From Agriculture to Technology
In late 1964, the California Nursery Company was getting ready to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary. The Vallejo Adobe had been moved onto the grounds of the nursery and was restored to be used as a meeting room. There were big plans to expand, and construction was beginning on a new section of the nursery. The California Nursery Company was one of the most successful and well-known nurseries in all of the bay area and one of the largest west of the Rockies.
The California Nursery was an innovator, and it helped make a robust version of the fig that would grow in California among other improvements. Production methods were an important objective of the nursery, and in their century of operation they continually improved the quality of their plants for sale, with strong root systems and resistance to various climates. To expedite these improvements, the California Nursery paid the finest attention to planting methods, as well as digging and grading of the soil.
Plants grown at the nursery were shipped nationally and internationally, and the business was thriving in 1964. They held annual bulb shows, and thousands were in attendance year after year. Yet by 1972, the company was no longer in business, except mail order, and much of the company’s land became housing tracts. Today all that remains of the former glory of the California Nursery Company is a 20-acre historical park. What happened?
Following the incorporation of Fremont in 1956, businesses began to locate themselves in the town, most notably the GM assembly plant which opened in 1960. All around this time, the Bay Area began to grow industrially, and technology became its focus. Industry began to take over the area, and the Central Valley became the new home for agriculture.
Fremont, as well as the rest of the Bay Area, moved away from agriculture, instead becoming part of one of the largest technology hubs in the world, the Silicon Valley. With this change, shopping malls and housing tracts replaced many of the farm-oriented businesses in the area which had thrived for so long.
The California Nursery Company once occupied nearly a square mile, much of which is now housing. Some of the tracts maintained the trees and plants as part of their landscaping, but the nursery grounds have been shrunk to just a fraction of their former size. As the Bay Area developed into the tech superpower it is today, agriculture moved elsewhere, and with it the California Nursery Company, among others.
- Roeding Jr, George C., Our 100th Anniversary (Fremont, CA: unknown, 1964).
- Gardiner, Allen, Fremont: A Modern History of an All-American City (Carlsbad, CA: Heritage Media Group, 2002), 57-84.
- California Nursery Company Legacy Council, "The California Nursery Company", California Nursery Company Legacy Council, http://www.fremontica.com/CNCo (accessed 11/16/2010).