The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) invites guests to learn about a forerunner of the farm-to-table movement with its newest exhibit, The German Growers of Indianapolis. The exhibit explores the contributions of German immigrants, and their tradition of locally grown fruits and vegetables, from the late 19th century to the present.
The German families who settled on the south side of Indianapolis developed a network of greenhouses that, by the 1940s, rivaled most other cities in the nation in “acres under glass.” These farmers, brought together by benefit societies and business associations, helped feed the city for generations.
The German immigrants grew a significant portion of the produce Indianapolis needed and distributed it through Indianapolis City Market and later through wholesale markets that they helped establish. The farmers also grew and distributed flowers, trees, shrubs and other plants.
“What I can say is that the gardening and growing genes are very, very strong in our family,” said Anne Maschmeyer, beautification director at Downtown Indy, Inc., and member of a German grower family. “It’s an amazing feeling—like having chlorophyll running through my genes all the way back to my great-grandfather from Germany.”
Those who tour The German Growers of Indianapolis will hear stories from Maschmeyer and three other families who took part in new oral history interviews. In addition, the exhibit will include IHS collection images showing what it looked like to work in greenhouses, distribute produce and be part of greenhouse grower organizations.
The German Growers of Indianapolis opened January 12 and runs through April 20 at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, home of IHS and the Indiana Experience, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for kids (ages 5-17). IHS members and children younger than 5 receive free admission.
Those who wish to view additional collection items are encouraged to visit the William H. Smith Memorial Library, which is free to the public during the History Center’s regular operating hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
For more information:
Indiana Historical Society