Friday, May 19, 2017

John Lewis Childs Seed and Plant Catalog

John Lewis Childs (1856-1921) was a horticultural businessman & politician who founded Floral Park, New York. Childs was born in Franklin County, Maine, & grew up in Buckfield. His career in horticulture began in 1874, when he took a job with C. L. Allen of Queens. Soon afterwards he began renting, then buying land in nearby East Hinsdale, Queens County, near other nurseries. While working as a seed seller, young Childs learned all he could about the business. After one year of apprenticing, Childs started his own seed business. He rented a small piece of land in East Hinsdale in 1875, & began selling seeds & bulbs. He created & marketed his products with leaflets,& he saw potential in mail order. He produced an 8-page list of products. As his business grew, he bought more land where he planted the most spectacular flowers. Childs became so successful that the name of the town was changed from East Hinsdale to Floral Park. By 1891, the post office name was also changed. The mail order company became so prosperous, it led to the establishment of a railroad station & freight office on Childs’s property, which was named Floral Park Station. Childs died in 1921 aboard a train after a sojourn in Florida & California. The seed catalog continued to operate throughout the 1920s but came to a halt during the Great Depression. Childs’s wife sold the catalog business to the Edward T. Bromfield Seed Company. 

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