In 1903, N. P. Lindberg, “a cigar maker, with a green thumb,” founded a greenhouse in Rugby, North Dakota. The business stayed in the family for the next several decades, and in 1960, even after Lindberg’s death, four generations were involved in learning about it and running it – from Lindberg’s 89-year-old widow to his 7-year-old great grandchild.
The greenhouse was about 14,000 square feet holding “about 100,000 plants, about 20,000 of which” were tomato plants, according to the Pierce County Tribune. The family believed they had one of the largest greenhouses in the Northwest. In the fall, they had added on a 38X60 section to the building, providing the family with a display-cooler combination, a large work room with cabinets and special equipment, and a smaller workroom for floral designing, as well as a business office, a display room, a hot-house room, new fixtures, and an “order taking and check-out desk—in short, about all you need for that type of business.”
Fifty-seven years after the founding of the company, on this date, the Rugby Greenhouse was celebrating an Open House and Grand Opening in one fell swoop.
The local newspaper encouraged residents not to show their appreciation and support for the business by sending flowers there, stating: “Obviously that would be silly in this instance.” They did say cash or check would be fine, which would be used toward obtaining a new neon sign.
The Pierce County Tribune wrote, “It is a bit odd, we’ll admit, that this house which originated the slogan, ‘Say it with Flowers,’ should itself be the subject of a plea, ‘Don’t send flowers.’”
The open house brought in visitors from 7:00 AM until late in the evening, and they guessed they had somewhere around 3,000 people. For the event, they promised to give away 600 roses to the first 600 lady callers. By the end of the day, they had given away more than a thousand: all they had on hand.
With plenty of flowers and cash inflow, they were certainly in the green.
Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker
Pierce County Tribune, Thursday, May 5, 1960
Pierce County Tribune, April 28, May 5, 1960