California Genealogy and History Archives
Many of the successful and prosperous agriculturists of Sonoma county are of foreign birth and to this land of fertility and plenty have transported the habits of thrift and industry to which they were trained in their native country. Among these there is none better known or more widely respected than Frederick Grohe, whose reputation as a raiser of flower seeds has made his name a household word all over the state. A visit to his ranch at the corner of McDonald and Park streets reveals a blaze of splendor radiating from the beds of petunias, Shasta daisies and delphinium, which are his specialties, as is also the strain of pentstemon which he raises, this latter being obtainable from no other source. In addition to caring for his ranch and hot-houses Mr. Grohe is prepared to do floral work and also to supply cut flowers to the trade.
The first seventeen years of Mr. Grohe's life were passed in the home place of Germany, his birth occurring there in 1847, and in the meantime he had learned the rudiments and also had considerable experience at the florist's trade. When he landed on our shores in 1864 he found the country in the throes of warfare, and in the same year he volunteered his services in the restoration of peace. Enlisting in a company of New Jersey cavalry he continued in the service until peace was declared, after which he came to the west, reaching San Francisco in April, 1866. About this time the mines of Idaho were attracting considerable attention and Mr. Grohe was one of the number who went there that year for the purpose of trying his luck in the field of mining. Just what success he had there is not known, but the records state that he later went to Arizona and combined mining and ranching for seven years. He then came back to California, but instead of settling down at that time, he returned east and remained there altogether about ten years. In reality his association with California dates from the year 1891, when he located in Stockton and established himself as a florist. This was the business in life for which nature intended him, and it has therefore been along this line that his greatest achievements have been brought about. After continuing in that city for about ten years he came to Sonoma county in 1900 and his success in the meantime has been marked and rapid. Upon first locating in Santa Rosa Mr. Grohe rented what is known as the old Meldrum property for seven years, transforming it into a flower garden. After he had been on the place for about three years he purchased his present ranch on the corner of McDonald and Park streets and at once began its development. Finally he gave up the rented property and gave his entire attention to his own ranch. While he raises for seed purposes flowers of various kinds, which are shipped to all parts of the United States, as has been stated, he makes a specialty of petunias, Shasta daisies, delphinium and pentstemon, in the cultivation of which he is especially successful and has made his name known all over the United States. In 1909 he shipped about $750 of the above varieties of seed. His gardens cover about two acres, with hot-houses and accessories, making about twenty-five thousand feed under glass, to which he expects to add six hundred feet during the season of 1910.
Politically Mr. Grohe is a Republican, and fraternally is identified with the Masonic lodge at Santa Rosa. He is affiliated with Ellsworth Post, G. A. R., and is a member of the Lutheran Church, in the faith of which he was reared from boyhood.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011