Row after row of blooming flowers in the different seasons of the year are a beautiful sight to enjoy in greenhouses. The late Harold and Margaret Waldo were in the greenhouse business for over 50 years at 508 S. Lake Street.
Starting a business during the Depression took nerve, ingenuity, lots of hard work, faith and hope. In May 1930, a 25-foot-by-75-foot greenhouse structure was erected. Since water, and lots of it, is a necessity in raising plants, the Waldos needed to apply for an extension of the village water main, which was some distance from their land. At this time, village council members couldn’t understand why he built out so far, stating they never had run water that far out into the county. The Waldos, at their own cost, had to hire men to dig to the nearest water main to hook up.
Barter for fertilizer
“If you help me, I’ll help you.” That was the popular barter system during the time when money was scarce. Harold had an interesting exchange with George Landgraver Sr., owner of the livery stable on West Broadway Avenue. In addition to his business, George also bought and sold horses. Harold, who was very knowledgeable with animals, would check over the horses and treat any that might be injured or lame, in exchange for a product that George had a lot of: manure.
Vegetables for canneries
During the drought years of 1932-34, the peat bogs west of town were great for raising carrots, beets, and cabbage, etc. because the peat retained moisture. Harold, with friend Brick Rousch, raised fields of “truck garden” vegetables with emphasis on carrots. Canning companies bought these Forest Lake-raised vegetables for their canned products.
Wine and Roses, Floral Garden Center
The name on the sign at 1107 S. Lake Street said it all: Wine and Roses, Floral and Garden Center. Joe Osterbauer and his wife, Joan, started a garden center in 1974. Their son Troy and his wife, Lisa, added a floral shop to the garden center in 1989 making it a complete store to answer gardening and floral needs.
The Osterbauers later added a take-out restaurant featuring chicken, ribs and pizza to the liquor store which stands in the same location today as Wine and Roses Liquors.
All Elsie Vogel material is excerpted from her book, “Reflections of Forest Lake.” Vogel was a former columnist at The Forest Lake Times.