Howard Lake Herald, December 8, 1997

HL history: the Eddy nursery

The following originally appeared in Commercial West, Minneapolis, May 9, 1936:

"The business of growing things carries an appeal that most men and women cannot resist. That's why heads of great business institutions, executives whom the ordinary person can't see in business hours, like to putter around in a garden, why women in New York City tenements have geraniums growing on window ledges, why some businessmen in the Twin Cities have flowers and ornamental plants growing in their private offices.

It was this impulse, more highly developed in some men than in others, that led William H. Eddy, way back in 1887, to buy from the founder, E. J. Cutts, what now is the Howard Lake & Victor Nurseries, Inc., covering some 220 acres at Howard Lake, Minn. Mr. Eddy still is sole owner and manager, still active, still getting a kick out of "watching things grow."

From a very small and experimental beginning, Mr. Eddy has developed a nursery business with 70 salesmen on the road, more than 100 men employed and doing an annual business of well over $100,000.

Here, then, is a man who so well liked to see things growing that he has made a substantial success of it, has done a great deal to encourage planting of fruit trees and berries acclimated to the rigors of northern winters, ornamental trees and shrubbery that also do well in this climate.

The pictures herewith present a very good idea of what Mr. Eddy has accomplished. The modern office is compared with the old, ramshackle building that first housed the business. The airplane scene of Howard Lake, just a good good hour's drive west of Minneapolis, reveals a fine little city. In the upper left-hand corner of this view from the air the nurseries are located. It is unfortunate they are not more plain to the view, but if one looks closely enough he can see the orderly rows of growing young trees and the spaces where raspberry bushes, strawberry vines and other ground fruits, such as currents, gooseberries, etc., are awaiting the calls of market gardeners - and householders who enjoy having such things in their back yards.

Minnesota has been most fortunate in the matter of its various companies developing nurseries. There are several other old nurseries in the state that, like the Howard Lake enterprise, have done a great deal to originate trees, plants and fruits that thrive here. There was a time when people said apples could not be grown successfully in Minnesota, just as some said corn could not be grown here. Now apple culture is one of the state's fair-sized industries, well centered, for instance, around Lake Minnetonka. Minnesota now is the fourth corn growing state of the nation.

The people of Minnesota have much to be thankful for in comprehension of the pioneering of those men who had an impulse to grow things, say nothing of its everyday farmers, all the successful ones of whom have this same desire deep-seated within their hearts.

And so it was with Mr. Eddy. On the few acres he took over along with the old building, he began the propagation of such fruit trees, berries and ornamental trees and shrubs as his experience and that of others had taught him would thrive in the Northwest. He proved that fruit trees could be grown successfully ­ witness the beautiful orchards now seen on every side of Howard Lake, as well as the winning exhibits of the Howard Lake nurseries at county and state fairs. It is natural that Mr. Eddy should be the owner of one of the hardiest nursery stocks in the state.

This is demonstrated in the annual catalogue issued, listing the various plants, flowers, bushes, trees and berries produced, containing instructions that any amateur can follow with assurance of success.

The business has grown until it is a big Howard Lake city asset, one of the largest customers of the Security State Bank, avers Cashier A. G. Reiter, who, in a letter to Commercial West, says:

"Mr. Eddy has done more for fruit growers and planters of every sort than any other man in the state of Minnesota. He is a good booster for the village."

But growing trees, berries 'n things is not all Mr. Eddy has done at his nursery layout. He has raised dairy cows, now has what is claimed to be the highest producing dairy herd in Minnesota, first of all states in creamery butter production, second in number of dairy cows. They are pure-bred Jerseys. Average production reported is 537.72 pounds of butterfat per cow; average test, 6.31 of butterfat."

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