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Nursery Workers

668 Mt Hope Ave
Rochester, NY 14620-2731, US

Category: Union Workplace

Used in the following map:

Rochester Labor History eMap

During the 1870's Rochester became known as the "Flower City" because of its numerous nurseries and seed companies. By the mid 1880's there were over thirty nurserymen. One of the oldest was the Mount Hope Nurseries.
Established by Ellwanger and Barry in 1840 on the land bounded today by Mt. Hope Avenue, Highland Avenue, South Goodman Street and South Clinton Avenue, it was recognized as America's premiere horticultural farm because of the quality and reliability of its trees and plants. Ellwanger and Barry also contributed significantly to scientific horticulture.
The Mount Hope Nurseries employed 400-500 workers during peak production season. Foremen supervised both skilled and common laborers in the production, packing and shipping of fruit trees, grapes, small plants and ornamentals. Ellwanger & Barry workers struck over wages as early as 1883 and again in 1894 and 1902, and in 1918 they struck for a shorter workday. In 1887 the City accepted the nursery's offer of 20 acres of land near the reservoir and two specimens of each of its plants to form the nucleus of Highland Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
Today the Park is maintained by members of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA 828), working for the Monroe County Parks Department.