Hello and welcome to this week’s Bill’s History Corner. This is the place that we give up the secrets. Ha Ha, just kidding; any secrets we think we know were likely spread during the last century. What we do know, we know by studying the paper trail left by the Coppes factory. Somewhere during the last century, maybe several times, employees did not destroy (as directed) company papers. Rather, they stored them away in an unused area for someone to find in the future. Well, the future is now, and we have found boxes of company papers and company receipts from the approx. years of 1895 to 1920. Everything that the company purchased during those years is recorded in these boxes. I’ve said it before and I want to keep saying it; we owe a huge amount of gratitude to those employees who had the foresight to protect the company history the way they did.
Vaughan Seed Store Catalog
This week I want to discuss the Vaughan Seed Store, Chicago ILL. We know about this because we have found the receipts in those boxes, I was telling you about. The Vaughan Seed Store was massive. They could supply almost anything you could imagine in the plant line. Today there is still a large supply of information on the Internet about the Vaughan Seed Store. The first two scans I want to show you is from the Internet. These are scans from one of the vintage catalogs that Vaughan sent to customers. Color pages of flowers help sell merchandise.
Vaughan Store Receipts
We have several receipts from the Vaughan store during 1908-12. Here are some of the more interesting ones below. The first one is dated Oct. 21, 1911, just about this time of the year. The order was for 12 different types of flowers. I’m thinking these were bulbs to be planted in the fall for blooming in the coming year. I hope I’m correct about that. (I have been corrected, some bulbs, but some must have been live plants) To the left side is a pencil notation that says, “see Marvin” (Coppes). Apparently, Marvin Coppes planned on planting a lot of flowers. I wonder where he put them? By 1911 Marvin was 30 years old and was married for nine years, so likely he and his family had a home of their own. Two of each of these flowers would make a large flower bed.
The 2nd scan I want to show is also for Marvin Coppes but is in the following May of 1912. This receipt is for 1 Bu. (bushel) lawn grass Seed, Chicago Parks —$3.95; also 5 Lbs. White Clover (seed) —-$2.35 ; the third item is 100 LBS. V’s Lawn & Garden Fertilizer —$3.00. Looks to me like Marvin is making a new lawn, has he purchased a new home, maybe built a new home in the country?
The next scan I want to show was divided among Marvin, Ivan and Harold Coppes, children of Frank & John Coppes. This receipt is for red raspberry and black raspberry plants; Special offer Grapes; 12 of V’s “Best Hardy Roses”; 2 different Peach trees; three different Cherry trees; and two types of apple trees. I wonder where all these plants were intended for. Sort of gives you a different impression of these men, doesn’t it?
The last two pictures I want to show you are from approx. 1910 & 1912. The street in front of the factory was paved with brick, as was Main and the remainder of Market Street in 1909. Soon after this, the Coppes management decided to “beautify” the property. They brought in a Landscape Architect to make plans for the project. The results of that plan are shown in these pictures. First the plants are really small and planted close together and also close to the street. Later the plants (trees) are larger and there are none along the street. What happened?