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

Year Event
1888 Department of Horticulture is established with Samuel B. Green as the first head of the department.
1889 Five horticulture classes are offered in the College: Fruit Growing, Vegetable Growing, Greenhouse Practices, Nursery Practices, and Plant Breeding.
1907 The first graduate degree was awarded in the department.
1912 General 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.
1920 First apple, "Minnehaha," is introduced.
1920 Latham raspberry is introduced.
1923 Haralson apple is introduced.
1925 Twenty courses are now listed in the college curriculum, including Small Fruit Culture and Potato Production.
1965 Anoka potato is introduced.
1966 Sixty-two organized courses are taught in the department.
1976 Between 1969-1976, the numbers of horticulture students jumped from 32 to 244.
1991 Honeycrisp apple is introduced.
1996 Frontenac grape is introduced.
1998 Zestar! apple is introduced.
2002 La Crescent grape is introduced.
2003 Frontenac Gris grape is introduced.
2006 Marquette grape is introduced.
2009 Superior blueberry is introduced.
2013 100th anniversary of our weekly seminar series and 125th anniversary of the department.


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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