|E. G. Hill was a gifted rose hybridizer,
and over the course of his long career introduced countless roses to
the world. He was internationally famous among rose growers and won
many awards. His son, Joseph H. Hill, was just as gifted and successful
in the rose growing business. The Hills and their descendents put Richmond
on the map, and for a time, Richmond was known as "Rose City."
For many years, it celebrated an annual Rose Festival.
|Edward Gurney Hill and his father,
Joseph, started a new business called Hill and Company in 1881 with
two greenhouses near their home in what was then known as Linden Hill.
That house still exists at 2037 East Main in the midst of "Millionaire's
In 1890, Linden Hill was
annexed into the city of Richmond. The Hill Company had outgrown
its original location, on South 20th St. so it moved its operation
further east near Glen Miller Park. In 1893 the E.G. Hill
Co. was incorporated.
Although remembered mostly for roses,
the E.G. Hill Co. also won awards for growing many flowers,
including carnations, chrysanthemums, and geraniums.
In 1903, the ever expanding company tried
to buy land from the city in adjoining Glen Miller Park, but
the city refused. Instead of leaving Richmond, Hill began
building greenhouses on the west side of town near Easthaven
Hospital, now the Richmond State Hospital.
Hill's son, Joseph Herbert,
joined the company when he was 21, and by 1916 he decided
to start his own company. He built his own greenhouses across
the road from his father's and started the Joseph H. Hill
Co. Just like his father, Joseph created many new types of
award-winning roses and grew them for the commercial market.
He was also an astute businessman who devised many innovations
in the flower business.
Perhaps most notable was
his suggestion in 1925 that he and his father, plus his two
brothers-in-law, Fred Lemon and Earl Mann, form a distribution
company that would market and distrubute the products of all
their greenhouses. This company was Hill Floral Products Comapny.
The floral industry suffered
during the Great Depression, in part because there was no
standard red rose that was profitable to grow. That was until
Joseph Hill developed a new red rose that had all the best
qualities. Appropriately named the Better Times Rose, it provided
florists nationwide with a much needed new source of income
and helped many survive the depression.
||E.G. Hill died in 1933 and
was mourned by florists and growers around the world. His hometown
dedicated a fountain to him in Glen Miller Park near the location
of his earlier greenhouses, which still exists today. This is
how it appeared on the day of its dedication in 1937.
In 1944, when this photo was taken, the
Hill greenhouses "comprised more than a million and
a quarter square feet of glass, as well as more than a thousand
acres of the best Indiana farm land." After Joseph
Hill's death in 1958, the companies were managed primarily
by members of E.G. Hill's extended family.
In 1995, Hill Floral Products
stopped growing roses and concentrated on distribution.
It remained a family run operation until 2007, when it closed
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