starting in the 1940s, his nursery pioneered the development of new varieties of roses, among them the Charlotte Armstrong, named for his first wife who died in 1948. More than two million of this variety have been sold and it is the official flower of Ontario, California. Though John S. Armstrong died in 1965, his company continued as a family-owned business until the 1980s when the family sold the nursery. The nursery business continues as Armstrong Garden Centers, one of the largest independent retail nurseries in the western United States.
66 containers, approximately 60 linear feet.
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Collection is open for research during the operating hours of the Robert E. Ellingwood Model Colony History Room, or by appointment.