History

New students in the Department of Horticultural Science enter into a rich history of horticulture.

Horticulture and Minnesota have been intertwined since the creation of the Minnesota territory in 1849. At the time, settlers began talking of the importance of having an agricultural college and early founders established one in Glencoe, MN. Meanwhile, Congress passed the Land Grant (Morrill) Act in 1858, which donated public land for the support of state colleges designed to teach topics such as agriculture and mechanic arts. The University of Minnesota was one of the first public universities to receive the land grant in 1868. By 1888 the Department of Horticulture was established with Samuel B. Green as the first head of the department.

Cady, Green, and more in front of Hort Building 1910

The first two heads of the department — Samuel B. Green (3rd from left)
and Leroy Cady (farthest right) — in front of the Horticulture Building, 1910.

Fast-forward more than 150 years: research programs and student enrollment has grown, interest in horticulture has continued to develop, and the department has impacted countless lives throughout the state through its research, education and outreach. Check below for just a few of the major events in the department's history.

Major Events

YearEvent
1888Department of Horticulture is established with Samuel B. Green as the first head of the department.
1889Five horticulture classes are offered in the College: Fruit Growing, Vegetable Growing, Greenhouse Practices, Nursery Practices, and Plant Breeding.
1907The first graduate degree was awarded in the department.
1912General Horticulture, Commercial Fruit Growing, Floriculture, Landscape Gardening, Systemic Pomology, Greenhouse Construction and Orchard Spraying had all been added to the college curriculum by this year.
1920First apple, "Minnehaha," is introduced.
1920Latham raspberry is introduced.
1923Haralson apple is introduced.
1925Twenty courses are now listed in the college curriculum, including Small Fruit Culture and Potato Production.
1965Anoka potato is introduced.
1966Sixty-two organized courses are taught in the department.
1976Between 1969-1976, the numbers of horticulture students jumped from 32 to 244.
1991Honeycrisp apple is introduced.
1996Frontenac grape is introduced.
1998Zestar! apple is introduced.
2002La Crescent grape is introduced.
2003Frontenac Gris grape is introduced.
2006Marquette grape is introduced.
2009Superior blueberry is introduced.
2013100th anniversary of our weekly seminar series and 125th anniversary of the department.

Photos

Delivering apples to Excelsior Fruit Growing Station, 1910

Delivering apples to Excelsior Fruit Growing Station, 1910.

W.H. Alderman in his office, 1962

W.H. Alderman in his office, 1962.

Building the Horticulture Garden walkway

Building the walkway that goes through the Horticulture Garden, 1993.

100 Years of Seminar

January 23, 2013 marked the 100th anniversary of our weekly seminar series. Click the link below to see a PDF of the history of the seminar series.

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